I’ll confess to inconsistency on this. I’ve always shied away from VNRs on the grounds that they’re too packaged, too controlling and too expensive. Yet I have no problems with PR people pitching stories, providing factual background information and opening doors to the media.
Perhaps this is one debate that doesn’t cross the Atlantic so well. In the UK we have historically demanded higher standards of impartiality of our broadcasters than of our press. After a spectacular Greenpeace stunt, the BBC even updated its editorial guidelines to outlaw the uncredited use of VNRs, though this stance has since been softened.
With the growth of multi-channel TV, this is a world we’re about to enter. Brace yourselves.