Churnalism US launches


Churnalism US launches today – a joint project of the Sunlight Foundation and the Media Standards Trust.

The new service enhances the existing UK, making it into a browser plugin that alerts you to possible churnalism while you’re reading the news.

The new service can be found here:

The announcement by the Sunlight Foundation can be found here:

More technical details on how the service works can be found here:

The announcement – made by the Sunlight Foundation in the US – can be found below.

For more information please contact Martin Moore at



New Text Matching Tool from the Sunlight Foundation 


WASHINGTON, DC — The Sunlight Foundation and Media Standards Trust today introduce a new tool called Churnalism US [] to help detect possible plagiarism in news and research articles online. In a day and age when a seemingly infinite amountof information can be accessed with just a click of a mouse, Churnalism lets you know if it’s a product of real journalism or copied from another story posted elsewhere.

Churnalism is a tool that matches fragments of text between two documents online by comparing it to our database of press releases and Wikipedia entries. You can either install an extension to your Internet browser to run Churnalism automatically, or you can manually paste in the URL or text of an article on the main site []. In order to run the comparison, we built up a cache of documents that includes all of Wikipedia and press releases from PR Newswire, PR News Web, EurekaAlert!, congressional leadership offices, the White House, a sampling of Fortune 500 companies, prominent philanthropic foundations and many more. Churnalism searches for matching fragments across all of these sources and shows you a side-by-side result right on your computer screen.

Sunlight’s Churnalism is based on a UK site of the same name [] and is driven by open-source search engine technology dubbed SuperFastMatch [], both developed by Media Standards Trust []. The Media Standards Trust is a UK nonprofit that fosters high standards innews on behalf of the public.

“Here at Sunlight, we’re increasingly interested in tracking not just the flow of money in politics, but the flow of ideas, whether in legislation or floor speeches or news articles,” said Tom Lee, Sunlight Labs director. “When we learned of what Media Standards Trust developed, it seemed natural for us to help them bring it to the U.S. news consumer.”

“If we’re going to reward original news we have to be able to distinguish it from content that’s just copy-pasted,” said Martin Moore, director of the Media Standards Trust. “ is a tool that helps us tell the difference. We’re very excited that it will now be available in the U.S. as well”.

Use the tool by visiting or installing an extension [] for Internet Explorer, Safari or Firefox browsers. Please note the Firefox extension will remain in beta until it receives a final review from Mozilla. When the Churnalism extension detects a match, a ribbon will slide down at the top of your browser and prompt you to view the Churnalism or dismiss the notification. If you decide to view the “churn,” an overlay will pop up that shows you a side-by-side view with the best match for the document. To close the pop up, click anywhere outside the overlay or hit escape.

Watch a brief tutorial video on how to use the site.

During the development and beta testing phases for Churnalism, we found some interesting results, including a faux pas made by a wire service just last week.

For information about our privacy policy for extension users, click here. Learn more about the technology behind Churnalism on the Sunlight blog.

The Sunlight Foundation is a nonpartisan nonprofit that uses cutting-edge technology and ideas to make government transparent and accountable. Visit to learn more about Sunlight’s projects, including and and

The Media Standards Trust is a UK-based independent registered charity that fosters high standards in news on behalf of the public. Visit to learn more about MST’s mission and projects.