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The five most “prolific” journalists in Australia work for the Daily Mail, backing regular industry complaints that the local branch of the largest news website in the world is profiting off churning others’ journalism.

In a list compiled by media monitoring company Streem, the journalists with the most bylines on Australian news websites was monitored for about a year’s worth of content. And the results (at least in part) back up some of the regular criticisms by News Corp and others about Daily Mail Australia’s work practices of “churning” journalism and investigations by other news outlets. Of the 25 names at the top of the list, 10 were from the Daily Mail.

The Australian branch of the UK-based Daily Mail follows its parent site’s strategy of producing most of its content by “rewriting” news stories written by other outlets (which are often behind paywalls elsewhere). They’re often called out on Twitter for “stealing” stories, but getting that as far as a copyright case in Australia would be complicated, as Crikey has previously reported.

But the most prolific journalists on the list also reveal something about the sheer amount of work expected of journalists to populate the news websites they work for. Caleb Taylor, at the top of the list, had his name on an average of 4.5 stories a day, mostly in the “TV and showbiz” category (otherwise known as the “sidebar of shame” that runs down the right-hand side of the website). Some were rewrites of other pieces of journalism, but most were write-arounds of paparazzi pictures and social media posts by Married at First Sight stars and “celebrities” of a similar calibre.

This sort of online story is the bread and butter of the Daily Mail Australia homepage, but prevalent too across news sites including the former Fairfax newspapers, News Corp titles and even, on occasion, the ABC. They might refer to controversial (or mundane) social media posts, comments made on breakfast radio or television, paparazzi pictures, or plot points in reality television programming from the previous day.

Not everyone on Streem’s most prolific list is just churning content, though.

The list included the Brisbane Times’ breaking news reporter Toby Crockford, who files news updates and short stories including traffic updates. Crockford was sixth behind the top five Daily Mail reporters. Nine sports reporters were in the top 25 names, alongside a handful of business or finance reporters. Streem media and partnerships lead Conal Hanna wrote for Mumbrella that this was probably down to these roles being focussed on releases of datasets, whether they were match reports or financial data releases.

But Hanna said the prominence of Daily Mail Australia journalists demonstrated the expectations placed on staff there.

“Since its launch in Australia in 2014, the Mail has acquired a reputation for the rewriting of other outlets’ stories … the Daily Mail practise this on an industrial scale, often ‘borrowing’ far more than most people would consider reasonable,” Hanna wrote. “Ultimately it’s hard not to feel sorry for their young staff who are seeking jobs in a shrinking industry but whose learning is focused overwhelmingly on one part of the job — writing under pressure.”

The list of 25 most published metro journalists:

  1. Caleb Taylor, Daily Mail, TV & Showbiz, 1083
  2. Kristy Johnson, Daily Mail, TV & Showbiz, 1006
  3. Alisha Buaya, Daily Mail, TV & Showbiz, 982
  4. Marta Jary, Daily Mail, TV & Showbiz, 941
  5. Candice Jackson, Daily Mail, TV & Showbiz, 920
  6. Toby Crockford, Brisbane Times, Breaking News, 894
  7. Alexis Carey, news.com.au, Finance, 847
  8. Matilda Rudd, Daily Mail, 812
  9. Samantha Bailey, The Australian, Business, 810
  10. Caden Helmers, Canberra Times, Sport, 805
  11. Andrew Court, Daily Mail, TV & Showbiz, 783
  12. Brent Read, The Australian, Sport, 779
  13. Ben Wilmot, The Australian Property, 747
  14. Eamonn Tiernan, Canberra Times, Sport, 738
  15. Adam Mccleery, Daily Mail, 709
  16. Chris Roots, SMH, Sport, 708
  17. Peter Ryan, The Age, Sport, 704
  18. David Polkinghorne, Canberra Times, Sport, 697
  19. Michael Lynch, The Age, Sport, 676
  20. Christian Nicolussi, SMH, Sport, 671
  21. Michael Roddan, The Australian, Business, 670, 2.79
  22. Roy Ward, The Age, Sport, 660, 2.75
  23. Claudia Poposki, Daily Mail, 648, 2.7
  24. Ben Graham, news.com.au, 643, 2.68
  25. Chloe-lee Longhetti, Daily Mail, 643, 2.68

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

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