Ripping debate: Reporters at national newspaper website were asked to rewrite seven stories a day without making any phone calls

Independent editor Christian Broughton told Radio 4 yesterday he was “sad” to hear of the “ripping” culture that has been highlighted on certain national news websites.

A Press Gazette article last month revealed that most of the graduate trainees at one national newspaper website had left journalism for PR because they were fed up with doing no original stories.

Ripping was the subject of a debate on Radio 4’s the Media Show at which freelance journalist Marie Le Conte revealed her experience of working on a certain national newspaper website, which she declined to name.

She said: “Junior reporters were expected to write between seven and eight stories a day and the way it works is an editor sends you a link to a story on another website and asks you to rewrite it.

“You do not have the time to make your own phone calls, you’re not expected to make your own phone calls and occasionally there will be stories where the sourcing looks a bit dodgy and I have been told before to ignore the fact that it looked a bit dodgy and rewrite it and publish it.”

Broughton told the programme that this was not the case at The Independent, which went web-only just over a year ago.

He said: “We are certainly aware of it at other publishers, I would like to be clear that we don’t have that culture at The Independent – yes we do pick up stories…

“We are very careful of the content we put out, we are a trusted news brand and we have to live up to that. We are also very aware of the spin that’s put on stories by other publishers.

“It makes me sad to hear about those things going on so rampantly at other organisation but we encourage our young graduates to get involved in podcasting and video journalism and comment pieces and to pick the phone up and do all those things..

“Occasionally there is a news story where Donald Trump will say something and you have to capture that story as quickly and efficiently and accurately as you can, but if you can bring some context and analysis to that that’s going to be preferable.”

Broughton added: “Nothing grows your audience like an original, distinctive, interesting story that you really want to read.”

Press Gazette understands neither Le Conte, or the Press Gazette source, were talking about The Independent.

The Independent come in for criticism last month for lifting a court story from Wales Online with attribution but without payment. Yesterday, Press Gazette revealed that The Independent had agreed to pay freelance Glyn Bellis a £40 syndicataion fee for the story.



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4 thoughts on “Ripping debate: Reporters at national newspaper website were asked to rewrite seven stories a day without making any phone calls”

  1. This is nothing new. When I was a youngster I did some work experience on the Gateshead Post and spend most of the week reporting stories ripped from the Evening Chronicle. I noticed Dominic Ponsford on the Media Show yesterday wouldn’t name one offender he referred to. Why not? Surely these organisations should be named and shamed.

  2. Perhaps Mr Broughton would like to justify the position to his peers on this website? Seems a bit shabby to be fighting a £40 syndication fee, if Independent has the high moral principles claimed on The Media Show….

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