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While Covering a Story About Conan O’Brien, 18 Local Stations Use Identical Wording

Late-night talk show host Conan O’Brien had a little fun at the expense of the local news business on his show last night.

O’Brien is preparing to officiate a same-sex wedding on his TBS show for the show’s costume designer and his partner. When news of the event leaked out, O’Brien said, it got attention from stations nationwide.

The clip O’Brien showed (watch above, beginning at 1:20) features 18 local news anchors reporting on the wedding — using the exact same phrase. So how did this happen?

The likely explanation is that wire copy associated with the original source contained the phrase, which then made its way into scripts and onto prompters with little editing. Local news is increasingly under fire for content sharing, which the RTDNA recently discovered that a whopping 78% of stations do.

What do you think about content sharing? Let us know in the comments.

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