This is the take of the WSJ on the use of VNRs by news programs. I’ve used VNR’s several times in the past, and it has proven to be a great way to get a story out. A well produced VNR is a great asset for local news stations that need to fill time on their broadcasts while it seems constantly having their newsrooms and budgets cut.
That being said, it’s their job to fact check everything they put on the air. I fact check everything I put my name on and I’m the PR guy. I would expect the news stations to do nothing less.
An alternative to a complete VNR ‘package’ is a B-roll tape which usually includes footage of a product or company in use and maybe a taped segment of a company spokesperson or customer. B-roll can be much less expensive to produce than a complete VNR and can have more utility for a news program as they can easily pull relevant images when necessary to include in a segment. This is a win-win for both the company and the news station as the company’s most recent products are included in segments and the news station doesn’t have to use out of date ‘file footage’ when referencing a company.