July 27, 2012

Williamsburg Yorktown Daily
The Tribune-owned Daily Press in Newport News, Va., has removed evidence of Journatic’s involvement in content on its local sites, Desiree Parker reports. That follows Parker’s earlier report that a Journatic writer with the byline Mike Moreau muffed a fact about a city council meeting, and that another with the byline Austin Prickett had bylines in Delaware and Ohio as well as in Virginia on July 3.

Now, Parker writes, the bylines are gone. But the content remains:

Inside Williamsburg, a Virginia Gazette online product, and Inside York County, a Daily Press online product, are filled with content supplied by Journatic writers whose bylines appear on hyperlocal news stories all over the U.S. The writers’ names appeared under each Williamsburg and York County article when WYDaily ran its story; the following week, those bylines had disappeared, but the content remained the same.

Also missing on Inside York County is the disclaimer on the bottom that used to let readers know the content was supplied by Journatic; in its place is an “about us” link that, when clicked, tells readers “this community news site is brought to you by the Daily Press Media Group.” As of Thursday, Inside Williamsburg still notes that its content is supplied by Journatic.

Parker’s story doesn’t have links to the original stories, but Prickett has author pages on Inside Williamsburg and Inside York County, as well as:

Moreau has such pages too (e.g., Inside Williamsburg). I didn’t find a story linking off these sites that featured either person’s byline, though.

In Parker’s earlier story, Daily Press publisher Digby Solomon told her “his company uses Journatic only to supplement the work of its regular reporters and he considers the stories to serve ‘essentially a clerical function.’ ”

The Chicago Tribune suspended its relationship with Journatic in mid-July after it discovered a sports story contained “elements that were plagiarized and fabricated.” In April the Tribune Co. announced an investment in Journatic and said the company would use the money “to expand its ability to meet the rapidly growing demand for its services from publishers, advertisers and agencies.”

Previously: Chicago Tribune staffers: Relationship with Journatic ‘threatens to jeopardize our credibility’ | Tribune brings on consultant to work with Journatic, ‘profound’ changes required | San Francisco Chronicle will review Journatic content | Hearst is reviewing Journatic content after false bylines published on Houston Chronicle sites | Journatic memo to staff: ‘DO NOT LIE ABOUT YOUR NAME’ | Why GateHouse ended its relationship with Journatic

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Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at TBD.com and managing editor of Washington City…
Andrew Beaujon

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