Chicago Tribune Writers Want Answers About Journatic

How much has Tribune Co. invested in Journatic — the company that is replacing local journalists with outsourced news produced in the Philippines? What percentage of Journatic does it own? Who decided against immediately severing ties with Journatic when ethic code violations — including plagiarism — were uncovered? How can the Chicago Tribune maintain its credibility as a watchdog if its parent company doesn’t demand the same high standards from its business partners?

Good questions — and 88 Chicago Tribune staffers want answers. They’re not the only ones.

On Thursday, the paper’s editorial staff posed these questions in a letter to the paper’s editor, Gerould Kern. The staff also wants to know why Journatic doesn’t seem subject to the same code of ethics all Tribune employees sign, which “makes it clear that it is a firing offense to engage in the kinds of practices that Journatic has engaged in again and again.”

Chicago Tribune staffers are the latest to join an increasing chorus of concern about the use of Journatic. Last week, Free Press delivered 20,000 signatures to Tribune headquarters calling on the company to keep local news local. The Newspaper Guild-Communications Workers of America has called on publishers to “discontinue using providers that rely on content generated by offshore contributors.” And the Media Workers Guild, which represents San Francisco Chronicle journalists and staff, is protesting the Hearst Corporation’s continued use of Journatic.

So far the Chicago Tribune itself hasn’t offered any coverage of its employees’ decision to write to the paper’s editor. It’s a good thing there’s still a competing paper in town, the Sun-Times, which cut its ties with Journatic earlier this summer. The Sun-Times reported on the letter this morning.

If you’d like to join the rising tide of opposition to Journatic, sign our petition today. 

People + Policy

= Positive Change for the Public Good

people + policy = Positive Change for the Public Good