Kate's Confirmation Churnalism

Pintando a la Monarquía
Pintando a la Monarquía by americanistadechiapas on Flickr

Last weekend I made the assertion that Kate Middleton’s confirmation had been subjected to a press strategy, and was thus an appropriate topic for debate and conversation on the blogs.

I realised I had not actually linked to any online story announcing the news, which isn’t ‘best practice’ in blogging! However, Googling the story reveals something odd – the stories from many respectable outlets are exactly the same, revealing that they are indulging in lazy churnalism. The structure and wording of the stories in the Telegraph, Standard, BBC, Daily Mail, The Mirror, Daily Express, The Sun, and ITV are all pretty much exactly the same.  The Guardian at least tried to disguise their recycling by adding a knowing, chatty paragraph at the start of their article.. but the content is otherwise similar.

This is understandable, because the earliest of the articles I found was from Reuters, so one assumes that they had the scoop and put it out over their wire for other news organisations to pick up.  That’s how it works.  However, such blatant exposure of the way that news reporting operates should make us reconsider what value newspapers and broadcast media actually bring to us.  In the internet age, is it actually useful to the public to have hundreds of versions of the same story online.  Why not just link to the original post?  Newspapers are quick to tell us that reporting must be paid for, and that we have an obligation to support an independent media.  But why, when they are not doing independent reporting?  Most appalling is the fact that The Times report was also obviously recycled from the same press release, but it is behind a paywall!  Shocking.

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