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Video News Releases (continued)

There's a lot of information on those pages. Some of the concepts that might not be familiar are:

  • Satellite distribution -- the first thing you saw was "feed date" and "feed time," which has to do with how you distribute your VNR to the TV stations.

    • It's comparatively expensive to buy satellite time for national distribution, but it's useful for big national stories.

    • For a single local market it's more economical to prepare cassettes and distribute them by messenger. We'll talk about this later, but the point to remember is that with a VNR you are not simply sending text -- you are sending an actual produced video.

  • VNR Script -- on the second page you saw an actual script of a video news release. Notice that it was presented in two columns -- "Video" (including "stage directions") on the left, and "Audio" on the right. Notice that the audio column includes two kinds of text -- ALL CAPS and Upper & Lower Case. As with PSAs, ALL CAPS means "read this"... C/LC is used for other information, in this case, recorded "actualities."

  • B-roll listing -- The B-roll is footage that you send the station in addition to the VNR. It's copy that the station can use to individualize the story they create from your material.

  • For example, if you're working on the Dandy Candy account, you might send clips from three different camera angles on the blending of the nougat -- and some may be close-up, while others are medium shots. By giving the station more to work with, you're making it possible for them to do a unique reporting job, so their report will look different from another station's report. They understand that, when they see the variety of B-roll you've supplied, and that makes them more likely to use your material.

  • Suggested anchor lead -- In the PR Newswire example, the PR writer assumes that the VNR will be used as part of a regular news broadcast. The anchor at the station will report the "news" about "MSD's" (musculoskeletal disorders), and then "go to the tape"...

    • Rarely, a TV station will actually air the VNR with an anchor intro, just as it appears in this script. Regular viewers of that station may notice that although they know the anchor, the reporter is someone they're not used to. That's because the "reporter" on the VNR was hired by you (or your production firm) to make the VNR.
    • More often, the TV station news director will (a) read your script, (b) pop in the cassette and watch your VNR, (c) decide that yes, this would make a good story for the evening news, and then (d) create their own unique news "package," using the B-roll you supplied -- and their own reporter.

Go on to the next page.

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