Stations warned about using VNRs

NEW YORK: TV stations have been warned against the use of uncorroborated or unidentified video news releases (VNRs) in a new ethics guide, penned by Av Westin, a former executive producer of the ABC Evening News.

NEW YORK: TV stations have been warned against the use of uncorroborated or unidentified video news releases (VNRs) in a new ethics guide, penned by Av Westin, a former executive producer of the ABC Evening News.

NEW YORK: TV stations have been warned against the use of uncorroborated or unidentified video news releases (VNRs) in a new ethics guide, penned by Av Westin, a former executive producer of the ABC Evening News.

Westin conducted interviews with news directors across the country about the use of VNRs - or 'pseudo-news' - on news broadcasts.

One unidentified interviewee described VNRs as: 'The next ethical battleground that we're all going to face as news directors. I think in some ways we've already lost that battle.'

Westin documents the increasing number of VNRs produced by local hospitals, which often make claims about medical breakthroughs that are difficult to substantiate. He discovered that many stations found that hard to deal with these. 'A lot of stations do not have doctors on staff. They have to refer to an outside source, perhaps their own doctor, to double-check the facts,' he said.

The ethics guide also suggests that the source of VNR footage should be described.

John Miller, director of news for station group owner BELO in Texas said that such identification 'is general best practice policy when there is video footage that may not be your own.' When asked if that always happens, Miller responded: 'We try.'

The guide is funded by the VA-based Freedom Forum.



Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register
Already registered?
Sign in