This is exactly the kind of leadership I wish we could get from the various PR associations that exist. The J School at BU says this:
"[We] condemn the use of “phony” reporters hired by the government to perform in VNRs where their affiliation with government is unstated, and urge the Administration to translate the President’s words into action by ceasing this practice at once."
Unanimous Resolution of the Boston University Journalism Faculty Condemning Fraudulent Use of Video News Releases – March 22, 2005 – RESOLVED, THAT…
As educators of the next generation of American journalists, we the journalism faculty at the College of Communication, Boston University:
Recognize the need of citizens in a democracy for information that is accurate, unbiased and independently gathered and presented;
Recognize the vital need of government to communicate with its citizens and the useful role print and video news releases (VNRs) can play in this process;
Recognize the obligation of news organizations to identify clearly the origin of any editorial material provided by government, business, interest group or any source other than their own news gathering or that of affiliated news organizations;
Recognize the obligation of government to avoid using VNRs for purposes of political advocacy or propaganda;
Recognize the need to avoid presenting the material in a way that invites public confusion as to its source;
Note the President’s recent statement that acknowledges the need to maintain a clear line of distinction between journalists and members of the government or Administration;
Condemn the use of “phony” reporters hired by the government to perform in VNRs where their affiliation with government is unstated, and urge the Administration to translate the President’s words into action by ceasing this practice at once;
Urge the Administration to identify and cease other practices with respect to VNRs that run a substantial risk of misleading the public;
Condemn the deliberate use by television news outlets of material knowingly obtained from the Administration without clear identification of its origin, and urge all members of the media to cease this deceptive practice at once.
We invite colleagues at other journalism schools and departments to endorse the Boston University Resolution.
Seems like a pretty good foundation for the PR industry. There is more over at PressThink.