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Journatic busted for using fake bylines : CJR

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In May, CJR invited Brian Farnham, the founding editor of Patch, to write about a digital news service called Journatic, which had just signed up to take over the Chicago Tribune's suburban coverage. Farnham weighed in on the chances of Journatic rewriting the hyperlocal news industry's floundering business model and ended with a challenge: "If Journatic thinks it's got that model, let them prove it. Or die trying."

But even Farnham couldn't have predicted how quickly the Journatic model would run into trouble. Last Sunday This American Life aired a show themed "Switcheroo" about people pretending to be people they're not. One segment featured Ryan Smith, a writer for Journatic and its affiliated real estate site Blockshopper.com.

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At www.cjr.org

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