VNRs Down Under

Companies, government bodies and not-for-profit organizations have been using video news releases (VNRs) in Australia since 1995, reports Sally Jackson. The practice began when former journalist turned public relations executive Jonathan Raymond started an Australian affiliate of Medialink, the U.S.-based VNR producer. Jackson noted that the Australian media's practice of using VNRs "receives little attention" and "TV news bosses are keen to downplay their use of VNRs." Raymond scoffs at these denials. "Our material is used in 99 per cent of cases," he told Jackson. Recent examples of VNR use in Australia include a network broadcast that relied on footage supplied by drugmaker Eli Lilly to promote its erectile dysfunction drug, an item extolling meat pies, and a plug for an anti-obesity drug.