Brian Timpone


Brian Timpone is an American
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businessman and former journalist who operates a network of nearly 1,300 conservative local news websites. In 2012, Timpone stated that articles on his websites are partially written by freelancers outside of the United States, although he described the writing as "domestic" in a separate interview. According to ''The New York Times'', Timpone's "operation is rooted in deception, eschewing hallmarks of news reporting like fairness and transparency." His sites publish articles for pay from outside groups, and do not disclose it.

Education and early career

Timpone graduated from Marian Catholic High School (Illinois), Marian Catholic High School in Chicago Heights. He received a bachelor's degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Missouri; while attending, he covered sports and news for the University-owned KOMU-TV. After school, he took a job at KDLH in Duluth, Minnesota, which he worked for less than a year before taking another TV job in Champaign, Illinois. Timpone was hired as the personal spokesman to Illinois House Minority Leader Lee A. Daniels in 1997.

News publishing

Timpone is involved with a number of interconnected media companies that post press releases and lightly copied content as news articles, at one point publishing under false bylines. The process has been described as "pay for play", compared to the content farming of Demand Media, and called the "pink slime of journalism". The companies include Local Government Information Services (LGIS), Metric Media, Franklin Archer, Locality Labs (formerly known as Journatic and LocalLabs), DirecTech LLC, Interactive Content Services, Newsinator, Blockshopper, and The Record Inc. The companies have received funding from Liberty Principles PAC (substantially funded by Richard and Elizabeth Uihlein) and have provided services to the Illinois Opportunity Project, politician Jeanne Ives and hotelier Monty Bennett as customers. The Record was started by Timpone in September 2004 with The Madison County Record, a legal journal for Madison County, Illinois. It was silently funded by the United States Chamber of Commerce to oppose lawsuits against businesses and to support tort reform. The Chamber later funded a site run by The Record called Legal Newsline. Journatic (a portmanteau of "journalism" and "automatic") was founded by Timpone in 2006. According to Timpone, Journatic used news data processed by workers in the Philippines, but he states that the writing is "domestic". Journatic's job listings in the Philippines advertised a $0.35–0.40 pay rate per article for "writers to work on events stories" who are "able to commit to 250 pieces/week minimum". Journatic managed ''TribLocal'', a hyperlocal news branch of the ''Chicago Tribune'' that targeted suburban neighborhoods around Chicago, in the spring of 2012. In a June 2012 episode of ''This American Life'', Timpone disclosed that Journatic was outsourcing its writing to over 300 freelancers using fake "Anglo-sounding" bylines in several geographic areas outside of the United States, including the Philippines, Eastern Europe, Brazil, and Africa. Following the release of the episode and the discovery of plagiarism in Journatic's articles, the ''Chicago Tribune'', ''Chicago Sun-Times'', ''Houston Chronicle'', and Gatehouse Media suspended their relationships with the company. While Hearst's ''Houston Chronicle'' ended its partnership, Hearst's ''San Francisco Chronicle'' reviewed its use of the service and continued using it. Journatic rebranded as "Locality Labs" in 2013. In 2019, Locality Labs delivered the ''Hinsdale School News'' to residents of Hinsdale, Illinois. The paper appropriated the logo of Hinsdale Township High School District 86, the local school district and had a heavy focus on articles opposing the upcoming referendum, which would have raised the school's budget. Officials from the district sent cease and desist letters to several companies in the Timpone network, stating that the use of its logos were deceptive and an instance of trademark infringement. Building up to the 2020 elections, the network increased from 450 sites to over 1,200 sites. Out of 50,000 articles, 15,000 of them were unique stories, with only about 100 with human bylines. Many automated sources included federal programs (Department of Education, Department of Health and Human Services, Census Bureau) and the fuel price site Gas Buddy. Articles with heavy conservative and Republican biases would also appear in targeted areas.

See also

*Propaganda through media *Fake news *List of fake news websites


External links

Metric Media website

Spreadsheet of Metric Media-sponsored URLs/domains as of October 2020
* {{DEFAULTSORT:Timpone, Brian American businesspeople American male journalists Year of birth missing (living people) Living people University of Missouri alumni