Published on Tuesday, 24 April 2012 22:20
The Chicago Tribune announced
this week that it had made an investment in the Chicago-based media content providing company Journatic. It then announced that it was turning over content operations (but not ownership) of TribLocal -- the Chicago Tribune's suburban periodicals and websites -- to the company. Financial details and other terms were disclosed.
Journatic, LLC is a content provider specializing in hyperlocal stories & content, media aggregator, and production services company, which was founded in 2006. It's headquarters is on an upper floor of Tribune Tower in downtown Chicago. In addition to the Journatic operations, CEO & co-founder Brian Timpone also runs BlockShopper.com, a real estate website which has been highly controversial for its publishing of personal homeowner data without permission. Both operate out of Suite 2017 in Tribune Tower.
In a statement, Timpone said: "We are thrilled that Tribune has chosen to invest in Journatic. We look forward to benefiting from Tribune's experience in developing successful ventures within the media space."
With the investment given to them this week by Tribune Company, Journatic will use this sudden cash flow to "meet the rapidly growing demand for its services from publishers, advertisers and agencies."
Beyond giving Journatic funds, the Chicago Tribune has also handed over to the their TribLocal newspapers and website to run. By outsourcing the TribLocal content, the Chicago Tribune will look to cut at least 20 jobs -- and potentially as many as an additional 10-20 more -- from its payroll in the coming weeks. Journatic will now look to grow its small office by adding a few more employees. It is also looking to hire local reporters, although its independent contractor pay scale of approximately $2 to $4 for a brief article is significantly less than what the Chicago Tribune paid its suburban reporters.
The Chicago Tribune's TribLocal was launched in 2007. It currently encompasses 90 suburban websites and 22 weekly local newspapers.
Despite the outsourcing of TribLocal control to Journatic, Brad Moore, the Chicago Tribune's Vice President of Targeted Media and Business Development, told the Chicago Tribune's Robert Channick
: "We're staying in the business of hyperlocal news. In fact, our investment in Journatic is being made to accelerate our efforts there." Moore also told Channick that TribLocal has been profitable for the company, but was looking to double its digital penetration in these suburban communities with the enhanced local content from Journatic.
Dan Kazan, Tribune Company's Senior Vice President of Investments, said in the initial statement: "We're excited to partner with Journatic, both as an investor and as a customer. Journatic will expand Tribune's ability to deliver relevant hyperlocal content to our readers, and we believe that many other publishers and advertisers will benefit from its services as well."