As companies and government organizations develop more aggressive tactics to get their products and messages to TV viewers, the Radio & Television News Directors Association is offering new guidelines to help stations navigate the murky waters of video-news releases.
The integrity of radio and TV stations, the group says, “might, at times, come into question when stations air video and audio provided to newsrooms by companies, organizations, or governmental agencies with political or financial interests in publicizing the material “companies, organizations, or governmental agencies with political or financial interests in publicizing the material.”
To avoid such a situation, RTNDA is advising news managers to study the following questions:
- Could the station obtain the video or audio itself or through established editorial outlets, like network affiliate feeds.
- If video/audio comes from a non-editorial source, its source be clearly identified in the newscast with graphics or voice-overs.
- Are any interviews in the video or audio footage up to newsroom standards?
- Before airing the story, the station should consider if it is in line with newsroom standards. Suggested questions include “whether more than one side is included; if there is a financial agenda to releasing the story; and if the viewers/listeners would believe the work done locally by your team?”
- Station producers should question the source of the video if it comes from another news source, like network feeds.
- If material comes from a group without a political or financial agenda (like education groups or non-profits), how does it add insight to newscast?