Fake News? A Survey on Video News Releases and their Implications on Journalistic Ethics, Independence and Credibility of Broadcast News

© Media Watch 6 (1) 16-27, 2015
ISSN 0976-0911 e-ISSN 2249-8818
DOI: 10.15655/mw/2015/v6i1/55376

Fake News? A Survey on Video News Releases and their Implications on Journalistic Ethics, Independence and Credibility of Broadcast News

University of Alabama, USA

The traditional lines between journalism and public relations are now intertwined and public relations practitioners have an influential role on the content consumers see every day in newspapers and on news broadcasts. This survey looked at video news releases and their implications about journalists’ ethics, integrity, independence and credibility. 533 participants from three different populations (average viewers, communication college students, and journalists) responded to a 54-question survey that employed two predictors (i) level of experience and (ii) years of journalism experience. The results indicated that average viewers found the use of video news releases (VNRs) more unethical than journalists and communication students, although experienced journalists believed VNR use is having an impact on journalistic independence in news. Implications are discussed.

Keywords: VNR, public relations, news, journalistic independence


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Chandra Clark is an electronic news instructor at the Department of Telecommunication & Film, University of Alabama. She teaches broadcast news and production, social media and media marketing. She is interested in cyber bullying research and research on the influence of public relations on journalistic practices.
Shuhua Zhou is a professor at the Department of Telecommunication and Film, University of Alabama. His research focuses on media content, form and effects, as well as the psychological effects of mediated messages. Because of his professional news background, he often uses television news as study stimuli.