Click here for This American Life‘s terrific report last weekend on Journatic, the outfit now providing the Tribune with its hyperlocal suburban news, much of it coming by way of the Philippines.
Sarah Koenig’s skeptical report ends with the sort of argument that can sound unassailable when times are tough: you got a better idea?
“Newspapers are firing people. Newspapers are struggling. They’re going bankrupt,” Journatic’s creator, Brian Timpone, says to Koenig. “We have a solution that helps solve the problem. Cutting staff is not the way to growth, but empowering a reporter with people in the Philippines—that’s a really smart thing to do. The criticism’s fine, but at the end of the day, what’s a better solution? Do you have one? Tell me if you have a better idea. I’m all ears.”
“I don’t have a better idea,” Koenig concedes. Newspapers are laying people off by the tens of thousands, and Journatic’s hiring. Not only that, according to the gloss Timpone nimbly puts on the situation, Journatic is old-fashioned journalism’s new best friend.