Chicago Tribune to investigate Journatic’s use of fake bylines

Journatic CEO Brian Timpone says fake bylines were often used for the company’s Blockshopper.com real estate stories, and clients — including the Chicago Tribune — asked to run those pieces on their hyperlocal sites. Journatic said that was okay, but never removed — or apparently told clients about — the made-up bylines.

“It was an oversight on our part — we should have addressed that,” Timpone tells the Chicago Tribune’s Robert Channick.

Chicago Tribune editor Gerould Kern says in his paper:

We have launched an investigation into the matter to learn what happened. Publishing stories under false bylines is a violation of the Chicago Tribune’s ethics policy. It has never been acceptable and will not be tolerated. We expect Journatic to adhere to this policy.

In April, the Tribune editor said of Journatic: “We’ve made an investment in this company because we believe that it is a more effective way of providing hyperlocal news, and we think we can do more of it in this way.”

* Tribune to investigate fake bylines used by hyperlocal content provider (Chicago Tribune)
* Journatic writer-editor tells “This American Life” about fake bylines (JimRomenesko.com)
* Earlier: Chicago Tribune outsources hyperlocal news (JimRomenesko.com)

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