Churnalism Weekly: Daily Mirror, Tuesday 21 June

Part four of our weekly series, taking one newspaper from one day this week and scouring it for churnalism. This week we reflect on Tuesday’s Daily Mirror (NB the headlines listed are from the print edition, which can be different from those online).

The purpose of these posts is to give a snapshot of the sources included (be they press releases, wire copy, etc) in articles within national newspapers, and give readers an idea of which sources articles are derived from, how to find these sources online, and how can be used to do this.

With one exception, there was very little PR copy – but lots of pieces taken from the agencies. Unlike a lot of papers, though, the Mirror seems to have only taken quotes from the wires, rather than regurgitating Reuters et al wholesale. But it could still attribute its sources. On one occasion (see page 15, below), it – and others – might have done well to check the date of their source, too.

From the top:

This article is similar to a news briefing on the British Forces News (BFBS) website. And an article on the Daily Mail website. And another article in The Independent, which bylines its article PA.

This article includes quotes which feature in AP wire copy and therefore shows as 7% cut, 48% pasted from the wire. The Telegraph (39% cut, 61% pasted) and the Mail (35% cut, 62% pasted) appear to copy much more, with no attribution to the AP.

A piece both online and in print, bylined Jason Beattie, is 25% cut and 22% pasted from this Press Association release, Jack Straw’s comments being supplemented by more from the IMF and elsewhere. But the Mirror website has more stories based on this press release than Greece has Euros to rub together. Two other pieces, ‘Greece default “will destroy Euro”’ and ‘Euro cannot survive Greece default, warns Jack Straw’, are 100% cut, 100% pasted and 99% cut, 43% pasted, respectively. The latter uses an image of Jack Straw (the same as the Jason Beattie piece), and credits Reuters for the pic – though needless to say, none of the pieces credits the PA for the copy. [End of update]

The print and online versions of this article are identical and again use quotes which perhaps come from this (AP) news wire copy, or even a Fifa press statement which we couldn’t track online. The only odd thing is we are not sure which journalist to credit – Martin Lipton, or Don Mackay, or both? Whose byline is it anyway?

This article contains a quote from  ‘a source close to Cheryl Cole’ which doesn’t seem to appear in any of the other papers. However, near the end of the article, there is another quote from Cheryl herself which was used extensively elsewhere.

A quote from Simon Cowell’s mum Julie about Cheryl Cole being axed from US X Factor   is also used in the Express and The Sun, and elsewhere online, though it’s tricky to find the original source.

This article includes a quote from RAF Air chief Marshal Sir Simon Bryant which was widely picked up by other papers. The story and quote might have originally derived from AFP wire copy or Press Association wire copy. The latter was used and fully credited by The Guardian, but also churned by the Express (80% cut, 92% pasted) and the Mail (91% cut, 63% pasted), although the latter now appears to be a more original piece (with a bylined journalist). We’ve written previously about the Mail bunging up agency copy before going back to edit it.

‘Net name gain’, page 10, by Mike Swain

This article does not appear to be churned wire copy nor based on a press release, though it is perhaps derived from wire copy – maybe from AP journalist Alex Kennedy or from PA news copy (credited by The Independent).

This article is bylined ‘Alun Palmer’ in the print version, but ‘Reporter, Daily Mirror’ in the online version. The Mirror, unlike other papers, has not actually churned the wire copy (by the PA’s Abdullah Khan) but has again just taken quotes from it. The Scotsman has run the wire copy but credits the AP journalist with a byline; the Mail churned it but slapped ‘Daily Mail Reporter’ at the top; the Express churned it and hasn’t bothered to byline anyone at all; and likewise the BBC churned a fair bit without a byline. Butter rebranded.

There doesn’t appear to be any wire copy on the web relating to this story. Other papers used the same quote from film director Peter Jackson, so presumably something was circulated in some form to the news desks.

The Mirror, along with The Sun and the Mail, appear to have churned this one from an article on thisisnottingham, the local paper website. So far, so ordinary – but the article in question dates from November 2010 (which is when the BBC also covered the inquest). The Nottingham Post did publish another article on the case this Monday, ‘Case is referred to Secretary of State’, but not one of the nationals mentioned this new development, the actual news, in their articles on Tuesday.

The print and two online versions of this article are 100% and 99% copied and pasted straight from PA wire copy. PA is not credited by the Mirror anywhere in any of the three versions.

This feature article is three quarters of a double page spread in size and ends with ‘From The Heart, by Kym Marsh, is published on Thursday by Hodder & Stoughton and is priced £16.99′ and ‘Tomorrow: Her amazing journey from poverty to pop star’. At first glance it looks like this ‘feature’ is based on an original interview done by the paper, but after finding several exact same quotes in the Daily Mail and Closer magazine we realised perhaps Kym Marsh’s publicist had sold-in elsewhere too.

By page 20 we got tired of tooth-combing. A handful of other articles in part based on wire copy beyond page 20 include:

‘Staff: NHS care to fall’, (page 23, no byline), perhaps derived from this PA copy, and churned elswhere

‘Feeding Frenzy’, p.26, no byline (Wendy Fuller named online), perhaps derived from this ANI wire copy, and again churned at the Mail

‘Library put on web,’ page 26, no byline, perhaps based on this British Library press release, which was widely recycled

‘Bin Laden was like a crazed chief exec,’ page 29, Tom Parry, similar to this ANI wire copy, which showed certain similarities to a Telegraph piece too.

Brought to you by the team at If you spot any churn please let us know by emailing team AT churnalism DOT com.

By Gavin Freeguard, Martin Moore, Camilla Schick, & Lucy Snow.

The MST will be holding a debate on Churnalism at the Royal Statistical Society London, 6th July 7PM For more details on speakers and registration visit