Thursday, 24 February 2011

An interesting website has just been launched by the Media Standards Trust called It allows punters to compare press releases to news articles and tells you precisely how lazy/ignorant/overworked the journalists are who produce your daily newspaper.

Just as an experiment I put 'ash press release' into Google and up popped this::

'New report finds major benefits to the health of the nation from increasing tobacco taxes'

(Friday 05 March 2010)

I then cut 'n' pasted the text of the press release into and, voila, I could see how much of that press release was blindly regurgitated by The Mirror and the BBC. In the case of The Mirror, it was 63% cut and 78% paste.

One limitation of the website is that you have to put in the text of the press release to compare it to the news reports, not the other way round. This is a bit of a bugger since the original press releases are not always easy to trace. Another limitation is that its archive seems to be limited to national newspapers. A quick google search found that the press release above was churned out by plenty of other local and regional newspapers.

Perhaps these problems will be ironed out as time goes on with the assistance of its users. If you have a source of press releases, do let them know. In the mean time, it could still be a useful little toy when you want to see how much of what you read is reheated PR guff.


Anonymous said...

I'm surprised the cut and paste rate is so low! At least they must give it a 'cursory' glance before shoving it straight out for public consumption.

Too much effort for them to properly read it, poor dears. Too many big words.

Anonymous said...

All ASH press releases are archived on its website. My problem is that I can't see how to enter text on the churnalism website. Maybe its not displaying correctly on my screen.

Unknown said...

Chris, can i suggest slightly changing the colour of your link font? It's hard to differentiate it from the regular font so i keep overlooking hyperlinks

Anonymous said...

Hmm, good idea.