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The role of public relations in the shaping of news

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The media then acts as a force multiplier and consumes the media bandwidth with such parlous writing. Rationale public opinion is then moulded as the paid news acts as a puissant force to change public opinion. What is even worse is the end of creative writing and investigative journalism (Curtin and Rhodenbaugh, 2001). With this background, this paper examines a case study of Churnalism where parts of content from a PR release and reports were copied by other publications. The paper presents a chapter on the subject of PR and its importance, the perceived hostility of journalists towards PR followed by a detailed discussion of the case. The problem of assessing the authenticity and reliability of articles has become increasingly difficult.

To bring some order into the system, many publications have come together to form the Sunlight Foundation's Churnalism website (Sunlight Foundation, 2014). The website uses an open source search engine that allows editors to check the authenticity of an article. They can enter large chunks of text into a text box given in a page of the website and click the submit button.

The open source search engine then runs a check to evaluate the extent of match in the words and sentences with other content online. The website compares and checks the content against a large number of PR websites such as PR News Wire. PR News Web, Market Wire and others. Matching text from the document that is undergoing a test is displayed in yellow highlights. The technique is somewhat familiar to the online plagiarism-checking tool used in college, such as 'Turn it in'. In any case, the effort shows the extent to which Churnalism has impacted online publication.

The Guardian first released the news about the churn detector and then the content was churned by many publications such as PCWorld, Boing Boing, Ars Technica, The Atlantic, Digital Trends and many other online newspapers, blogs and websites (Page, 2013). However, despite the availability of the churn detector, journalists continue their perchance of copy/ pasting news items. Many times, the copied content can be rewritten and paraphrased with minimal effort and in a few minutes. However, journalists prefer to churnalise either out of laziness, indifference or they do not fear being caught.

1.1 Brief description of the Churnalism case The case study is actually a narration of events where a number of newspapers copied a report released by the Benenden Healthcare Society that released a report quoting a poll stating, "British women spend more money on their looks than their health" (Benenden Health, 2011).

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