Monday Media: Authorship in Journalism

This past Saturday, NPR ran a story on This American Life, creatively titled “Forgive Us Our Press Passes,” about a journalism company, Journatic, that outsources local news reporting. That’s right: they outsource local reporting to places  like the Philippines where journalism is cheaper: 30-40c per article. These articles are then given to a native speaker to copy-edit and run in US newspapers under pseudonyms.

In the program, Journatic defends their practices, maintaining that their model allows for the delivery of “rich, original community news” in towns so small that they otherwise would not receive coverage. NPR’s Sarah Koenig seemed to think that some things shouldn’t be outsourced. What do you think?

Is it ethical (or even truly possible) to outsource creative work in the same manner as assembly work or customer service?

Is this ghostwriting in a new guise or a blatant violation of the spirit of journalism, even copyright?

Will this save or sink the struggling newspaper industry?

Leave your comments below.

About Tara Sullivan

Author of GOLDEN BOY (2013), THE BITTER SIDE OF SWEET (2016), and TREASURE OF THE WORLD (2021). Published by Penguin Books for Young Readers Find out more at Or, follow me on Twitter: @SullivanStories
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