Churnalism Invades The US And UK Press
July 5, 2013
For those who cannot tell by the nifty combination of churn and journalism, churnalism refers to reporters “churning” out pieces that regurgitate press releases and other prior existing content into a news story. The problem with churnalism is that it only pulls from one resource, which is contrary to good journalism that requires research and fact checking. MakeUseOf.com focuses on churnalism in the US and across the pond in the United Kingdom in the article, “Churnalism: Find Out When Reporters Re-Print Press Releases.”
There are two ways to figure out if an article has been “churnaled” or not. There are two search engines that churn articles (one for each country) and matches results against press releases. The databases only check a few databases by default, but more can be added based on the user’s preference. Also there are web browser extensions to check articles as you surf the web.
Keep in mind, however, that even though too much churnalism is bad that does not mean all articles are unoriginal:
“Churnalism warning you about an article doesn’t mean it’s “bad” – much of the time the only thing you’ll see in an article is a quote from the release. This probably means the reporter didn’t talk to the people in question, but it’s up to you to determine whether this matters.”
Remember to use the one feature developers have not been able to program yet: human judgment. Only an inquiring mind can decipher schlock from gems.
Whitney Grace, July 05, 2013