VNR RIP

26 May

I’m reviewing a useful new book called Hitting the Headlines in Europe. My only quibble is that the authors recommend the use of video news releases (VNRs) for visual stories. I had thought that British broadcasters had clamped down on their use since the notorious Greenpeace Brent Spar stunt in 1995.

This is from the BBC’s producers’ guidelines:

BBC programmes must never give the impression that they are endorsing or promoting any product, service or company. References to all products and services should be editorially justifiable and there should be no element of plugging.

If the broadcasters won’t take them, then what use are they? The authors do make the case for having your own copyright video images, which is a fair point, but hardly enough to warrant the expense.

Am I right to assign the VNR to the dustbin of media relations, or do they work outside the UK?

One Response to “VNR RIP”

  1. JGS 01/06/2004 at 9:14 pm #

    We don’t use them in Canada, but they have been used on a widespread basis in the US for many years, esp. on the endless, limitless US local TV newscasts. I’m hearing more of a debate in the US about the use of VNRs following a couple of newspaper articles on “pay-to-play TV news”. Personally, I think they are unethical and lower the reputation of public relations.

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