How News Gets Broken

So Journatic’s content service plagiarized and slapped other people’s names on overseas freelancers’ stories, butthe Chicago Tribune is here to help:

The Chicago Tribune has decided to keep using Journatic LLC, despite recent revelations about the way the local news provider has done business, the paperannounced in a story and in a memo to staff.

Journatic came under fire most recently when it was disclosedit had used fake bylines on more than 350 stories published on behalf of the Houston Chronicle.

“The Chicago Tribune will try to help Journatic improve its practices,” reads the Tribune story.

It continues: “On Friday, Chicago Tribune Media Group President Vince Casanova said he had hired Randy Weissman, a former editor at the paper, to consult with Journatic and help implement changes at the company.”

Yeah! Spend a bunch of money to fix some other company that embarrassed you and your journalists!

Or, you know, you could hire back the local freelancers you shitcanned because the outsourced sweatshop was cheaper than paying real reporters. I swear to God, how does this help?

The story went on to quote Mr. Casanova: “Our company must persevere in the competitive hyperlocal news space. This has been a difficult and challenging setback for us.”

Your company must cover the news, and you had people who were doing that. You fired them and hired these assholes who lied to you. Instead of apologizing, getting the story over with, and going back to doing what you used to be good at, you’ve decided to spend more money doubling down on your idiocy and mouthing consultant-speak about “hyperlocal news space,” which back in the day was called just doing your job and covering the communities you decided to cover.

Things like this make me angry because they’re so avoidable. This kind of thing has nothing to do with the Internet or “hyperlocal news space” or company competitiveness or any of it. This was people being cheap and being morons, which would happen every single day of the year if Craigslist and the Huffington Post vanished at sunset today.

It is almost becoming a tic with me, where somebody says something like, “Isn’t it dreadful what’s happening to newspapers,” expecting me to agree, but if this is what they’re willing to do to themselves, it’s hard to have any kind of sympathy.


5 thoughts on “How News Gets Broken

  1. Can you think of a less confidence-inspiring name than Journatic? How about Journalesque? Journdemon?
    Also: “Here’s your hyperlocalnews space, Mr. Casanova.”

  2. I’m confused, A. You went as far as to say “cheap” and “morons”. But taking an article and intentionally changing the byline seems far beyond moran as well as sounding intentionally breaching a basic, common, honesty.
    Why did they change the byline? Obvious answer was to obscure the source of the article and/or claim authorship themselves. This seems to go against what is taught in elementary school. It also shows a dubious ethic that makes me doubt anything they provide.
    As such, I don’t see how the Trib, or anyone, can help them. This wasn’t an honest mistake amenable to remediation. Like the old saying, Ugly is through and through.

  3. How much of this assholery can be traced back to the debt Zell saddled the paper with through his leveraged buyout?
    Plenty, I would imagine, given that the Tribune Co. filed for Ch. 11 about a year after said buyout. He’s pissed off all the Cubs fans and destroyed his hometown paper’s reputation, so why haven’t the people of Chicago tarred and feathered the sonofabitch and run him out of town?

  4. Creative destruction, A. Which usually involves lots of consulting.

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