Adam Westbrook // ideas on digital storytelling and publishing

Call centre journalism

Posted in Uncategorized by Adam Westbrook on February 4, 2007

For some, there’s nothing more frustrating than calling a UK helpline only to find the call directed to India. It’s something we’ve all come to expect from the big banks and insurance companies.

But the news agencies? Surely not.

So I was surprised to read an article on BBC News Online about the internationally respected Reuters news agency outsourcing it’s Wall Street financial coverage…to Bangalore.

The latest financial information from the trading floors in New York will now get to the business people who need it in New York (and London, Paris, Berlin etc) via India.

Like our beloved call centres, the sub continent outsourcing is for financial reasons. So is the largest financial news agency in the world becoming a cheap skate?

David Schlesinger, Editor-in-Chief of Reuters says he could hire a hundred Indian journalists without firing a single one in his New York office. He told the BBC:

“Now we can send our New York journalists out to do more interesting stories. This is good for our business and good for journalism.”

Maybe so; if the journalists in Bangalore are trained to the same standards then there’s no worry. Perhaps its another example of the ever shrinking world that this information can go out before it comes back in.

“I encourage them to read the NY Times and Wall St Journal online every day.”

And if it allows more quality journalism to go ahead then I ain’t complaining. I just won’t be calling the Reuters helpline anytime soon.  

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