Media Mouse has posted Jeff Smith’s latest column for Recoil magazine in the commentary section of the site. In it, Smith dicusses video news releases (VNRs) and their use by media corporations:
So I’m watching the news — go figure — and this story comes on about how former President Clinton is helping to reduce childhood obesity. He’s standing in a school in Harlem and is joined by the CEO of Pepsico to announce that certain companies are going to put limits on what products they provide for school vending machines. The story says that “Kraft, Mars, Dannon, Campbells and Pepsi have all signed on.” While the reporter says this there are tight camera shots of products bearing of these brand names. Question: did the reporter ask the camera person to video tape products laid out nicely? These products weren’t at the press conference with Bill Clinton and his corporate buddies, so when did they get that footage? Maybe they did a little table display in the staff break room back at the TV station…hmmmm. What happened most likely, was the story included part of what the industry calls a VNR…a video news release.