DWJ-TVs Friedman
visits PR classes


Public relations professional Michael Friedman, an executive with DWJ Television, one of the nation's oldest and largest video news release producers, visited Elon University in November to speak to students in John Guiniven's classes about work in his field.

Friedman told students he was a history major as an undergraduate. He worked in book publishing for three years, followed by a six-month foray into social work. "You learn something from everything you do," he said. "Six months as a social worker proved I wasn't cut out for it." He next attended the University of Missouri, where he earned a master's degree in journalism. He became a radio news and sportscaster, moving around to a number of markets and landing at ABC Radio. "I was there during some exciting news times," he said. "I covered riots, political conventions and space shots, and I met my future partner in my current business."

In the early 1970s, he and an editor at ABC joined forces to fill what they saw as a communications void. They set up their own video company and began producing pre-packaged, news-style public relations pieces called video news releases, or VNRs, for various corporations and organizations.

"We saw that the local TV news was where people got their information, and we filled that niche," he explained. "We began to package 90-second stories that look, feel, smell and sound like news stories. At first no one in news wanted what they called our 'handouts.' As the number of hours devoted to news on local stations began to expand and the newsrooms were taken over by corporations that began to downsize the news staffs, our business began to boom."

Friedman showed several examples of his company's work, including a special video produced at the celebration of the 10th anniversary of the U.S. Holocaust Museum. The tape was used in some fashion by dozens of stations, including at least one station in each of the top 10 news markets in the U.S.

"It has to look like news," Friedman said. "The editing has to be quick. The sound bites have to be good."

DWJ also was among the first companies to put together what is called a "satellite media tour" or SMT. He said the first one was developed when popular author James Michener refused to go on a grueling road trip to publicize yet another of his best-selling books. On a SMT the person stays in one place - in a studio or on location. A placement staff at DWJ books as many interviews as possible, including both taped and live interviews and sometimes even radio. Reporters from all over the world can interview a particular person via satellite. The interviews are packed tightly, so a person can conduct as many as 12 different live-interview media connections per hour.

In addition to VNRs and SMTs, DWJ offers a mix of consultation, creative services, technical capability and media placement skills. Included are live tele-conferences; marketing, training and educational videos; public service announcements; e-mail and internet webcasts; and radio media tours. In addition, DWJ has an affiliation with ABC Satellite Services, which allows it to satellite-feed a package directly to approximately 7,000 ABC radio stations. For more information about the company, see http://www.dwjtv.com/



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Last Modified:  11/16/03
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