Journatic bylines possibly changing, a reader criticizes a story

Since I’ve been reporting on Journatic, I’ve been meaning to check how the stories look in my suburb of Northbrook.

This morning the lead story is about some sort of annual survey of private high schools. My guess is “annual” means this is the first year of the “survey,” but if anyone remembers otherwise, please let me know. 

Notice anything interesting about the byline? It’s says “Journatic News Service.” An identical story in Schaumburg says the same. An intrepid Twitter follower sent me a photo of the same story in print. That one still says “Neighborhood News Service” as you can see. What’s going on here?

I spot-checked other Northbrook stories and they all still said “Neighborhood News Service” as well. Perhaps it’s some sort of transition that hasn’t taken full effect yet. But still, how can the Schaumburg story appear one way online and another way in print? More to come on this if and when I find out more.

Back to the Northbrook story and what’s this? There’s a comment at the bottom. One Jim Schufreider writes: 

This article is poorly researched. It has North Shore Country Day west of Glenview when it is actually east of Glenview. It references Notre Dame, but omits Loyola and Regina which are arguably closer to Glenview than Notre Dame. Is no one watching the interns?

While many will recognize the intern line as standard way for readers to complain about a story, I think it illustrates that people care about who’s writing their news and they want it done accurately.

I’m not sure whether Jim’s criticisms are valid or not. I’ve only lived in this area for three years and I’m not sure. I know if I had written this story though, I would now be finding out and then responding to his comment. Let’s see if that happens here.

UPDATE: A Tribune staffer informed me via Twitter that the mistake the reader pointed out was corrected. Was the reader told? Since the only way to let him know would have been to respond to his comment, I must conclude that the answer is no. I don’t see how this way of doing things is supposed to engender the trust of readers. But I guess no one really cares about that.


Have any information for me on this or anything else pertaining to Journatic? Please email me at tooter2 (at) gmail (dot) com. 


  1. Anonymous July 6, 2012

    I noticed in the Tribune a couple months ago where somebody was shot over by North Avenue just east of California, which is definitely the Humboldt Park neighborhood, being the park is right there. The article’s title, however, was something like “Man shot in Bucktown” or something, which is probably what Google Maps spit out as the neighborhood. I feel this sort of thing, while cost-cutting in the short run, really undermines the Tribune’s claim as an authority on Chicago. I, for one, am pretty sure I won’t be renewing my subscription.

    (It reminds me of the airlines who outsourced their reservation centers to India – the Indian customer service agents just didn’t understand the geography of the US, and people were upset when the agents wanted to route people through Atlanta, say, on a trip from Philadelphia to Minneapolis.)

  2. Anna Tarkov July 7, 2012

    I don’t think Journatic handles any city coverage. If you read that on the Breaking News site, they sometimes are a bit fuzzy on the neighborhoods. They have an official map they work from, but sometimes they still make mistakes or maybe residents’ boundary definitions differ from that of the “official” map. So just so you know, this particular instance isn’t the fault of Journatic. But if stuff like this concerns you, you should let the Tribune know.

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