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.
- ‘Thousands face uncertain future as care home chain is broken up’, page 8, by Nina Lakhani
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.
- ‘Badger cull would be a mistake, says scientist and key no.10 advisor’, page 9, Michael McCarthy (Environment Editor)
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.
- ‘Police probe after man, 82, is hit by Taser’, page 11, by Tom Morgan
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.
- ‘Climate Change could kill one in ten species by end of the century’, page 14, by Steve Conner (Science Editor)
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.
- ‘Regulator criticised as universities are cleared to charge £9,000 fees’, page 15, by Richard Garner (Education Editor)
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.
- ‘Crash kills 40 children in Bangladesh’, page 22, by Andrew Buncombe
- ‘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:
- ‘British firms cry foul over Australia’s carbon tax’, page 34, by Sarah Arnott
- ‘House prices in the red until 2020, warns PwC’, page 36, Simon Read (Personal Finance Editor)
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.
- ‘Retail sales fall further as shoppers feel the squeeze’, page 36, by James Thompson
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