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.
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
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."
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.
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.
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,