FOUR RUMOURS AND AN EXPLANATION


A political economic account of journalists’ changing newsgathering and reporting practices
Abstract
Our analysis of 2207 domestic news reports in a structured sample of UK “quality” (the Guardian, The Times, the Independent and the Telegraph) and mid-market (Daily Mail) newspapers, revealed journalists’ extensive use of copy provided by public relations sources and news agencies, especially the UK-based Press Association. A political economic explanation for this reliance on news stories produced “outside the newsroom”, draws inspiration from Gandy’s notion of information subsidies and presents findings from a substantive content analysis of selected UK national newspapers, interviews with journalists working on national titles and news agencies, as well as detailed archival analysis of UK newspaper companies’ annual accounts across 20 years to deliver information about newspapers’ profitability, their expansive editorial pagination as well as the number of journalists they employ. The argument here is that this reliance on public relations and news agency copy has been prompted by the need for a relatively stable community of journalists to meet an expansive requirement for news in order to maintain newspapers’ profitability in the context of declining circulations and revenues.

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