For this week: a This American Life segment on Journatic

Journatic logoIs journalism local if the stories are produced thousands of miles away, by people who’ve never been to the town? Journatic, “a leading provided of content production services to media companies and marketers,” uses low-paid writers in the US and in countries like the Philippines  to produce stories—often “hyperlocal stories,” written under American-sounding bylines. One newspaper who used Journatic: the Chicago Tribune. They laid off 7 local workers, replacing them with Journatic’s content. WBEZ’s public radio show American Life did a story about Journatic—as a result of the show, the Tribune changed its relationship with Journatic, first severing its relationship, then only using it for listings.

Please listen to the This American Life episode this week (roughly 20 minutes).

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6 thoughts on “For this week: a This American Life segment on Journatic

  1. In his email to Prof. Steenson, Mr. Gratteau mentions producing local stories that readers need and want. What readers need and want is shaped by the kinds of information and news they read, yet Journatic does not provide information on the quality of content they provide. I have trouble seeing Journatic in a different light then that of a being a content mill, and a company committed to mass producing stories. With many mass producing companies, quantity over quality takes precedence. I agree with Mr. Gratteau that the face of journalism is changing and in the grand scheme of things newspapers are a business as is Journatic. The problem for me is that Journatic is in the business of making newspapers less relevant and changing the craft of journalism in a direction of succumbing to a culture of immediacy, efficiency, and things being cheap. I fear Journatic will normalize this culture when in truth this isn’t the way Journalism always was.

  2. I really think it would be great if we had the people from journatic to come and talk to us. Why not get the opinion of the people we are talking about.

  3. Asking Journatic to Skype into class is a great idea. I’d like to ask why they were OK with identifying Filipino contributors as story authors when they had pseudonyms, but not after Journatic dropped the practice of using pseudonyms.

  4. I can’t help but questionJournatics commitment to community journalism and the preservation of local news. I wonder if companies like Journatic are actually a direct economic constraint to local newspapers. Are they not both in the business of providing community driven local news yet one has far superior resources that can take advantage of a market where workers are plenty and so wages are low? Instead of acting as a solution to the current state of journalism I might argue that companies like Journatic are taking advantage and capitalizing on the struggles of journalism instead.

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