Brian Timpone is an American conservative businessman and former journalist who operates a network of procedurally generated news websites. In November 2019, Columbia University's Tow Center for Digital Journalism identified over 450 websites linked to Timpone, all of which presented themselves as local news outlets. Timpone is involved with a number of interconnected media companies, including Local Government Information Services (LGIS), which he co-founded, as well as Metric Media, Franklin Archer, Locality Labs (formerly known as Journatic and LocalLabs), and Record Inc.
In a June 2012 episode of This American Life, Timpone disclosed that Journatic was outsourcing its writing to over 300 freelancers in several geographic areas outside of the United States, including the Philippines, Eastern Europe, Brazil, and Africa. Timpone described Journatic's content as "a mix of journalism and automatic". Journatic managed TribLocal, a hyperlocal news branch of the Chicago Tribune that targeted suburban neighborhoods around Chicago, in the spring of 2012.
Locality Labs published Hinsdale School News, a newspaper that masqueraded as the student publication of a high school in Hinsdale, Illinois by using the logo of Hinsdale Township High School District 86. In March 2019, the publication released a number of articles opposing a Hinsdale referendum that would increase the school district's budget by $140 million. Officials from District 86 sent a cease and desist letter to Franklin Archer, LGIS, and other related companies, claiming that their publication of the Hinsdale School News was deceptive and violated trademark law.
- Gabbatt, Adam (19 November 2019). "How local 'fake news' websites spread 'conservative propaganda' in the US". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2019-12-18.
- Bengani, Priyanjana. "Hundreds of 'pink slime' local news outlets are distributing algorithmic stories and conservative talking points". Columbia Journalism Review. Retrieved 2019-12-18.
- Sourine, Katherina; Sokotoff, Dominick (November 1, 2019). "Pseudo local news sites in Michigan reveal nationally expanding network". The Michigan Daily.
- "Switcheroo". This American Life. 29 June 2012. Retrieved 2019-12-18.
- Lannom, Pamela (March 28, 2019). "'Hinsdale School News' is no such thing". The Hinsdalean. Retrieved December 18, 2019 – via Newz Group.
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