Watchdog Group Finds Portland Stations Used Video News Releases

By Colin Fogarty

PORTLAND, OR 2006-11-16 A new report by a media watchdog group says two television stations in Portland aired so-called video news releases without telling viewers.

Those are stories produced by a PR firm in a way that mimics real news stories, as Colin Fogarty reports.

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Earlier this year, the Wisconsin-based Center for Media and Democracy issued a report, railing against TV stations for using promotional video provided by companies or government agencies.

Now, in a follow up report, the group nails KPTV channel 12 for this segment in September on a product called Rescue Sleep.

Anchor: “The benefits…Rescue Sleep is cheaper than sleeping pills and there are no side effects. Plus the biggest benefit…Jennifer Anniston takes it, so it must be good.”

Diane Farsetta, with the Center for Media and Democracy, called the segment one of the most remarkably promotional we’ve seen .

The new report also highlights a story about internet security that aired last month on KOIN 6.

Video in the piece was generated by a firm trying to peddle cyber-security software.

KOIN news director Jeff Allen told the Center for Media and Democracy that his reporter got the video from a distribution service, and didn’t know it came from a PR firm.

Neither station returned OPB’s calls for comment.

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