...don't even ignore 'em.
-- Samuel Goldwyn

Sunday, April 03, 2005

H.E.A.Q. (Hardly Ever Asked Questions) #1.

Where do all those health reports come from that I see on local TV newscasts? Glad you finally asked. I can account for some of them. On my favorite Seattle news station, KING-TV, for example, many of their newscast "HealthLink" features come from a company in Florida called Ivanhoe Broadcast News. Ivanhoe supplies these same reports to over 200 other U.S. television stations, too. There are other health news syndicators. Stations get scripts and video from Ivanhoe or whoever, and assign one of their anchors to present the stories on the air. It's "localized" syndication, a common practice in broadcasting, akin to newspapers printing wire service features. Except, TV stations generally don't tell you the report came from Ivanhoe--the viewer is left to assume the station did it. Stations don't consider this practice unethical. They don't come right out and claim they produced the stories, but they're comfortable accepting implied credit. This may not seem like that big a deal. But in the marketing-driven TV biz, the devil's in the details. Caveat voyeur?

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