Journatic, and the troubling questions of outsourced local news
The fake byline thing may have been wrong, but what are the ethics, and realities, of using non-local staff to churn out cheap local journalism? Are newspapers going to be forced to do it for economic reasons? What is the real effect on quality? Does anyone read these sorts of stories anyway?
- The unfolding story on Journatic has been brewing for the last few days, mostly from Poynter. If you haven't been following it, here's the place to start. More news broke this morning, regarding fake bylines:
- — Poynter (@Poynter)Wed, Jul 04 2012 03:43:2232 fake bylines have been uncovered at the SF Chronicle as Journatic investigation spreads: http://journ.us/Pbx8SR SR 2 clients leave Journatic
- I think everyone in this conversation is in agreement that fake bylines are wrong. But I wondered if this was distracting us from deeper questions -- or giving us an excuse to criticize Journatic, when it might just be showing us uncomfortable truths about local news production.
- — jonathanstray (@jonathanstray)Wed, Jul 04 2012 09:07:41Journatic may not produce a great product. But, does it show that much of local news is a simpler to produce than we imagine it to be?
- — Jeremy Bowers (@jeremybowers)Wed, Jul 04 2012 09:09:23@jonathanstray That's sort of the unspoken evil of this, right? That nobody noticed a quality difference? It took an insider to uncover?
- — jonathanstray (@jonathanstray)Wed, Jul 04 2012 09:11:50@jeremybowers Right, and rasies the q: for that type of work, DO you have to be physically in the community? If not, huge implications.
- — erin kissane (@kissane)Wed, Jul 04 2012 09:16:38@jonathanstray The TAL segment did a nice job of noting the differences between physically local reporting and holo-local news-writing.
- — erin kissane (@kissane)Wed, Jul 04 2012 09:17:18@jonathanstray It’s subtle, maybe, but the difference is real. Knowing that makes it easier to think clearly about resource allocation.
- — jonathanstray (@jonathanstray)Wed, Jul 04 2012 09:19:35@kissane Thanks, will check out the TAL episode. I'm very intrigued by this question generally, as it's key to the economics of local
- Clearly the stars were aligned, because Mathew Ingram at GigaOM published a post addressing these very points just as we began our conversation.
- — Mathew Ingram (@mathewi)Wed, Jul 04 2012 09:09:58new from me at GigaOM: "The uncomfortable truth behind the Journatic byline scandal" http://gigaom.com/2012/07/04/the-uncomfortable-truth-behind-the-journatic-byline-scandal/ …12/07/04/the-uncomfortable-truth-behind-the-journatic-byline-scandal/
- — jonathanstray (@jonathanstray)Wed, Jul 04 2012 09:17:38As usual, Mathewi and I seem to share a brain MT @mathewi: The uncomfortable truth behind the Journatic byline scandal http://gigaom.com/2012/07/04/the-uncomfortable-truth-behind-the-journatic-byline-scandal/ …12/07/04/the-uncomfortable-truth-behind-the-journatic-byline-scandal/
- But before we can evaluate what Journatic does, and the lack of reaction before all of this reporting on the company, we first have to know whether anyone actually read their work.
- And even if this sort of reporting is done well, does anyone care?
- — erin kissane (@kissane)Wed, Jul 04 2012 09:19:47
- So now we have a tangle of different questions, and clear answers to none of them.
- — jonathanstray (@jonathanstray)Wed, Jul 04 2012 09:21:26
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