Date

Sun - 22.10.2017


journatic

What a difference two weeks make.

Only a fortnight after writer Ryan Smith brought the issue of outsourced journalism to the attention of the wider public, relatively unknown hyperlocal content provider Journatic has been engulfed by a succession of scandals. As we reported at the beginning of July, Smith initially voiced concerns about Journatic’s decision to outsource journalism work to the Philippines, where workers would write news stories which were then published under a false name for the Chicago Tribune Triblocal website.

Following the revelation executives at the Chicago Tribune were quick to denounce the practice, stating that the use of false bylines was “a violation of the Chicago Tribune’s ethics policy. It has never been acceptable and will not be tolerated. We expect Journatic to adhere to this policy.” The paper then launched an investigation in order to determine to what extent Journatic’s unethical methods had infiltrated triblocal.com.

Author

Amy Hadfield

Date

2012-07-17 17:18

The debate over outsourced journalism has been reignited by the revelation that Journatic, a company that produces local media content for publications including Newsday and the Chicago Tribune, has been providing its clients with articles written by workers in the Philippines. 

Ryan Smith, a Chicago-based freelance journalist, began to work as a copy-editor for the organisation in January of last year. He became concerned by the quality of the work being produced for Journatic’s clients after noticing that much of what he was editing contained basic spelling and grammar mistakes. When he informed a senior editor of his misgivings, Smith was told to “cut [the writers] some slack” as they were not native English-speakers. By checking the by-lines of several of the articles he edited, Smith discovered that their authors did not actually exist. Instead, Journatic’s offshore freelancers from Brazil, the Philippines, Africa and Eastern Europe were given a selection of aliases to choose from. This meant that readers located in a small US suburb would have no idea that the local news article they were reading was actually written by someone thousands of miles away. The company also uses writers based in the US, but they too are complete strangers to the local communities that they report on.

Author

Amy Hadfield

Date

2012-07-02 16:14

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.

Author

Hannah Vinter

Date

2012-05-02 18:14

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