A Defense of Even Faker News

Reed Pence of MediaTracks Communications wants his fellow public relations professionals to know there's nothing wrong with "guaranteed placement" -- paying to have radio or television stations air fake news. "Many PR pros face the challenge of acquiring coverage for a product that isn't newsworthy," he writes in a letter to PR Week. "Some believe that [guaranteed placement] is just advertising," but it's not, he claims. "For example, when presented as part of a nationally syndicated radio news program, an audio news release might only have news content surrounding it. Selecting this vehicle eliminates the 'situated among advertisements' concern that listeners might tune the message out." Though Pence suggests using guaranteed placement for "stories with less news value," he also claims that stations air the guaranteed spots "not because they are paid to do so, but because the programs provide a service to listeners."