Journatic CEO to staff: 'Bumps are going to be part of the ride'

Journatic CEO Brian Timpone wants his staff to know that "This American Life" and other reporting on the outsourcing company is "noise" that follows "the change we're forcing" in journalism. In an email (subject line: "from the front"), Timpone also says Journatic is finalizing a deal with one of Canada's largest publishers. Could it be Postmedia, which is about to reduce print and lay off staff? Here's the note Timpone sent to staff on Tuesday, July 3 at 10:54 PM CDT.


Some good news.

I just returned from Canada, where we're working out particulars with one of the largest publishers here-- to be our first non-U.S. client ever. That's a milestone-- and it means we likely need to build out proficiency now... in French.

Look-- I know it has been a distracting few days. It's hard to see the good work you do each day unfairly maligned.

Setting the record straight:

1- Author aliases have been banished from real estate sales stories, the only place they ever systemically existed.

2- Author aliases were never a part of the Journatic editorial systems from which we produce news for clients.

3- Journatic writers have never been told to conceal their association with our company when talking with sources. Like any freelancer, they're working on behalf of a publisher and are required to communicate as much.

4- We should all be proud of our offshore News Research operation and its team members. Without their support, we wouldn't be the company we are.

Moving forward, we're creating a set of clear editorial guidelines against which we'll evaluate all 150+ types of news stories we do. We're also establishing stricter ethical guidelines for our freelancers.

To be sure, we made a mistake when we gave stories with alias bylines to our customers. Or more specifically, I did. It was a detail I personally overlooked; it shouldn't have happened.

But mistakes always do. And we'll make more of them. When we do, we'll take responsibility for them, implement remedies and push forward.

That's the strength of a company like ours. We are not afraid to take risks; to try what hasn't been done before; to admit we were wrong; to fail.

When we do, we learn from the experiences and are better for it. That's what happened here.

So-- don't let the noise interrupt you. The work we're doing and the change we're forcing matters. It is meaningful -- to media and to journalism. And like anything that is-- bumps are going to be part of the ride.

Thanks-- and proud to be associated with each and every one of you.



Julie Moos contributed to this report.

  • Anna Tarkov

    Anna Tarkov is an independent journalist based in the Chicago area where she lives with her husband and baby boy. Getting her start in media by writing a popular blog about former Mayor Richard M. Daley, she went on to eventually work with the Chicago Tribune, Time Out Chicago and others.


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