Tuesday, April 26, 2011

How prevalent is churnalism in science reporting ?

Posted by
Martin Robbins Monday 25 April 2011:

Churnalism 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.

BBC journalist Waseem Zakir has been credited for coining the term churnalism. According to Zakir, the trend towards this form of journalism involves reporters becoming more reactive and less proactive in searching for news - "You get copy coming in on the wires and reporters churn it out, processing stuff and maybe adding the odd local quote. It's affecting every newsroom in the country and reporters are becoming churnalists."

For example, since I hate writing introductory paragraphs I copy-pasted the last two paragraphs from Wikipedia rather than bother to write them myself. I put them into a blockquote to make it clear that they're not mine, because I believe that I should make it clear to my readers what parts of an article I've written, and what parts I haven't.

Journalists engaging in churnalism don't bother with this, but a website launched a couple of months ago, Churnalism.com, has been set up to catch them out. Read more>>

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