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O'Dwyer's Newsletter - June 13, 2011 - Vol. 44 - No. 23 (download PDF version)

Page 6 Pages 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8
NEWS OF SERVICES _______________


Video news releases, for decades a staple of the PR repertory, are used less and more carefully by newsrooms in the wake of Federal Communications Commission fines and a damaging report in 2006 by a PR watchdog, the FCC said in a lengthy report on the state of the media June 9.

Brian Schwartz, former director of client solutions for Synaptic Digital, told the FCC in an interview last fall that his company, the former Medialink, does not use the term “video news release” much any more but that the content is still used because it is free and TV news resources are limited. Schwartz left Synaptic in November.

Doug Simon, president of New York-based D S Simon Productions, told the FCC that VNRs have become irrelevant in the wake of third-party video and the “near-death experience” of TV News. “VNRs aren’t a relevant communications tool anymore,” he told the FCC via email. “I don’t have anything else to add.”

Simon’s firm produced a VNR spot that the FCC said was misused by a Minneapolis Fox affiliate in 2006 and led to a fine earlier this year.

Former Hearst VP Fred Young told the FCC that proper use of VNRs with identification is acceptable for news rooms. “Today if you clearly identify where [the VNR] came from, I have no problem with it,” he told the FCC. “It is the people who are taking it and passing it off as news that bothers me.”

Kevin Benz, news director for News 8 Austin, said the station uses VNRs from the state that are related to outdoor activities, but they are fully vetted and the source is identified on air and online. “If there is something that we feel is overly promotional, or only promotional, we don’t air it,” he said.

Others are more wary.

Steve Schwaid, director of news and digital content for an Atlanta CBS affiliate, said the station does not use VNRs unless there is a drug recall and it’s the only video available. “But we do not take VNR handouts, period,” he said.

Hearst’s current guidelines call for identifying VNR video used, but its stations do not use VNRs “as a whole,” according to the FCC report. A news director for FOX 13 Salt Lake City said the station burns “courtesy of” into the videotape before it’s even reviewed to prevent VNR footage from being used as B-roll for another story without attribution.

The FCC notes that some argue that enforcement actions against VNRs violate First Amendment rights. FOX has a case pending in defense of its VNR usage arguing that it did not violate sponsorship ID rules because it was not paid to air the VNR content.

The News Corp. property also says the FCC encroached on its “discretion in making editorial choices.”


PEOPLE __________________________



Mary Harris, who ran her own firm and was PR manager for Nieman Marcus, to BankUnited, Miami Lakes, Fla., as senior VP, director of marketing, handling corporate communications, PR, advertising and community relations. She was formerly VP, marketing, for Union Bank.

Derek Kent, U.S. media relations director for Nike, to the Canadian Olympic Committee, Toronto, in the new role of executive director, corporate and brand communications, starting July 18. The 41-year-old bilingual Montreal native was based in New York for Nike and was formerly senior manager, corporate comms., and head of corporate comms. for Nike Canada. Earlier, he was VP at Toronto-based Teritas Comms.


Scott Rasmussen, executive creative director, Carton Donofrio Partners, to Crosby Marketing Communications, Annapolis, Md., as creative director. Earlier, he was CD at Temerlin McClain, Dallas.

Nicole Perez-Krueger, a publicist for Rogers & Cowan, to PMK*BNC, Los Angeles, as a VP in its talent department. She reps Christina Aguilera, Lauren Conrad and Jewel, among others. Stacy Freeman-Weitz, a veteran of UTA’s corporate communications unit, was named VP of corporate communications for PMK*BNC. Also, Joanna Cichocki and Chris Dilorio were promoted to VPs.


Adam Weissman, A/S, SGW Integrated Marketing Communications, to R&J PR, Bridgewater, N.J., as an A/S handling accounts like Samsung Digital Imaging and iLuv Creative Technology. Weissman, 32, was previously with DBA PR.

Chris Rak, previously at Oxford Comms., to Aloysius Butler & Clark, Wilmington, Del., as a digital media analyst. Alexandra Schnabel, who was at Yigal Azrouel, was named an A/E in its PR unit.



Claire Allanche will move to EADS North America, Arlington, Va., as director of special projects, starting in September. She is VP, head of international media relations and head of communications for France at the aerospace and defense contractor’s Cassidian division.

Paul Keable to deputy managing director, MSL Canada,Toronto. Also, Martha McKimm to consumer practice Leader, Aaron Michiels to VP/consumer, and Celine Rouzaud, to A/S.

Dirk Popp to CEO of Ketchum Pleon Germany, based in Dusseldorf. He oversees 350 staffers across seven offices. He’s a 15-year veteran of the Omnicom firm and was named Dresden office head in 1997, adding Dusseldorf in 2009. He became a partner in 2010.

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