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Tribune suspends use of Journatic after fabrication allegation

Chicago Tribune President Vince Casanova

Chicago Tribune President Vince Casanova

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Updated: August 15, 2012 6:12AM



The Chicago Tribune announced Friday night it is indefinitely stopping the use of the company Journatic as a third-party news provider after discovering a sports story published this week had elements it said were plagiarized and fabricated.

“As a result of serious breaches of the Tribune’s journalistic standards, we have suspended indefinitely our use of Journatic as a third-party producer of editorial content for our suburban TribLocal publications,” Chicago Tribune President Vince Casanova said in a note to readers posted at chicagotribune.com.

“We made the decision after it came to light Friday that a sports story published in this week’s Deerfield TribLocal contained elements that were plagiarized and fabricated,” the note read.

Part of the story contained a quote “attributed to the subject originally published in a June 7 Deerfield Review story by Bill McLean,” Casanova wrote.

Jim Kirk — editor-in-chief of Sun-Times Media, which includes the Pioneer Press’ Deerfield Review — said, “we were just made aware of the situation and are investigating.”

Sun-Times Media cut its own ties with Journatic’s Blockshopper service this summer.

In a note to Tribune employees, Tribune Editor Gerould Kern said the paper learned Friday that the TribLocal story by Journatic had both plagiarized and fabricated quotes.

“These are the most egregious sins in journalism,” Kern wrote. “We do not tolerate these acts at the Chicago Tribune under any circumstances, whether from a staff member or an outside supplier like Journatic.”

Earlier this year, the Tribune began using Journatic to provide articles for its print and online editions of TribLocal, a five-year-old effort to expand the paper’s coverage in specific suburbs. The switch resulted in the layoffs of 11 TribLocal reporters.

The suspect Journatic story cited by the Tribune was entitled “Epstein shows effectiveness on the mound.” It included one quote lifted from the Deerfield Review story and another quote that was made up, based on information from a Patch.com story, Casanova said.

Attempts to reach Journatic founder and editor Brian Timpone were unsuccessful Friday evening.



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