Rappler: ‘Churnalism’ = Plagiarism ?

As we know, Rappler’s expansion is through social media. They are not like GMA News Online, Inquirer.net or even Interaksyon.com which have their own platforms like television, radio and newspaper before slowly taking the news into the online world.

Rappler became one of the most credible online news sites that many of us visited to when we need online information. With its every minute or so sharing of news and information, Rappler easily gets the visibility factor in almost all of the social networking sites where Filipinos flocked. There is a one-share one-click formula behind these shared posts of Rappler or any online news sites.


However, Rappler’s credibility for being an online news site was threatened by the simplest and the most important thing a journalist should not do and think of everyday: plagiarism.

When a story about Rappler’s plagiarism entitled, Olympus has fallen? Rappler admits plagiarism broke out, I honestly didn’t feel any symptoms of shock or surprise. It is because I knew it for the last time when I saw a “churnalistic” article on their site.

Churnalism is an act of churning or cutting press releases or news from different sources of information to create another new bathed and clothed article. Churnalism causes the article to be unconvincing and not-well-researched, of course.

Then, I consider that the act of churnalism is equal to the act of plagiarism at some point, to some extent.

Churnalism and Plagiarism

Why did Lean Santos, the Rappler writer who (allegedly) copied an article to Interaksyon.com authored by certain Ben de Vera, plagiarize the article might be because of his ‘advance’ skills that he saw from some of his colleagues in churning out information.

Churnalism probably brings Rappler to the darkest side beyond credibility. In churnalism, you just have to copy and cut and paste information and then put some perfume to it to make it a new and one of a kind article.

Santos didn’t ‘hesitate’ to copy De Vera’s article. After all, De Vera is with Interaksyon.com which, as described by the site that exposed the plagiarism issue, is a “struggling news website.” What would be the single mistake of Santos was not attributing some of the words in the article. Because proper attribution counts.


The action of firing up Santos from Rappler may not be enough. Although, greasing Rappler’s name speaks for itself. One writer alone brought Rappler to being un/’in’-credible.

from spinbuster.com

As a journalist, one must live by the ethics. Plagiarism is not all about credibility, it is also about ethics. Being in the online world now, this should not be the reason to take out information out of nowhere.

According to Maritess Vitug, one of the magnates of Rappler, “some say that the Internet encourages “churnalism”—because the news websites are under pressure to churn out news, like an assembly line of sausages. They miss out on the news gathering…There is no time to really gather the news, to talk to people and reflect on the story.” How ironic was it for a online news site that practice churnalism, right?

Please explain

Dear Rappler magnates, please do explain.

After all of these things, did it (Rappler’s plagiarism issue) change your perception about Rappler? Will you still visit Rappler for the same purpose of knowing information?

If yes, just think about those people who have the first idea that never get any appreciation. This is the time for us to be an active online reader.

2 Responses to “Rappler: ‘Churnalism’ = Plagiarism ?”
  1. i strongly believe the rappler stands on what they report. I am a fan of their ceo. maria ressa.

    • PJ Rock A. Palma says:

      Hi, Valerie!

      Thank you for your comment. I really respect what you did say.

      This article was a product of my observation of what Rappler was acting before. If you know where the issue discussed here came from, you would know that one of the Rappler writers committed plagiarism because of the fact that the writer was fired.

      Valerie, we must also accept that we are in a world with advanced technology and everything becomes instant. Media organizations, be it Rappler or GMA News or Interaksyon, need to publish stories faster because it’s all about competition driven by business and profit.

      This is a long comment, obviously.

      Anyway, let us all be an active online user.

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