Churnalism Weekly: The Independent, Tuesday 12th July

In part seven of our weekly series – scouring one newspaper from one day this week for churnalism – we take a look at Tuesday’s The Independent. (Headlines listed below are from the print edition which can be different from those online.)

This week’s analysis may be affected by the phone-hacking scandal which has dominated much of the press – including pages 1 to 7 of this week’s Indy, one of the few papers to follow the story before the most recent revelations.

This article quotes a Department of Health spokesperson from their official statement. It also quotes Emily Thornberry MP, but doesn’t credit the Labour party’s website as the apparent source of the quote.

This might have been inspired by a Press Association wire (credited here by MSN News), with 32% cut and 27% pasted. This wire also appears churned elsewhere. In all cases, it would seem that Lord Krebs’ remarks are responsible for the churn engine humming.

Interestingly, the paper shows clearly on its website that Tom Morgan is a Press Assocation reporter, but fails to mention this in the paper, despite bylining Morgan. The piece relies heavily on this IPCC press release, which is also churned elsewhere, but The Independent come out with the highest churn rating at 62% cut and 64% pasted.

This article covers this University of Exeter report, which no other papers appear to have picked up, so kudos on that front. But the piece overlaps with Exeter’s write-up by 1429 characters, being 53% cut and 41% pasted.

This takes quotes from a statement from the Russell Group, as does the Daily Telegraph. That’s what happens when press releases are churned: everyone gets the same bog-standard quotes.

Nothing comes up when this Offa statement is entered into our churn engine, but the figures it presents are those in The Independent article. Indeed, their Offa quotes are different from those in press release and seem to be the result of original journalism – they don’t come up anywhere else in the national media. A good performance on this university challenge.

A little churn from the Agence France-Presse newswire (credited here by Inter Aksyon), but otherwise seems pretty original.

  • ‘World Briefing’ section, page 32

The Independent here runs four stories, and notes which agency they came from at the end of each. Very good. They don’t tend to credit the specific agency journalist, apart from AP’s Rajesh Kumar Singh (on a brief about an Indian train crash) and the odd situation with Tom Morgan (above).

We also took a quick look at the Business section:

Some slight churn from this Rio Tinto press release. The story also appears to have used this International Power release.

PricewaterhouseCoopers are cited as source of research, but their press release on the figures is quite heavily churned with 51% cut and 35% pasted, the most of any national. There’s also some churn from this RICS press release.

Although it does cite the British Retail Consortium as a source, the article is heavily churned from their press release.

The Independent announces itself to be ‘free from party political bias’, and ‘free from proprietorial influence’, but it’s not entirely free from churn, especially in the business section. That said, it credits agencies (though occasionally, and oddly, just their journalists), and uses wires and press releases as the basis for articles, putting a little butter into the mix rather than devouring a whole block. A decent showing from the Indy, but it might be interesting to revisit it in a week when the News of the World hasn’t hacked every other story off the news agenda.

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

By Gavin Freeguard & Lucy Snow