Home      Discussion      Topics      Dictionary      Almanac
Signup       Login
Video news release

Video news release

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Video news release'
Start a new discussion about 'Video news release'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
A video news release is a video
Video
Video is the technology of electronically capturing, recording, processing, storing, transmitting, and reconstructing a sequence of still images representing scenes in motion.- History :...

 segment made to look like a news report, but is instead created by a PR
Public relations
Public relations is the actions of a corporation, store, government, individual, etc., in promoting goodwill between itself and the public, the community, employees, customers, etc....

 firm, advertising agency, marketing firm, corporation
Corporation
A corporation is created under the laws of a state as a separate legal entity that has privileges and liabilities that are distinct from those of its members. There are many different forms of corporations, most of which are used to conduct business. Early corporations were established by charter...

, or government agency
Government agency
A government or state agency is a permanent or semi-permanent organization in the machinery of government that is responsible for the oversight and administration of specific functions, such as an intelligence agency. There is a notable variety of agency types...

. They are provided to television newsrooms to shape public opinion
Public opinion
Public opinion is the aggregate of individual attitudes or beliefs held by the adult population. Public opinion can also be defined as the complex collection of opinions of many different people and the sum of all their views....

, promote commercial products and services, publicize
Publicity
Publicity is the deliberate attempt to manage the public's perception of a subject. The subjects of publicity include people , goods and services, organizations of all kinds, and works of art or entertainment.From a marketing perspective, publicity is one component of promotion which is one...

 individuals, or support other interests. News producer
News producer
A news producer is one of the most integral members of any news-production team. The news producer takes all the elements of a newscast and compiles them into a cohesive show....

s may air VNRs, in whole or in part, at their discretion or incorporate them into news reports if they contain information appropriate to a story or of interest to viewers.

Critics of VNRs have called the practice deceptive or a propaganda
Propaganda
Propaganda is a form of communication that is aimed at influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position so as to benefit oneself or one's group....

 technique, particularly when the segment is not identified to the viewers as a VNR. Firms producing VNRs disagree and equate their use to a press release in video form and point to the fact that editorial judgement in the worthiness, part or whole, of a VNR's content is still left in the hands of Journalists, Program Producers or the like. The United States Federal Communications Commission
Federal Communications Commission
The Federal Communications Commission is an independent agency of the United States government, created, Congressional statute , and with the majority of its commissioners appointed by the current President. The FCC works towards six goals in the areas of broadband, competition, the spectrum, the...

 is currently investigating the practice of VNRs.

Details


Most VNRs feature a professional news reporter, such as Karen Ryan
Karen Ryan
Karen Ryan is a public relations specialist, and former television news reporter, who became famous for producing controversial video news release created to promote the Medicare and education systems for the United States government...

, someone with on-air news experience, or an actor
Actor
An actor is a person who acts in a dramatic production and who works in film, television, theatre, or radio in that capacity...

. VNRs also often include interviews with experts (who often have legitimate, if biased, expertise); so called "man on the street" interviews with "average" people; and pictures of celebrities, products, service demonstrations, corporate logos
Logos
' is an important term in philosophy, psychology, rhetoric and religion. Originally a word meaning "a ground", "a plea", "an opinion", "an expectation", "word," "speech," "account," "reason," it became a technical term in philosophy, beginning with Heraclitus ' is an important term in...

 and the like, where applicable. In some cases the "man on the street" segments feature persons randomly selected and interviewed spontaneously, and in other cases actors are hired and directed by VNR producers to deliver carefully scripted comments. In addition, regardless of whether real people or professional actors appear, VNR producers
Film producer
A film producer oversees and delivers a film project to all relevant parties while preserving the integrity, voice and vision of the film. They will also often take on some financial risk by using their own money, especially during the pre-production period, before a film is fully financed.The...

 and directors
Film director
A film director is a person who directs the actors and film crew in filmmaking. They control a film's artistic and dramatic nathan roach, while guiding the technical crew and actors.-Responsibilities:...

