The Latest News on Fake News

Doug Simon

"It has become harder for everyone, not just VNR producers, to get their story on television," writes broadcast PR executive Doug Simon, about video news releases or "fake TV news." According to Simon, "The average length of a television news story continues to shrink." In 2005, "One-third of PR video segments that aired were longer than 45 seconds," while in 2007, "80 percent of the placements are less than 20 seconds in length." Simon recommends a "VNR 2.0" approach, with more emphasis on "pre-distribution," to "assess interest in the story and create a media relations plan that matches the needs of broadcasters." Additional "targeted distribution outlets" for VNRs include "health clubs, airlines, cell phones, television station websites and ... online distribution channels." On O'Dwyer's PR Daily, PR executive Chris Rosica bemoans what he says is an increasing trend towards television "pay for play." He warns, "If this practice is accepted and veiled as it currently is, it won't be long before those with legislative or political agendas can secure news coverage by paying for it, just as with the (Armstrong) Williams case."