Guardian writer Nick Davies launches a searing indictment of what he calls “churnalism” in this week’s Press Gazette.
Citing new research carried out by Cardiff University’s journalism department – he claims that 80 per cent of home news stories in the main quality UK national newspapers are at least partially made up of recycled material from the PR industry or news agencies.
Which is kinda scary, no? Though I’d also say that at least a third of the press releases that come past me are recycling stuff that’s been seen in the mainstream press..
Looking at newspapers on a case-by-case basis, the study – which looked at 2,000 stories over two weeks last year – found that 69 per cent of home news stories in The Times were wholly or mainly made up of PR and/or wire copy. The proportions for other newspapers were: The Daily Telegraph: 68 per cent; The Daily Mail, 66 per cent; The Independent: 65 per cent and The Guardian: 52 per cent.
Phew! Interesting not-dealt-wiith question (at least, not in the blog post; maybe I’ll need to buy the UKPG): what proportion of the press releases coming in to the papers then got used? I did a study of my own stuff a few years ago, and found that 1 in 200 emails led to a story. And that was counting all sorts of stuff including mailing lists.
The research also claims that less Fleet Street staff journalists are now producing three times as many pages as they did 20 years ago.
An inelegant sentence, one has to say. There are fewer journalists, but if he’d put “fewer Fleet Street journalists are..” that would sound like some are just sitting around.