Journatic memo to staff: ‘DO NOT LIE ABOUT YOUR NAME’

In a memo sent to Journatic staff Saturday morning, Amanda Smith-Teutsch, the outsourcing company’s community news manager, addressed the fallout from the Chicago Tribune’s discovery that writer Luke Campbell had plagiarized a story. The Tribune, a Journatic investor, announced Friday night that it would suspend work with the company for its TribLocal content.

From: Amanda Smith-Teutsch
Date: Sat, Jul 14, 2012 at 10:09 AM
Subject: This weekend’s news – Please read

Good morning everyone. Many of you have contacted me individually, and I want you to hear the news from the source and not second hand.

I am sure by now you have all seen this news. If you haven’t, please take a moment to read.
http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-07-13/business/ct-chicago-tribune-suspends-use-of-journatic-07132012_1_weekly-print-editions-town-websites-editorial-ethics-policy

In an isolated incident, a writer committed plagiarism. We examined all of that writer’s work and found no other incidents that would lead us to suspect plagiarism; we are checking over other work as well.

This is what it means for us:
1. Yes, we all still have jobs.
2. We will no longer be producing content for TribLocal, until further notice. Will it resume? I don’t know. Do I know what happens next? No.
But you will notice that the statement says suspended, not cancelled.
3. We have other clients and other markets. Starting Monday, I want each of you to strive to meet those goals. Continue to work in those other markets.
4. If you are contacted by a member of the media for comment, and feel you have something to say, remember that our policy is that you first notify your supervisor and have approval to speak.

I also want to make sure that everyone on my team is operating in an ethical manner.
We here at Journatic:
- Do not lie about who we work for and where we are working from. We say, I am a freelancer for (PUBLICATION NAME) and Journatic News Service. If the person asks where you live/work, DO NOT LIE.
- Do not take information from other media sources and claim it as our own. This goes for ALL SOURCES and ALL LEADS. BE 100% CLEAR WHERE YOU GOT THE INFORMATION FOR THE STORY FROM.
- DO NOT LIE ABOUT YOUR NAME. If any of you are working under an assumed/pen name, now is the time to tell me.

I know that from the stories, it makes it seem as if we here at
Journatic are a team of plagiarizing, name-changing slimeballs who care nothing for journalistic integrity, but I know that that is not the case, and you all know it is not the case. I value the hard work and effort that each and everyone put forth every day.

As always, if you have any questions, do not hesitate to email, call or skype.

Amanda Smith-Teutsch
Journatic

Journatic has been subject to intense scrutiny since “This American Life” aired an episode two weeks ago that revealed the company used fake bylines. Since then, GateHouse and the Chicago Sun-Times have made public their decisions to stop working with the company. || Related: How Chicago Tribune discovered Journatic plagiarism, why editorial head resigned Saturday | Journatic claims it was about to fire editorial head who resigned Saturday | Tribune newsroom takes over TribLocal work done by Journatic | Journatic published hundreds of stories under fake bylines on Houston Chronicle websites

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  • Lea Roderick

    He wasn’t creating inaccurate, poorly written material & lying about his whereabouts when he interviewed sources…and then lying about his lying (Timpone tried to block the American Life story & discredit Ryan Smith in every possible way even though it was 100% true).  Really, there is no comparison to a fiction author using a “pen name” here at all.

  • Anonymous

    Why would someone have to tell workers “DO NOT LIE ABOUT YOUR NAME” unless they were told it wasn’t a problem in the past?

  • Anonymous

    I heard that Mark Twain’s real name is Sam Clemens.  Sounds as if someone’s got a lot of retractin’ to do.