Tuesday, February 19th, 2008
Claiming that little journalism is original these days, UK investigative journalist Nick Davies
commissioned Cardiff University’s journalism department to do a study on the state of the industry.
The study looked at all domestic news stories over a two-week period from five British newspapers, including the quality papers–the Times of London, the Daily Telegraph, the Independent, the Guardian–and one mid-market paper, the Daily Mail.
The researchers looked at 2,207 stories.
They also had the Guardian news desk send along all of the material–such as press releases and wire stories–that the journalists had access to during that period.
The survey found that 80 percent of the stories in these papers–some of the most prestigious in the country–were wholly or mainly or partly based on information from pr departments or wire stories. The researchers weren’t sure on the origins of another 8 percent of the stories.
Only 12 percent were clearly original.
Further, the researchers found that when stories hinged on a specific fact, there was clear evidence that fact was checked in only 12 percent of stories.