I saw a couple of articles today about the use of Video News Releases (VNR) by local media. A VNR is basically a short video usually formatted to look like a news item you’d see on your local TV station. They attempt to look journalistic, but of course they’re produced for the sole purpose of promoting a product or service.
The first article was in the Wall Street Journal. It quotes some bits of a new report on the use of VNRs:
Although television stations and big broadcasters all say they have rules in place that prohibit using VNRs without disclosure, it appears that many outlets only pay lip service to the rules.
The latest damning news comes from another watchdog, the Center for Media and Democracy, a Wisconsin-based organization that tracked 36 video news releases for 10 months and found 77 television stations that used some or all of the footage without identifying the source. The stations cited range from small broadcasters to those owned by big media companies, including Viacom Inc., News Corp. and outlets owned by newspaper publishers New York Times Co. and Tribune Co.
So that brings us round to the local angle on this … did you see that segment on KTLA about phishing and how to protect yourself … well that was a VNR.
If your’e keeping track, here are some other recent posts on similar matters: LA Times blogger makes comments under pseudonyms, LA Observed was on the VNR watch a few weeks ago and of course KTLA’s most recent ethical lapse where morning anchors were taking freebies.
(photo credit – Dawn M Turner at morguefile)