'Churnalism' and PR share blame game


One of the world’s best known ex-PRs, Alistair Campbell, recently critiqued the media for its inability to separate between speculation and information, the important and the trivial, rehashing news, getting it first rather than getting it right plus its language of extremes. In reply, Guardian columnist Peter Wilby aimed a kick at the PR industry saying, among quotes…
PR at best aspires to a partial truth and, at worse, to outright fabrication.”
PR far more than journalism shapes the news agenda…At least half the news in papers is generated not by journalist, but by PRs or spin doctors.” And he insists the problem centres around:
Fewer journos producing more copy plus more PRs offering more ‘instant stories.”

Wilby says the solution might be a ‘narrow newspaper’ – where every statement gets rigorously checked and attributed to name sources…journos only use press releases if they could corroborate contents from other sources…editors would appy some test to distinguish the important from the trivial – sorry, Peter…but aren’t your solutions just the fundamentals of professional journalism??

4 thoughts on “'Churnalism' and PR share blame game

  1. Pretty hard to see exactly how PRs influenced the under-resourcing of news media organisations. News media proprietors made the decisions years ago about the directions of their organisations. Now we have a generation of journalists who believe its appropriate to report news as what any person, regardless of qualification, is prepared to say, rather than any notion of what exists in reality. They are also beautifully trained in the blame game. If anything happens, someone must be to blame. Peter Wilby’s quotes are just more examples. If only that magnificent insight could be turned inwards!

    Poor marketing, lazy business practices, reliance on legal and government protections rather than maintenance of internal standards, constant reporting in self-interest, massive loss of credibility, opinion replacing fact, failure to deal with changing demographics and national attitudes and cultures – with business skills like this, no wonder so many media owners are moving into gambling operations where the odds are with the house.


  2. I am so glad I found your blog by accident.

    We are a group of very experienced communicators who recently graduated from an Executive Master in Corporate Communication program here in Copenhagen (Denmark). We have been looking for a blog which shares our passion for communication and it looks like we found one.

    Keep up the good work. We look forward to keeping in touch!



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