OLD Media Moves

Local TV stations running Amazon’s PR on workplace safety

May 26, 2020

Posted by Chris Roush

Local news stations are running a segment produced by Amazon touting its efforts to keep warehouse employees safe from the coronavirus, reports Annie Palmer of CNBC.com.

Palmer reports, “It’s unclear how many television stations ran the segment. At least two stations promoted the segment on Twitter, while other TV reporters on Twitter called out Amazon for sending them the pitch.

“An Amazon spokesperson disputed claims that the segments were crafted as an attempt to reframe the story about its warehouse working conditions.

“‘We welcome reporters into our buildings and it’s misleading to suggest otherwise,’ the spokesperson said in a statement. ‘This video was created to share an inside look into the health and safety measures we’ve rolled into our buildings and was intended for reporters who for a variety of reasons weren’t able to come tour one of our sites themselves.’

“Company-produced segments such as these, often referred to as video news releases, aren’t a new phenomenon and they aren’t unique to Amazon.

“News outlets are often provided video news releases by companies, PR firms and advertising agencies to aid with the reporting process or to run the content as a segment on its own. The practice has been criticized because it may not be clear to viewers that the segment was produced by a company. For example, in the Amazon segment this week, some local anchors credited the producer of the piece without disclosing he works for Amazon.”

Read more here.

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