In part five of our weekly series – scouring one newspaper from one day this week for churnalism – we take a look at Tuesday’s Sun. (NB The headlines listed are from the print edition which can be different from those online. Also, The Sun does not put all its printed articles up on its website, and the text and length of both printed and online versions tend to vary.)
After a quick flick through Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday’s editions of The Sun we noticed that they have quite a few ‘exclusives’, which seem to be exactly what it says on the tin. Though they have caused some other publications attribution problems…
- ‘Police Dogs Roast To Death in Car’ & ‘Dog deaths cop jumps from car and cuts wrists’, pages 1 & 5, by Mike Sullivan and Ryan Sabey
This story (online version differs slightly) was covered by other nationals, with several lifting the same police chief quote, which also appears in Press Association (PA) wire copy (as seen via LexisNexis News and at Yahoo! News). Most of the papers do not credit PA for this story; The Times cuts 66% and pastes 44% of the wire copy but bylines two of its journalists. The Sun boasts, in its print edition, that it ‘can reveal that the officer… was also responsible for the death of another puppy left in a car in hot weather’, but fails to mention where it sourced this particular information from.
- ‘NHS fails on faults’, page 2, no byline (not online)
This tiny nib (news in brief) borrows a quote which it has correctly attributed to a Commons health committee report. Bravo!
- ‘Uni order on salary’, page 2, no byline (not online)
- ‘Jessie’s threats are hell’, page 3, no byline
This article appears 25%, cut 61% pasted from this PA wire copy – with no byline, and no credit to PA. Not as bad as the London Evening Standard and the Telegraph though, which cut over 80%, and pasted 95% of the wire copy, again without bylines or credit to PA.
- ‘Who girl in naked escape’, page 3, no byline
The online version of this celebrity news article appears over 50% churned from ANI news wire copy.
- ‘Gaga’s wrist bands’, page 3, US editor, Pete Samson
This celebrity news article (with two varying online versions, here and here) is 46% cut, 51% pasted from Bang Showbiz copy – a news wire describing itself as ‘the premier entertainment news agency providing the most exciting celebrity news to online, print and broadcast media outlets across the world’ (credited by Yahoo here). The same copy is also churned in the Evening Standard (no byline), while the Daily Mail’s article – originally bylined ‘Mike Larkin’ – has since mysteriously disappeared from MailOnline. Odd.
- Maggie’s handbag sold for £25,000, page 4, no byline (not online)
This one appears derived from PA wire copy (credited by The Guardian), with others doing likewise, including Jenny Booth at The Times. Jenny’s article, though, appears to have come not only from PA but also from Reuters wire copy.
- ‘Epileptic turtle has a brain scan’, page 4, no byline
This story looks like it might be derived from the National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth; their press release doesn’t appear churned anywhere, though a quote from it appears in the Mail. It looks like there may well have been another copy of the story whizzing around the wires, as it appears on BBC news, and travelled as far as India.
- ‘New fuel cut boost for Sun’s crusade’, page 6, by Steve Hawkes (Business Editor)
This article appears to derive from PA wire copy (credited by MSN here), though it is less churned than in the Indy, Telegraph, Scotsman and Herald.
- ‘Union Chiefs’ £100K deals’, page 8, Graeme Wilson (Deputy Political Editor)
Both The Sun’s deputy political editor and a Daily Mail journalist have chosen to use the same quotes, from MP Dominic Raab and a TUC spokesperson, in their reports on this story.
- ‘Vitamin D hits Big C’ page 12, no byline (not online)
- ‘Paxo was quiz flop’, page 13, no byline (not online)
This article contains quotes also found in this PA wire copy. The Guardian appears to have churned this copy the most and added their own byline and no credit to PA. They at least mention the Radio Times in their subheading, which conducted the original interview with Paxman – The Sun doesn’t.
- ‘Twitter perv posts naked prem ace pics’, page 17, exclusive by Richard Moriarty
This article has ‘exclusive’ written in its byline. Both the Telegraph and the Mail also report the story and credit The Sun. Original journalism and good attribution all round – just a bit of a shame it’s based on Twitter gossip about a couple of footballers having a shower?
- ‘Hack lad goes home’, page 17, no byline
Though abbreviated in print form, the online version of this article appears to be churned (74% cut, 88% pasted – though others were worse) from this PA wire copy. Again a Sun journalist takes all the credit, with PA mentioned nowhere. The Mirror and the Express also fail to credit PA anywhere.
- ‘The £2m mugging’, page 19, exclusive by Mike Sullivan
This article is marked ‘exclusive’. The Evening Standard also covered it, without any credit to The Sun. The Mail and the Express use the same police source quotes as The Sun and the Standard - the time and dates on the pieces suggest that The Sun did get there before them, and neither credits the red-top.
- Stevie G ‘spied on,’ page 22, no byline (not online)
This article appears similar to one by Steve White at the Mirror. Both The Sun’s (print) and the Mirror’s (online) versions of this local news story appear very similar to a Liverpool Echo piece by John Siddle, which we pasted into the Churn engine to reveal both the Telegraph and the Mail had churned parts of as well. National or local news? Chicken or egg? Considering the Echo piece is dated 27th June, it would seem the local piece came first.
We found also found that ‘Corals to Newcastle’, page 22, no byline (not online) appears to be derived from this PA wire copy.
In sum, a fair chunk of wire copy, some real ‘exclusives’ and some interesting attributions. Other newspapers seem to have lifted exclusives without crediting The Sun – boo – but given that The Sun churns a local newspaper piece, what’s source for the goose…
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, 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 http://mediastandardstrust.org/events/churnalismdebate/