Churnalism Weekly: The Guardian, Tuesday 26th July

The Churnalism Team


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In part nine of our weekly series (and the last before a short summer holiday), scouring one newspaper from one day this week for churnalism, we take a look at Tuesday’s Guardian. (NB headlines listed below are from the print edition which can be different from those online.)

The first few pages are filled with original reporting from correspondents in Norway – to be expected in such a busy, and extraordinary, news week.

As with most of the other nationals, The Guardian has used this interview with Jens Breivik from Swedish tabloid Expressen but has clearly credited the paper.

The churn engine comes out with three churn symbols for the (very slightly different) online version of this article (87% cut, 69% pasted) when this Press Association copy is entered (via Yahoo News). The copy may be mostly un-tweakable quotes, but this hasn’t stopped others, such as The Independent, crediting PA at the bottom of the article. The Guardian just gives its own security editor’s byline.

As an aside, the article also refers to a UN report which Peter Beaumont wrote about on the 19th July. That may have been based in part on a press release about the report, but it’s more interesting for the number of links in the article – to articles quoted, to The Guardian’s other articles on some key words, and even to the transcript of a press conference.

The considerably shorter, paper version of this article seems to rely on a couple of documents from the website, namely the Commons’ health select committee report which the article is about and this news release on the report (for a quote from Stephen Dorrell).

An example of good sourcing – The Guardian cites its rival, The Independent, as the source of a Comres poll mentioned. Although they could have linked to The Independent piece in the online version.

Another article based on a select committee report and accompanying press release, this time from the work and pensions select committee. This was a hot topic for lots of newspapers, and we can probably assume – given the 100% cut, 100% pasted results when the Mirror’s version of the article is plugged into the churn engine – that wire copy from some news agency, somewhere, has been churned without credit on a large scale.

Very happy, since you ask, with this article. Although inspired by the release of a report on measuring national well-being, The Guardian have resisted the temptation to churn where so many others have failed, not even cropping up when the press release is analysed by The BBC and The Scotsman were tempted, though, although the BBC does link to the report in its story. We can also see that the Press Association might be very happy at its copy being churned by a variety of outlets – though possibly less happy at the lack of attribution.

Credited to the Press Association, so credit to The Guardian (and PA hadn’t bothered to byline the individual journalist, so The Guardian didn’t have a chance).

All in all, The Guardian has got a pretty clean result. As with the Financial Times, and with one exception, any use of wire copy and press releases is complemented by journalistic digging on the one hand and openness about sources on the other. But The Guardian could, perhaps, get into the habit of linking directly to sources from the online versions of their articles – Peter Beaumont’s UN piece points towards the rich potential of hyperlinks.

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 & Lucy Snow

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