Doctored Health News

"Health reporters should not rely on prepackaged stories," writes Maria Dorfner, whose company NewsMD Communications produces health-related videos. "Physicians who migrate to television news may lack actual reporting or producing skills." According to Dorfner, this results in their "relying heavily on prepackaged content. They quickly learn all they have to do is retrack the video with their own voice - and, presto, they've got a health story for the day." She calls this tendency "dangerous," since health-related video news releases "are press releases promoting a product or service." However, according to one online listing, NewsMD Communications also makes VNRs.


I founded my company, NewsMD Communications on the very principle that health news is vital and should be reported by health journalists and not public relation personnel. In producing video news releases, I conduct independent research,interview multiple sources as well as analyze and critique information before doing so. Many health reporters contact me for stories because they know I review stories with the same critical eye that they would if they had the time. It's the production -- not the control of content that is paid for. There's a big difference. But, that's no excuse for the health producer or reporter to not get on the phone to do actual research on the story themselves. If they don't then they're simply not doing their jobs. I know I don't allow anyone to control editorial content.