Video News Releases

Television Stations Respond... And It's Worse Than You Think

One news director says, "I have been instructed by corporate not to talk to you."

Hours after the Center for Media and Democracy released our study on television stations' widespread and undisclosed use of corporate video news releases (VNRs), a major organization of broadcast news executives issued its response.

"The Radio-Television News Directors Association strongly urges station management to review and strengthen their policies requiring complete disclosure of any outside material used in news programming," read the statement. RTNDA went on to caution that decisions involving "when and how to identify sources ... must remain far removed from government involvement or supervision."

Fake TV NewsUnfortunately, RTNDA's statement conflates "sources" with broadcast material funded by and produced for outside parties. It also conveniently ignores that the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, under its authority to regulate broadcasters' use of the public airwaves, already has disclosure requirements (PDF) on the books. But RTNDA's stance does point to an important, underlying issue: how to ensure both news audiences' right to know "who seeks to influence them," and the editorial freedom of newsrooms.

Join the Fight to Stop Fake News!

Do you like being propagandized? If not, join the fight to stop fake news! As the Center for Media and Democracy reported last week, TV stations' use of corporate-funded video news releases is widespread and undisclosed. Our colleagues at Free Press have made it easy for you to contact the U.S. Federal Communications Commission on this important issue.


B-Roll Bypasses Policies Against Fake News

Former producer of BBC World's World Business Report and a former editor at CNBC, Jules Heynes, told PR Week UK that corporate supplied video footage - referred to as B-roll - is commonly broadcast even when stations have a policy against its use.


Local TV News May Be Hazardous to Your Health

After studying health segments on 122 local television stations, researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and University of Michigan concluded, "Few newscasts provide useful information, and some stories with factually incorrect information and potentially dangerous advice were aired." Yet, "Americans rate television as their primary source of health information." The researchers noted "pervasive health stories" that aired in "more than 10 media markets" sometimes included "identical video," suggesting the use of



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