Paraphrase, regurgitate, cut, and paste

Failure of the fourth estate. Newspapers and websites all over the country have reported on the flooding and fire at Fort Calhoun, but most articles simply paraphrase and regurgitate information from the NRC and OPPD press releases, which aggregators and bloggers then, in turn, simply cut and paste. Even the Omaha World-Herald didn't send local reporters to cover the story; instead, the newspaper published an article on the recent fire written by Associated Press reporters — based in Atlanta and Washington.

Dawn Stover's piece Rising Water, Falling Journalism for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists pokes a sharp stick in the eye of bloggers and journalists alike in failing to do original work when reporting on the risks to the public from flooding at the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Power Plant. 

See also: World Net Daily punking USA Today on a story about Delta Airlines and travel to Saudi Arabia, described neatly by Adam Hochberg for Poynter.

Why oh why can't we have a better press corps, asks Brad DeLong and Cosma Shalizi. The answer may be too painfully clear, if you stop to think too hard about it – in the face of content mills like Examiner and Patch, who on earth could afford to write something that took a long time to write for only a few page views?

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