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Late Night: How News Gets Broken

{!hitembed ID=”hitembed_1″ width=”300″ height=”169″ align=”right” !}So Journatic’s content service plagiarized and slapped other people’s names on overseas freelancers’ stories, but the 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 paper announced in a story and in a memo to staff.

Journatic came under fire most recently when it was disclosed it 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.


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Allison Hantschel

Allison Hantschel

Allison Hantschel is a 10-year veteran of the newspaper business. She publishes First Draft, a writing and politics blog, with her partners Holden, Jude and Scout. She is the author of the books Chicago's Historic Irish Pubs (2011, Arcadia Publishing, with Mike Danahey) and It Doesn’t End With Us: The Story of the Daily Cardinal, about a great liberal journalism institution (2007, Heritage Books). She also edited the anthology “Special Plans: The Blogs on Douglas Feith and the Faulty Intelligence That Led to War” (2005, William, James & Co.) Her work has appeared in the Chicago Sun-Times, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, the Daily Southtown, Sirens Magazine, and Alternet. She lives in Chicago with her husband, two ferrets, and approximately 60 tons of books.