Whenever I come across a particularly puffy story, I might say it reads like a press release. But a reader sent in a story that really was just a slightly modified press release. Check it out. Here's how Michigan's Midland Daily News began a story about an upcoming local event:
This week, organizers around the world are joining together to expand awareness of women leaders in the early church on the feast day of St. Mary of Magdala, the first witness the Resurrection. The project is spearheaded by FutureChurch, a Catholic church renewal organization,. [sic]
And here is the press release for the event:
In mid-July, organizers around the world are joining together to expand awareness of women leaders in the early Church on the feast day of St. Mary of Magdala, the first witness the Resurrection. The project is spearheaded by FutureChurch, a Catholic church renewal organization,. [sic]
As if it's not bad enough to cut and paste from a press release, including the typos is not something to be proud of.
Other exact duplications from the press release include these quotes:
"This is the largest number of international celebrations we have ever had," said Sr. Christine Schenk, FutureChurch executive director. "It is so heartening to see the growth in worldwide awareness of St. Mary of Magdala's leadership and now all the other women leaders from the first to ninth centuries."
"We are especially happy to have a prayer service in which women can preside and preach," said FutureChurch Board member, Mary Louise Hartman. "Too often, women's leadership is invisible in the Catholic context. We want to change that."
This is every press release writer's dream -- journalists who just use whatever you provide them with. It happens on all beats, not just religion, but it is still not fun to see, in a sad, tragic sort of way.
One thing that wasn't mentioned in either the press release or the story was that the group advocates female and married priests.