Valentine's Day is approaching, and the public relations industry is readying fake news promotions for jewelry, candy, flowers and other traditional gifts.
Video News Releases
Media activists, scholars, reporters and policy makers will converge in Memphis, TN, this weekend, for the National Conference for Media Reform, organized by Free Press. If you'll be there, stop by the Center for Media and Democracy information table or come to one of the presentations by CMD staffers.
Video news releases (VNRs) aren't just for television anymore. "Hurt by public criticism of VNRs, possible Federal Communications Commission oversight, and a shrunken news hole," broadcast PR firms "are looking for ways to survive -- and making the Internet a bigger part of their offerings could be the answer," writes PR Week.
"Congress and the courts have stressed that as fiduciaries given the free use of the public airwaves, broadcasters are obligated to operate in the public interest. Flagrantly deceptive practices are inconsistent with that obligation and can find no sanction in the First Amendment."
Those words were written by Henry Geller, a former general counsel of the Federal Communications Commission and assistant secretary of commerce for communications and information. Today, the StarTribune in Minneapolis/St. Paul published an op/ed that Geller and I co-authored. The piece (copied below) describes why full disclosure of video news releases (VNRs) is both vital to the public interest and supported by legal precedent.