, just like journalist
Journalist
A journalist collects and distributes news and other information. A journalist's work is referred to as journalism.A reporter is a type of journalist who researchs, writes, and reports on information to be presented in mass media, including print media , electronic media , and digital media A...

s, have complete discretion to excerpt and edit these "interviews" into 'sound bites' that help make the point they are trying to make.

Media broadcasting of VNRs


Commercial television stations and other media outlets often broadcast only portions of a VNR. Sometimes they use the script provided by the VNR producer but frequently they write their own script.

In a report released on April 6, 2006, the Center for Media and Democracy
Center for Media and Democracy
The Center for Media and Democracy is a non-profit investigative reporting group. The CMD gives analysis and opinion on policies such as the economy, environment and national security...

 listed detailed information on 77 television stations that it said had broadcast VNRs in the prior 10 months, and which VNRs had been broadcast. Most of these VNR uses were of partial feeds. However, CMD said that in each case the television station actively disguised the VNR content to make it appear to be its own reporting, and that more than one-third of the time, stations aired the pre-packaged VNR in its entirety.

Business production of VNRs in the U.S.


VNRs have been used extensively in business since at least the early 1980s. Corporations such as Microsoft
Microsoft
Microsoft Corporation is an American public multinational corporation headquartered in Redmond, Washington, USA that develops, manufactures, licenses, and supports a wide range of products and services predominantly related to computing through its various product divisions...

 and Philip Morris
Altria Group
Altria Group, Inc. is based in Henrico County, Virginia, and is the parent company of Philip Morris USA, John Middleton, Inc., U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Company, Inc., Philip Morris Capital Corporation, and Chateau Ste. Michelle Wine Estates. It is one of the world's largest tobacco corporations...

, and the pharmaceutical industry generally, have all made use of the technique.

According to the trade-group Public Relations Society of America
Public Relations Society of America
The ' , based in New York City, is the world's largest organization for public relations professionals. The organization has more than 21,000 members, including professionals from public relations agencies, corporations, government, health care institutions, military, professional services firms,...

, a VNR is the video equivalent of a press release. and presents a client's case in an attractive, informative format. The VNR placement agency seeks to garner media attention for the client's products, services, brands or other marketing goals. The VNR affords local TV stations free broadcast quality materials for use in reports offered by such stations.

Public Relations agencies have their video tapes encoded allowing very accurate tracking of where such video is used. (see: SIGMA (verification service)
SIGMA (verification service)
SIGMA is an electronic verification service offered by Nielsen Media Research and is generally used for commercials, infomercials, video news releases, public service announcements, satellite media tours, and electronic press kits...

 for additional information).

One critic of the VNR technique, John Stauber, an observer and critic of the Public Relations business says, "These fellows are whistling past the graveyard, assuring themselves that this all is no big deal. There was no hint of shame, certainly no apologizing, just apparent disdain for having their business practices dissected on the front page of the New York Times. They are proud of their work."
  • The New York Times reported in March 2005 that "In all, at least 20 federal agencies, including the Defense Department
    United States Department of Defense
    The United States Department of Defense is the U.S...

     and the Census Bureau
    United States Census Bureau
    The United States Census Bureau is the government agency that is responsible for the United States Census. It also gathers other national demographic and economic data...

    , have made and distributed hundreds of television news segments in the past four years, records and interviews show. Many were subsequently broadcast on local stations across the country without any acknowledgement of the government's role in their production."

  • A VNR financed by the Department of Health and Human Services was aired on a number of local news programs around the country, as conventional journalism when in fact, it was produced to promote the new Medicare
    Medicare (United States)
    Medicare is a social insurance program administered by the United States government, providing health insurance coverage to people who are aged 65 and over; to those who are under 65 and are permanently physically disabled or who have a congenital physical disability; or to those who meet other...

     plan. The creation of the Karen Ryan
    Karen Ryan
    Karen Ryan is a public relations specialist, and former television news reporter, who became famous for producing controversial video news release created to promote the Medicare and education systems for the United States government...

     video, named so because of the on-screen "reporter," was ruled in May 2004 to be in violation of federal law by the General Accounting Office (GAO), the investigative arm of the U.S. government.

