Five ways to stop churnalism
Let’s try again to get rid of “churnalism”: the rewriting of press releases masquerading as news.
Here’s my five ways to do it:
1 Look for patterns in the news flow. A company launches a product: who has launched a product like this recently? So instead of the intro being “So-and-so launched a new gizmo this month…” it becomes “So-and-so is the third vendor into the gizmo market…”
2 Get your own quote from some authority and put that high up in the story. “So-and-so’s launch of its new gizmo this month was met with disbelief by experts…”
3 Look for what’s missing. “So-and-so’s new gizmo launched this month lacks the power of…”
4 Give the story forward spin by getting experts to predict what will happen next rather than what has just happened. “The gizmo market will attract more competition now that So-and-so has launched its product this month, says…”
5 Use the social media contributions by users as part of your news: what is the most read online story; what is the best comment or tweet etc.
Yes, all of these take a bit more time. But the quality is better. And the morale of the writers is better. Oh, and the readers are served better as well.
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