Flat earth news: 'Journalism has been replaced by churnalism'

'Dog doesn't eat dog. That's always been the rule in Fleet Street.

We dig into the world of politics and finance and sport and policing and entertainment. We dig wherever we like - but not in our own back garden. This book is a brazen attempt to break that rule.

'I commissioned specialist researchers from the University of Cardiff to investigate a sample of stories in The Times, The Guardian, The Independent, The Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail ... They found that a massive 60 per cent of these quality print stories consisted wholly or mainly of wire copy and/or PR material. They went on to look at those stories which relied on a specific statement of fact and found that with a staggering 70 per cent of them, the claimed fact passed into print without any corroboration at all ... Journalism has been replaced by what some now call "churnalism".'

Extract from Flat Earth News, by Nick Davies (published 7 February by Chatto & Windus, £17.99).

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