  • In September, 2005, the GAO concluded that the Department of Education
    United States Department of Education
    The United States Department of Education, also referred to as ED or the ED for Education Department, is a Cabinet-level department of the United States government...

     had violated the law when it distributed a similar video news release using Karen Ryan as a "reporter" touting the No Child Left Behind program of the Bush administration. In May 2003 the Department had hired the Ketchum
    Ketchum Inc.
    Ketchum is a global public relations firm, offering marketing, branding and corporate communications services. Founded in 1923 by George Ketchum as a Pittsburgh-based advertising company which later evolved to include a public relations practice, the firm currently has 23 offices and 46 affiliates...

     public relations firm; the contract specified, among other things, that the firm create "audio products, videos and some print materials that present clear, coherent, targeted messages regarding ED’s programs and that relate to the Department’s legislative initiatives".

  • A website of the Census Bureau
    United States Census Bureau
    The United States Census Bureau is the government agency that is responsible for the United States Census. It also gathers other national demographic and economic data...

     informs visitors: "U.S. Census Bureau Video News Feeds are available for creation of state-specific news reports. Targeted comments are provided by Census Bureau Redistricting Data Office Chief, Marshall Turner. Companion notification material includes references to websites for the newly released information. Please contact...Homefront Communications for hardcopies on Betacam SP and faxed/email notification copy."

VNRs and U.S. law

  • In January 1948, the U.S. Information and Educational Exchange Act of 1948, also known as the Smith-Mundt Act
    Smith-Mundt Act
    The US Information and Educational Exchange Act of 1948 , popularly referred to as the Smith–Mundt Act, specifies the terms in which the United States government can engage global audiences, also known as public diplomacy....

    , was passed by Congress and signed into law by U.S. President Harry Truman, placing international overseas information activities, including VOA, under an Office of International Information at the Department of State.

  • In February 2005, the "Stop Government Propaganda Act" was introduced in the U.S. Senate. It was referred to the Judiciary Committee and no further action occurred.

  • In April 2005, the Federal Communications Commission
    Federal Communications Commission
    The Federal Communications Commission is an independent agency of the United States government, created, Congressional statute , and with the majority of its commissioners appointed by the current President. The FCC works towards six goals in the areas of broadband, competition, the spectrum, the...

     warned television stations that they could be fined for airing news stories provided by the government and by companies without disclosing who made them.

  • In May 2006, FCC chairman Kevin Martin
    Kevin Martin (FCC)
    Kevin Jeffrey Martin was the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. He was nominated to be a commissioner by President George W. Bush on April 30, 2001, and was confirmed on May 25, 2001. On March 16, 2005, President Bush designated him as FCC chairman, to replace Michael K. Powell...

     ordered a review of airing of VNRs by television stations, following the April 2006 report by the Center for Media and Democracy
    Center for Media and Democracy
    The Center for Media and Democracy is a non-profit investigative reporting group. The CMD gives analysis and opinion on policies such as the economy, environment and national security...

    .

  • In August 2006, the FCC mailed letters to the owners of 77 television stations, asking for information regarding agreements between the stations and the creators of VNRs. The letters also asked whether there was any "consideration" given to the stations in return for airing the material. Stations were given 60 days to respond.

See also

  • Fake news
  • Infoganda
    Infoganda
    Infoganda is a term describing dramatic or literary work that contains both elements of an infomercial and propaganda. The term has been sporadically used in both the popular media and in blogs since 2001.-Definition:...

  • Journalism ethics and standards
    Journalism ethics and standards
    Journalism ethics and standards comprise principles of ethics and of good practice as applicable to the specific challenges faced by journalists. Historically and currently, this subset of media ethics is widely known to journalists as their professional "code of ethics" or the "canons of journalism"...

  • News propaganda
    News propaganda
    News propaganda is a type of propaganda covertly packaged as credible news, but without sufficient transparency concerning the news item's source and the motivation behind its release...


External links


Video and audio links