The Newspaper Guild-CWA Executive Council this week called for an end to deceptive practices of offshored journalism.
Responding to the controversy about a content provider called Journatic cranking out "local" news written in the Philippines under fake bylines, the Guild demanded that newspaper publishers start identifying the actual writers and their locations.
"Guild workers continue to have deep pride in their products, but it appears the owners don't share the same sentiments," the Guild said in a statement. "Many Guild-represented regional papers have been the most trusted news on the internet, even when that content is aggregated elsewhere. We know that has not necessarily brought profitability or a sound business model to the products we work for. But the great hollowing out of American journalism, which now appears to be led by publishers, will deal a death blow to quality and trusted journalism."
This week major newspapers in Chicago, Houston and San Francisco acknowledged they published dozens of these outsourced, fake-bylined items in print or online. The practice was first uncovered by "This American Life," which reported that Journatic was relying on cheap foreign workers to write police blotters, obituaries, real estate news and other stories.