Monday, July 09, 2012

My adventures in Journatic's new media landscape of outsourced hyperlocal news | Ryan Smith | Comment is free |

The answer was no, and this phone call was the last straw for me. How could news stories with the Chicago Tribune's banner on them follow journalistic practices that would make a high-school newspaper reporter blush?

That's when I decided to pitch a story to This American Life. I'd just heard Mike Daisey's story on the NPR show and saw the positive impact it was having on Apple's questionable practices in China – even if that turned out to be full of fabrications and exaggeration.

The response to Sarah Koenig's excellent story on Journatic on This American Life called "Forgive Us Our Press Passes" has been dramatic. In the week since the story has aired, many of Journatic's clients conducted internal investigations and several of them found fake bylines. Meanwhile, GateHouse media and the Chicago Sun-Times both announced they were ending their contracts with Journatic. Free Press created a petition protesting the outsourcing of local news that's been signed by tens of thousands of people.