Tag Archives: newspapers

Churnalism: Now on the Web

28 Feb

For those of you who have read Nick Davies brilliant – if not frightening book Flat Earth News – or for those who consume more than one news article a week – will be aware of the concept of Churnalism.

That is “a form of journalism in which press releases, wire stories and other forms of pre-packaged material are used to create articles in newspapers and other news media in order to meet increasing pressures of time and cost without undertaking further research or checking…”

As the amount of media on and offline continues to grow – and the reduction in ad revenue continues to drop (resulting in less journalists) – there’s no argument that this practice will continue to flourish.

To give some more transparency into this – the UK’s Media Standards Trust has just launched Churnalism.com – which it describes as the “Churn Engine to distinguish journalism from churnalism”.

Churnalism.com

Churnalism.com

The concept is simple – paste in a selection of text from a news article and the site will determine how many other times this text has been reproduced in other publications (indicating a re-hashed press release).

Attempting to use this on our Aussie publications (so far) has put them in safe ground. None of the articles selected from the SMH, News.com.au  or the Daily Telegraph suggested Churnalism at work. Whether this is because the Churnalism site is more UK centric, or our local journalists are more skilled at rehashing press releases (that the John Galliano story wasn’t a re-hashed press release surprises me) – I’m not sure.

However – looking at some of the suggested examples on the site, it’s clear that there is a lot of re-writing rather than investigating going on in our world’s media.

Surprised? Me neither.

** Find an example of an Australian publication that returns Churn – contact me or respond in the Comments Section **