Churnalism

Being the news instead of reporting the news isn’t working

Regan at Throng has been crunching some numbers and it isn’t looking good for journalist advocacy presenter tele-prompt reader John Campbell.

It would appear that public advocacy rather than intrepid journalism is actually hurting those who are pushing agendas.

I’m have to admit that I’m getting a fair bit of vicarious pleasure from this. I love how these media celebrities and legends in their own minds have  tried to turn themselves into a political force and failed. They should stick to kittens up trees and tradesmen sniffing undies.

They have fundamentally overestimated their audience. They run crap for news and get an audience that enjoys that. Then they try to do some real hard work, but discover that their audience doesn’t care. The people that care are no longer watching, and are now on sites like mine.  Read more »

Churnalism Warning System

It’s time we get to be told when we’re reading press releases and corporate mumbo jumbo masquerading as news through our ‘once-over-lightly’ main stream media “journalists”.  Check this out

Nicko from the Sunlight Foundation [says], “I thought you’d be interested in a new browser extension and webtool from the Sunlight Foundation called Churnalism.

It extracts article text from any site you’d like it to run on and compares it against a corpus of press releases, articles from Wikipedia and much more.

If a significant amount of text from what you’re reading matches something in our database, an alert banner appears on your browser and you can click through to see a side-by-side comparison.

I imagine every editor would want to run this on their stories before they publish!”

Imagine your browser screaming “BULLSH*T” every time you’re being fed some “news” that was cooked up and shopped to the newspapers being presented as a journalist’s own work!

Read more »

Whaleoil Awards – Worst Political Journalist

Nominations are now open for New Zealand’s worst political journalist.

Again place your nominations in the comments, with your reasoning.

There are plenty to choose from, the entire Press Gallery is listed here to assist.

Nominations can be for general ineptness, repeating, churnalism or just outright bias or maliciousness.

Cops stand firm on DotCampbell spin

I blogged yesterday about the danger to media and politicians of blindly following Campbell Live’s DotCon PR spin.

The Police Commissioner is now backing the cop who was under attack this week - which might be a warning for all the journos who repeated the DotCampbell claims to go away and look at the notes of their court reporting – if they have any.

The SST shows that no transcript of the court case has been released – so all the journos who repeated the story this week will have done so on the strength of a single quote selected by DotCampbell, without any context and without any info on the line of questioning in the run up to the quote.

The cops are hamstrung because they can’t comment on a live court case – but the SST suggests the cop at the centre of this was talking about something completely different to what is being claimed by DotCampbell.

This could be very uncomfortable for media and politicians who haven’t bothered to do any fact-checking.

Bullshit Reporting again from NZ Horrid

ᔄ NZ Herald

The Herald reckons that “NZ says no to larger school rooms”…or so their headline says:

A nationwide survey has given a strong indication that New Zealanders don’t want larger class sizes.

The street survey conducted by APN newspapers from Whangarei to Dunedin showed most people stood alongside education groups in their opposition to controversial ratio changes announced as part of the Budget.

Oh a nation wide survey…sounds impressive…bit not so fast it says a street survey.

Right…so not a poll, not scientific, just some repeaters going out and asking people in the street….I wonder how many people they asked to come to this momentous declaration that “NZ says no to larger school rooms”?

Some of the more than 70 people questioned in the national snapshot slammed the measure as “rubbish” and “bloody ridiculous”. Only a handful supported the move.

Seventy! Oh FFS….that is pathetic…they claim it is a poll, it is not. They claim it is a “national snapshot”, it is not.

I am sure David Farrar will be able to point out the statistical errors of conducting such shabby survey and then reporting it in an even shabbier manner.

Not a 777

ᔄ NZ Herald

Perhaps the Herald might like to invest in some of those Australian sub-editors that Fairfax is letting go.

They run a whole story about Emirates and bigger screen TVs in their 777 planes and run the story with a photo of an A380.

Brian Edwards on Fair Go

ᔄ Brian Edwards Media

Brian Edwards writes about the problems associated with Fair Go…he would know he pretty much invented the show. In his treatise he explains just how bad it is for someone who is the target of Fair Go.

He gives this warning at the end though:

Recently we have had to say to several people who sought our advice on how to deal with a Fair Go complaint that there was really no approach that could guarantee them a successful outcome. The vigilante mentality of reporters who saw themselves as society’s avenging angels meant that they had already been presumed guilty and nothing they could say or do was going to change that presumption.

This is a programme out of control. Maybe it was always out of control. Maybe it’s time to recognise that and call a halt. Yes, some ratbags will get away with murder, but some fundamentally decent people will not be vilified and their reputations destroyed. Maybe that’s a fair trade.

This most certainly applied to the Sunday programme, where John Hudson pursued a story irrespective of the facts with the pre-supposed idea that Hell and in particular Warren Powell and the other directors were bad bastards. They did no research into the backgrounds of those they featured and ignored evidence when it was offered to them by independent third parties.

What is appalling is the spelling skills of sub-editors

ᔄ NZ Herald

Apparently school cuts appal [sic] principals. What is more appalling is the spelling skills of sub-editors.

Churnalism, Ctd

Fairfax repeater Jenny Keown really shouldn’t have put her name to the byline for the article on Stuff about the Ports of Auckland issue. She has basically cut/pasted Garry Parsloe’s press release in full from the Maritime Union website.

Comparing the two articles side by side there is a prima facie case of churnalism. Simply repeating a press release as if it was news.

  • Union Press release: 455 words, 56 lines, 14 paragraphs
  • Stuff news article: 397 words ,48 lines ,13 paragraphs

I have highlighted the direct cut/paste passages:

Coincidence, Channelling or Copying?

Yesterday David Farrar blogged using the following quote:

My response was to quote former United Kingdom Prime Minister Harold Macmillan and say “Events, dear boy, events”.

Today the same quote appears in John Armstrong’s article.

As British prime minister, Harold Macmillan was once asked what was the most likely thing to blow a government off course. “Events, dear boy, events,” he famously replied.

Coincidence, Channelling or Copying?