Snarky Weekly Paper Outsources Writing To India To Prove A Point

By now it’s pretty clear that one day all American journalism — and likely all American industry — will be outsourced to India. Newspapers are among the leaders of the phenomenon, having long since not only shifted customer service, but even copy editing and, gasp, news writing to the other side of the world.

The New Haven Advocate jumped on the trend by outsourcing several stories to Indian writers, inadvertently proving their own obsolescence because the humor that resulted surpassed that which any native North American journalist is capable.

Take this review of the new Night at the Museum:

When the adventure comedy Night at the Museum first opened in 2006, it grossed close to $250 million in U.S. ticket sales. That impressive figure alone should be enough to tempt you to watch its sequel. Sadly, with Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian history does not repeat itself. One assumes the production budget of $200 million was probably spent on the special effects rather than a decent script, which is where the film fails.

And a “weird news” column:

It is quite surprising that a Utah boy is trying his best to set a record by covering his entire face with as many live snails as possible. This 11-year-old boy named Fin Keheler had the guts to allow a whole bunch of 43 slimy mollusks to be put on his face on Saturday. He demands that his effort should be recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records.

The official Web site of Guinness World Records claims that the initial record that was set in 2007 was of holding eight snails for 10 seconds. While this little boy claims that he always knew that the record was around 36. On Saturday, the young boy Fin tried making around three attempts and the ones which remained on the face for the minimum of 10 seconds were considered.

Mark our words: The first print newspaper to go all-India, all the time adds five years to its life.

Outsource This! [New Haven Advocate, via Poynter]
(Photo:nailmaker)

Comments

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  1. laserjobs says:

    Why not just feed propaganda news directly from the CFR onto video screens like in the movie nineteen eighty-four?

  2. drjayphd says:

    But but Gawker said it was the Hartford Advocate that did this! Which one is it, hmmmmmmmm?

    (Spoiler: same company, they frequently run the same content, sooooooo…)

    Oh, and considering both of ‘em, along with the rest of the stable, are owned by the Tribune company, adding five years to their life gives them a life expectancy of, oh, five years.

    • absentmindedjwc says:

      @drjayphd: Neither the Hartford Advocate nor the New Haven Advocate is owned or operated by Tribune Company. You may be confused with Hartford Courant ([www.courant.com]).

      Tribune Company, by the way, is involved with much more than just newspapers. [www.tribuneinteractive.com]

      • btrotta says:

        @absentmindedjwc:
        New Mass Media, the owner of the Hartford and New Haven Advocate newspapers and the Fairfield Weekly IS a subsidiary of the Tribune Company.

        The Valley Advocate, which serves western Massachusetts, was sold by the Tribune Company in 2007. However, the other papers remain firmly in the Tribune fold.

        • drjayphd says:

          @btrotta: …which explains why they still run Ask Isadora. Didn’t know for a fact that they’d been spun off, but suspected as much.

          @absentmindedjwc: Well, if they’re not in the Tribune fold, someone had better tell, oh, everyone who works there that they no longer need to disclose it. Or make reference to the fact that Tribune’s troubles mean possible cuts in their staffs. :)

  3. H3ion says:

    When my local paper puts the cricket scores on the front page and the NFL scores in the third section, things will have gone too far.

  4. Yankees368 says:

    Am I the only person who does not think those articles are so terrible?

    • Laura Northrup says:

      @Yankees368: The feature about a high-end Indian restaurant was oddly made better by the outsourcing. It loses something, however, with the writer’s inability to actually go to the restaurant.

    • HooFoot says:

      @Yankees368: These articles are better than the trash posted on my local TV news website.

    • RogerTheAlien says:

      @Yankees368: I thought the same thing. I bet nearly all of the people reading those articles, both on Consumerist and in the actual newspaper, would have not noticed anything amiss had they not been previously told otherwise. The small exception is the snail article where the author says, “…a whole bunch of 43 slimy mollusks…” That did sound a bit awkward. But otherwise they seemed fine.

    • korin43 says:

      @Yankees368: I agree. They seem relatively normal. Maybe it’s just because I haven’t read a print newspaper in a long time?

    • YouInTheBack says:

      @Yankees368: It’s because we are getting so used to understanding broken english and messed up grammar, that we don’t even notice it anymore.

      I work at an IT company, and I work with a lot of native Indians. At first, it was hard to understand what they were trying to say half the time, but with practice, I can actually understand them pretty good now. I thought it was that they were getting better with their English until a new guy came to a meeting with me once, and informed me afterward that he had absolutely no idea what was said half the time.

      • SpruceStreetPhil - in a new Pine flavor says:

        @YouInTheBack: “pretty well”, had to do it, since we’re talking about language haha

        • bibliophibian says:

          @SpruceStreetPhil: I want to red-pen the whole comment. If one chooses to gripe about “broken english and messed up grammar [sic]” one should proofread that gripe very carefully*.

          I found nothing wrong with the first example, but the second one did have a certain sixth-grade “What I Did On My Summer Vacation” feel to it, incomplete sentences and all.

          *(cue 16 errors in my own post…)

      • AliyaBabasaur says:

        @YouInTheBack: It’s also that Indian English is a lot different than American English. There are hundreds of thousands of Indians for whom English is their first language, and you’d probably have just as much trouble understanding them as well.

        • feckingmorons says:

          @AliyaBabasaur: Hundreds of thousands? Try hundreds of millions.

          There are a billion people in India. I’ve met them.

          Hindi is the most prevalent mother tongue, Bengali next, but English is spoken by the majority of the population for business and government interactions.

          There are at least 14 official languages in India.

          Please do the needful.

