Media Research from Cardiff School of Journalism

The Quality and Independence of British Journalism

Source: Cardiff School of Journalism, Justin Lewis, Bob Franklin, Andrew Williams, James Thomas, Nick Mosdell

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Report by Cardiff University’s School of Journalism analysing the quantity of public relations material and news agency copy within news output, measuring the changing number of journalists employed by major news organisations, and illustrating the role of PR in news based on three case studies.

The key findings are that:

  • Journalists are producing more copy: ‘While the number of journalists in the national press has remained fairly static, they now produce three times as much copy as they did twenty years ago’
  • A majority of the output is based on news agency copy or public relations material: ‘60% of press articles and 34% of broadcast stories come wholly or mainly’ from either PR material or news agency copy
  • ‘The most PR influenced topic was health, followed closely by consumer/business news and entertainment/sport’

The statistics regarding the use of PR material were based on an analysis of 2,207 stories from five national newspapers. 71% of these were ‘standard news articles’, most of the rest news in briefs. The broadcast analysis was based on 402 TV news items.