The term was first coined by Nick Davies in his book Flat Earth News. On this site we use it to describe the kind of media reporting that takes press releases at face value, repeating the contents without challenging what it really means.
Churnalism can come about for many reasons – a press junket were the journalists are wined and dined and after a happy day spent touring, feasting and toasting they are handed a press pack, and what’s an exhausted journalist with a deadline to do?
It can also come about with a company “sponsoring” a certain kind of article around which their branding is tastefully placed. The really sneaky ones don’t print a disclaimer of interest in the footer.
The third kind is political, which to be clear this isn’t about political stance, it is however about journalists failing to do their job, where punches are pulled and easy rides are given.