Still Not the News: Video News Releases

Submitted by Daniel Price on

From April to October 2006, the Center for Media and Democracy documented television newsrooms' use of selected video news releases (VNRs). While the number of VNRs tracked equals roughly two percent of the total offered to newsrooms over the six-month period, this report provides a detailed and representative survey of how VNRs are incorporated into newscasts.

Click on the links below to read more about each VNR, including the client(s) that funded it, the TV stations that aired it, and the techniques that each station used to incorporate the VNR into its newscast. You can also compare Quicktime videos of the original VNRs with selected newscasts that incorporated them.

Oil Lobbyist's "News" Denies Inconvenient Truths
TCS Daily
WTOK-11's hot air misleads viewers
Huey Lewis and the Fake News
Oticon A/S
Four stations remove the built-in disclosures on a hearing aid VNR
Feed a Cold, Starve the Truth
Matrixx Initiatives
Two stations sneeze at built-in VNR notifications
Mike Morris Gets His Big Break
General Mills
Two stations dress publicist up as reporter for Halloween
Doctored News
Siemens Oncology
A publicist delivers a "health report" at two newscasts
Would You Buy a Car From This Man?
General Motors
KMSP-9 helps rev up convertible sales
"Life Insurance Is Like Money in the Bank!"
An insurance company is in good hands with a VNR-friendly news team
A Campaign for Hearts and Kidneys
American College of Physicians
KSFY-13 passively discloses, NY1 shows another side of medical VNR
A Scanner Fakely
Siemens Oncology
Two stations praise brand-name medical technology
Fake Newshounds with Worms
Companion Animal Parasite Council
Once again, WCTI-12 hosts hidden interests
Yes, But Can It Protect You From Fake News?
Trend Micro
A Comcast station goes all out to push laptop security software
Puppy Dog Tales
Old Mother Hubbard
A report on natural pet food has promotional byproducts
Beware of Flood-Damaged Car Stories
Three stations fix up a promotional VNR and sell it as journalism
Whose Byline Is It Anyway?
One station is crystal clear on a VNR's source, the other one isn't
WJAR-10 Gives Viewers a Shot in the Dark
A station uses a flu vaccine VNR, but omits the disclosure and risk info
Undisclosed Fake News Includes Hidden Interests
American College of Physicians
Three stations air a medical VNR, no questions asked
Driven Into the Arms of Others
KHSL-12 obliges an insurance company while KGO-7 fronts for three
Kansas City Newsroom on Auto Play
General Motors
WDAF-4's safety segment is really a car ad
I Want a New (Birth Control) Drug
Barr Pharmaceuticals
KYW-3 helps push brand-name pills
News Flash: Art Fennell Loves Pancakes
General Mills
For Bisquick's birthday, CN8 gives away its viewers
KLFY-10 Carries Water for Allstate
A station pushes flood insurance over journalism
Multiple Soundbites for Novartis
A VNR touts a drug before FDA approval
WAKA-8 Takes the Back Seat
General Motors
A station forgets to credit GM for a story on teen drivers
The Morning-After Shills
Barr Phamaceuticals
Stations air a pharmaceutical company VNR without attribution
This Just In: GM Loves Kids
General Motors
A KLFY-10 child safety segment is really a GM ad
Signaling Support for Siemens
Siemens AS
Warning: Pilots and XETV-6 viewers may see red
GM Gets a Free Ride in New York
General Motors
WPIX-11 adds soundtrack, but no disclosure, to fake news
More Than Meets the Eye
Advanced Medical Optics
WYTV-33 promotes lens replacements
Lost in Translation
A Spanish-language newscast adapts a VNR but forgets the disclosure
What's Sex Got To Do with It?
Nelson's Rescue Sleep
Two newsrooms sleep as a "hard sell" VNR airs
Nice Shirt, But Where's the Label?
WTIC-61 tries a corporate VNR on for size
Bowls and Balls
General Mills
Football's Doug Flutie is a Wheaties flunky
E! Gets an "F" For Non-Disclosure
Victoria's Secret
Entertainment network pushes "very sexy" makeup