More than half Australian newspaper content is PR-led spin, says six-month study

Over half of Australian newspaper content is driven by PR, a new study in Australia has reported. During the course of six months, 40 students from University of Technology (UTS) Sydney worked with independent media site Crikey to monitor Australian news content in ten newspapers, seven of which are owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation. Nearly 55 per cent of stories analysed in a five day period (more than 2203 articles) were instigated by public relations, Crikey reported. The worst performer was the Murdoch-owned tabloid, the Daily Telegraph: 70 per cent of stories were PR driven. The best of the ten papers was Fairfax’s Sydney Morning Herald with 42 per cent PR prompted stories for that week. The study, which requires a subscription to read in full, says that it defined journalism as PR driven “if it was instigated from a press release or some other form of promotional material; or if a story clearly presented only one, highly positive slant or framed one source in a promotional manner without including any independent verification or additional source”. It also reported that of 2203 articles, more than 24 per cent, “had no significant extra perspective, source or content added by reporters”. It’s not the first time the Australian press has come under fire for his PR-hungry news: Last October ABC’s Hungry Beast spread a story that Sydney is the most gullible city in Australia, according to the completely fabricated Levitt Institute


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