Press releases running verbatim as news: Good or bad for PR?

The U.K.-based website finds promo material running virtually untouched in news stories. Time-saver or credibility-killer?

To hear Martin Moore tell it, the BBC is guilty. So are newspapers like the Daily Express, the Daily Mail, the Daily Telegraph—and dozens of other media.

All of them have cranked out “churnalism,” a mainstream news story that differs little from the press release that sparked it, says Moore, director of Media Standards Trust.

So Media Standards Trust, a British organization that seeks to boost journalistic standards, has roiled the PR and communications industry in the U.K. with a website called, which enables the public to check how much of press releases are cribbed in news stories.

Some PR insiders have said the site is issuing unfair hits; others say it points to the need for higher standards of integrity and fact-checking among communicators themselves.

Alan Twigg, a managing partner at Seventy Seven PR, knocked in PR Weekly UK for implying that “getting coverage is a doddle and that PROs are taking over the media. If only it was that easy. Just try to sell in every day and build relationships with journalists over months and years.”

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