Is AP Radio inviting fake radio health news?

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A friend sent me a notice found on the Bulldog Reporter website, which is designed to help public relations people pitch their stories to journalists.

The item was entitled, “AP Radio Welcomes News and Information Related to Healthcare, Eldercare.” It appears to be a clear invitation to PR people to send audio clips along with news releases because that might improve their chances of getting their message on the air.

The notice read: “Include audio in your release. New technology allows AP Radio to put more natural sound into news reports, and this allows for new PR opportunities. “Provide bits and pieces of your news release in audio,” AP Radio news general manager Thomas Callahan suggests. “Everyone sends printed releases, but attaching an MP3 with excerpts might attract attention.”

It is surprising to see such an open invitation from a journalism organization to PR people, especially given the myriad concerns raised in recent months about the dissemination of video news releases in TV news. How will listeners know which audio clips and which stories came from the work of independent journalism, and which came from a source hawking a product or some other vested interest?

By the way, the notice bragged that AP’s radio division serves more than 4,300 stations with text, audio and/or web content, reaching more than 1 billion people around the world who see or hear an AP story every day. And now that may be more than 1 billion people every day who hear unfiltered PR hype.

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