ATLANTA: Trying to get a client's healthcare video news release placed on local television stations? Make sure it is timely, includes high-quality footage and has a local angle.
A survey of 502 media outlets across the country revealed these and other conclusions about the use of VNRs within the healthcare sector. The study was conducted by Duffey Communications' InfoSearch research division.
Nearly 73% of respondents said they were interested in receiving a weekly, non-biased public health VNR. Releases that appear to be thinly veiled commercials for a particular product or healthcare provider, however, will not be received favorably by TV reporters.
'Journalists really want the opportunity to localize (health VNRs),' said Eric Tanenblatt, SVP and director of Duffey's healthcare practice.
That means PR pros who send out such releases should, whenever possible, provide local information and resources.
Roughly 71% of the stations surveyed provide daily coverage of health issues, while 75% of the stations have a regular science or health segment in their newscasts. 'The demand is definitely there,' said Tanenblatt, adding that healthcare news now ranks behind only weather as the most-requested coverage topic for local newscasts.
According to the study, other characteristics journalists favor in healthcare VNRs include the use of reliable sources, strong sound bites, and interesting footage. 'Quality was really an issue,' he said. 'The news media is looking for a quality product.' Sources with degrees in the specialized area discussed by the VNR and third-party endorsers are usually seen as the most reliable, he added.
TV reporters were not shy about discussing what they don't like about healthcare VNRs. Reasons why a VNR might not be used include perceived biases, the absence of local angles, lack of time in a newscast, medical terminology not phrased in laymen's terms, or a lack of detail.
The absence of timeliness also was cited as a major reason why a VNR might be thrown by the wayside. When asked how healthcare VNRs can be made more timely, Tanenblatt suggested addressing seasonal health concerns or tying the release into current healthcare policy issues.