It's not hard to spot the biggest hacks in any newsroom. The biggest hacks are the reporters who rewrite press releases. Emphasis on the word "rewrite," since the laziest, most unimaginative journalist can typically muster the energy and self-respect to tweak a predicate or two. Even hacks don't want to look like they're entirely beholden to a publicist.
Remember Lynn Hoppes, the ESPN entertainment writer and senior Jonas Brothers correspondent who has mastered the art of the Wikipedia copy-and-paste? In its statement on Hoppes's peculiar tactics last week, ESPN said his crime amounted to "journalistic laziness" and excused him by noting—truth-strainingly—that Hoppes used "multiple legitimate news sources" to gather "background information" to buttress those ripped-from-Wikipedia statements of fact. OK, fine. We'll see your "journalistic laziness" and raise you one "flagrant hackery." It turns out Hoppes was also copy-and-pasting directly from press releases.