The Tribune Company’s decision to outsource the production of TribLocal to the cheap content providing company Journatic sparked controversy when it was announced at the beginning of last week. But more recently, Journatic founder and CEO Brian Timpone has defended the quality of the content his company produces, suggesting that it is more efficient and higher quality than many of its competitors.
Negative reactions to the deal focused on the Chicago Tribune’s admission that “about half of TribLocal's 40 staffers, including copy editors, designers and web producers, will see their jobs phased out during the transition,” of which 11 to 18 TribLocal reporters will be transferred to the Chicago Tribune’s suburban bureaus. Departing staff will be replaced by Journatic content, which, as Poynter explains, is based on large amounts of publically available information. This data is then converted into stories by freelancers, who are paid between $4 and $2 a piece. Journatic writers are expected to produce these items in 10 - 20 minutes each, earning them a wage of around $12 per hour.