      • HogwartsAlum says:

        @YouInTheBack:

        One of my professors in grad school was from India and she said English is taught in the schools there. I think a lot of it isn’t their command of English, but the accent. A very thick Indian accent can be difficult for someone who isn’t used to it to understand.

        I’ve had people from overseas struggle to understand me when I lapse into the twangy, slurry Midwestern thing.

        • cluberti says:

          @HogwartsAlum: Sorry – for example, a common phrase “do the needful”, which comes out of Indian English, is absurd. You cannot “do” an adjective.

    • kimshot says:

      @Yankees368: No, in fact I think they sound better than my small-town, local newspaper.

  5. I Love New Jersey says:

    They could save money by just printing all the press releases from the Ministry of Truth verbatim.

  6. Trai_Dep says:

    So finally we can give up The Liberal Media canard in favor of The Curry Media.
    Phew!

    …Would have loved to see the armchair athletes struggling past the cricket scores in search of the football scores, though. Well worth the heartburn.

  7. Beth Coccaro says:

    “While this little boy claims that he always knew that the record was around 36.” is not a correctly written sentence, but is merely a phrase…

  8. diasdiem says:

    You’ll start seeing bylines for “Mike” Singh. And when you click a link on Fark.com you’ll be redirected to a news aggregator in Bombay.

  9. rambow681 says:

    I don’t find anything funny in the first article. The figures are off, but whatever. The second article makes about as much sense as putting snails on your face. The Consumerist article on this also doesn’t make a lot of sense… but more sense than slimy mollusks I suppose.

    “Ah, yes. Well this certainly looks like a lot of words. In record time. I’m very impressed… with India. Unfortunately, I am also disgusted. This is incoherent dribble! This is a total redo and I’m assuming I need it right away.”

  10. Michael Belisle says:

    Not to be distracted by the story photo or anything, but the NY Times ran an illuminating article about the manhole-cover-manufacturing conditions in India.

    New York Manhole Covers, Forged Barefoot in India [NY Times]

  11. ageshin says:

    I heard the saying that ‘all news is local’,but now I think that the saying should be ‘all news is local, but all work is off shore’.

  12. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    The problem is that anyone can write a movie review or make a few phone calls. You can’t outsource Senate judicial hearings to someone who doesn’t live in the US or grasp the federal system from the perspective of the American people.

    The movie review didn’t have anything wrong with it…but it lacks depth, creativity and real journalism of any kind. Some of the most grabbing articles almost bring you in like it’s an inside joke that you and everyone else reading know about. Outsourcing anything having to do with talent and skill may only be affective if you gave Indian people access to our TV and they had similar perspectives on what America was like, culturally and physically …but then they would realize it was easier to be it back to America.

    • West Coast Secessionist says:

      @pecan 3.14159265: Americans don’t grasp the federal system either, that’s most of what’s screwed up with this country lately. Hell, Indians probably understand it better from whatever they learned about us in their world history class than most Americans.

  13. jaydez says:

    What’s this newspaper thing you are all talking about? Is it kind of like msnbc.com?

    BTW, not for nothing, but CT doesnt have a single, good, newspaper. I grew up in a house that got the Republican-American… talk about a bad paper.

  14. h3llc4t, breaker of office dress codes says:

    A Whole Bunch of 43 Slimy Mollusks is going to be the name of my new art-rock band.

  15. edison234 says:

    That is just awful. Newspapers can be a learning tool for people who need to build their language skills. Content aside, proper english should be written just for the sake of those people.

  16. phatch says:

    To really make outsourcing the newspaper to India work for me, they’re going to have to figure out how to get me to wait 30 minutes to open the paper while a recording tells me every 3 minutes that they appreciate me reading their newspaper.

  17. Nick Wright says:

    Why pay Indians to do something Americans are doing for free? What blogger wouldn’t want to be picked up by a newspaper in exchange for a URL in the byline?

  18. synergy says:

    I thought they were fine. A little awkward on one, but not bad. I’ve certainly seen worse from people supposedly educated in English only.

  19. ToddMU03 says:

    I saw American reporters turn in worse copy when I was an editor.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      @ToddMU03: The worst copy I ever turned in was written after a whole day spent in bed with the flu. My boss called me up laughing and said, “I could tell you had the flu.”

  20. grapedog says:

    i started taking college courses again recently, and ended up taking a composition course to refresh writing papers. It was absolutely crazy to me how far off I, and our various forms of media are from using actual proper english.

  21. redkamel says:

    It reads the same as the regular newspaper to me. In fact its more entertaining because theres no pretention that its actually good. You know, how listening to a fire truck go by is better than really bad pop music.

  22. Froggmann says:

    That explains why local news is so stale, they have “Reporters” all reporting on the same incoherent newsfeeds.

    I miss the days of the classical reporter, you know one that seeks news out, finds the person responsible and then asks challenging questions to that person.

    • econobiker says:

      @Froggmann: If it isn’t a press release some of these “reporters” can not write about it…

      Challenging questions went the way of the Dodo Bird when business started calling the shots. I had questioned a reporter (who wrote an article about political parties) about the bias of the Commission on Presidential Debates against alternative political parties and only got the response similar to “That’s a difficult question.”

  23. econobiker says:

    Newspaper is nothing- try the fact that medical records and transcription of same are being outsourced to INDIA.

    Anyone know about one of the largest US transcription companies was bought by the worlds largest transcription company which is based in INDIA? It was.

    HIPPA Privacy indeed…

  24. savdavid says:

    The Slumdog News?

  25. El_Fez says:

    Am I just not getting it? The movie review looked fine to me, if a bit brief.