Pasadena Now’s pay scale revised for outsourced writers

In yesterday’s NY Times, op-ed columnist Maureen Dowd reminded me about Pasadena Now owner James Macpherson’s decision earlier this year to outsource local news coverage to India. At the time, the LA Times said he would be paying a pair of writers in India a total of approximately $20,000 a year to be “glocal” news sleuths who cover things like Christmas tree-lightings and Pasadena city council meetings from afar for the daily online magazine.

Dowd traveled to Pasadena recently and interviewed Macpherson about the numbers. He appears to have revised his pay scale.

He fired his seven Pasadena staffers — including five reporters — who were making $600 to $800 a week, and now he and his wife direct six employees all over India on how to write news and features, using telephones, e-mail, press releases, Web harvesting and live video streaming from a cellphone at City Hall.

“I pay per piece, just the way it was in the garment business,” he says. “A thousand words pays $7.50.”

In a related story, ReadWriteWeb recently explored the world of paid bloggers and social media consultants, asking 20 top-tier workers in the field about the numbers they were seeing. For bloggers…

The low end of the scale was $10 per post for very short posts. Almost everyone else said they were paid $25 per post. One person said they were paid $80 per post! One respondent said they were paid $200 per item of long-form writing; bloggers often do other kinds of writing as well.

Pay increased for in-house/full-time bloggers, with the big money being reserved for consultants. No mention was made of outsourced writers.