August 7, 2012

Anna Tarkov
Journalism-outsourcing company Journatic has laid off an unspecified number of full-time staffers, according to Anna Tarkov. A source tells her that Jeremy Pafford gave employees the news. “The reason given was that the workload has decreased significantly and the company is restructuring,” Tarkov writes. All independent contractors have been let go too, Tarkov writes.

Before his stint as Journatic deputy production director, according to his LinkedIn profile, Pafford worked for five years for the Houston Community Newspapers, whose clients include the Hearst-owned Houston Chronicle, which works with Journatic.

The Houston Chronicle is reviewing Journatic’s work after learning it used fake bylines on hundreds of stories published on the Chronicle’s behalf. The Hearst-owned San Francisco Chronicle says it too is reviewing Journatic’s work.

The Chicago Tribune suspended its relationship with Journatic after it discovered plagiarism in one of the stories the company provided to a Tribune local site. Late last month, Tribune brought on former editor Randy Weissman to review Journatic’s processes and standards. At the time Tribune editor Gerry Kern told Poynter by email:

The suspension remains in force and is indefinite. We are not using any Journatic news content now in print or online.

There is no timetable — indefinite means what it suggests. Journatic has no control over the length of the suspension or when it might be lifted. …

Journatic’s breaches are disturbing and inexcusable. I believe the changes required to remedy this situation will be profound.

The Baltimore Sun and L.A. Times were expected to begin work with Journatic this summer, but it appears that may have been put on hold. GateHouse announced it would stop working with the company, too, and that agreement was set to expire this month.

Journatic spokesperson Kendra Thornton emailed this statement.

As a privately held company, Journatic has a policy of not commenting publicly on any personnel matters, including hiring’s or dismissals.

Previously: Report: Daily Press removes Journatic bylines, but stories remain | Chicago Tribune staffers: Relationship with Journatic ‘threatens to jeopardize our credibility’ | Journatic claims it was about to fire editorial head who resigned | Journatic memo to staff: ‘DO NOT LIE ABOUT YOUR NAME’ | Chicago Sun-Times ends Journatic relationship as dozens of fake bylines discovered at more papers | Chicago Tribune investigates Journatic’s work | Journatic worker takes ‘This American Life’ inside outsourced journalism | Journatic founder: ‘Being based in the community is not beneficial’

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

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