PRSA Talks the Ethical Talk

The Public Relations Society of America has issued a statement saying that video news releases (VNRs) should no longer use signoffs like the one that got Karen Ryan into hot water: "In Washington, I'm Karen Ryan reporting." According to the PRSA statement, "This has caused some confusion among people who question whether someone who is not actually a reporter should be identified in a manner that could suggest that he or she is a journalist. While this is often done when VNRs are produced, we agree that this can be considered confusing and/or misleading." PRSA also says that "Television stations airing VNRs should identify sources of the material." The Campaign Desk web site, which has done some of the best reporting on the Karen Ryan affair, says it is "too early to tell if these changes will actually reduce the number of VNRs that end up running as news - or even eliminate the practice of using PR reps to impersonate reporters. But it seems safe to say that hereafter, PR companies, government agencies, and corporations will proceed with a little more caution in using this particular tactic."