Thursday, 12 May 2011

Churnalism to sell diet food

The Mirror says:

The Express says:

Meanwhile, the Mail says:

Each very similar article reveals the same results of the same 'survey' in much the same language. The Mail explains:

a survey has revealed that women don't think it is acceptable to wear bikinis on the beach once they reach 47...

the survey also revealed that women believe - perhaps a little unfairly - that miniskirts are a 'no-no' on anyone aged 35 or more and that high heels should not be worn by anyone over 51.

All three also use the same quotes from Caron Leckie, a representative of the organisation that commissioned the poll:

'It's up to individuals to choose when they should stop wearing certain's very much personal choice.'

Right - so the point of this survey is what, exactly?

But then she adds:

'Saying that, everyone wants to look the best they can and now is the prime time to get in shape for summer....the secret to looking good is healthy eating'

And with that, the point of all this becomes clear. The organisation that commissioned the poll is in the diet food business. It explains:

We make dieting easy, we measure, count calories, cook, pack, ship and deliver delicous diet food straight to your door.

No wonder it wants to put 'getting in shape' and 'healthy eating' into people's minds.

So they produce some survey results, send out a press release that's copy-and-pasted into several newspapers - with the Mirror and Express generously putting it on their front pages - and then watch as their business gets lots of free publicity. It's dismal, but all too common.

Oh, and wasn't it Mail editor Paul Dacre who once told parliament his paper was 'not guilty' of churnalism?

1 comment:

  1. You have to admit that it's very neatly marketed. Misogyny (delivered by women so more easily defended to readers), an excuse for pictures of scantily clad women, and a chance to appeal to holiday advertisers as well as other diet food companies. A perfect partnership. Shame these themes are getting old and unsightly.


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