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Local News Footage

It seems like the local news always has a story about obesity in America or the brand new miracle drug that lets you lose weight provided you eat a ton of bacon. There is actually a story about these canned pieces, called video news releases (VNRs), which is that the company’s public relations firm produces the piece for the local news and sends it out for airing under the guise of genuine journalism.

I’m most interested in is when the broadcast shows footage of overweight people so that there is video accompanying information about how overweight Americans are. They always do the same thing: they show video of obese people walking. Either they are walking away from the camera, or towards the camera but the footage only shows them from the neck down.

Do they get permission from these people, and if so, do they explain what it’s going to be used for? It would sound like the worst kind of backhanded compliment that you could find when you went out to the beach or promenade for the afternoon: “Hey, hey you. You have the perfect look for our TV show.” “Really? Thanks!” “Yeah, we need overweight people walking. Sign this release.”

This is why I assume that they just film them without their knowledge, but don’t you think that the people know it is them? What if it is a really distinct shirt or pair of pants or body frame or type of walking?

Then you get a whole situation of friends and neighbors watching the news going, “Hey, that looks like someone I know– Oh.” And it’s just awkward the next time they meet up because everyone is pretending they don’t know what they’re talking about.

More disheartening is that the shirt in the news broadcast has to go on hiatus. What if it was his favorite shirt, like the one where there’s a sexy person’s body descending from the head? Now the irony is completely gone, as is the top pick the wardrobe. Shame on you local news.

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