5 Tips for Handling TV News Live Shots

This week I’m sharing tips on how public relations folks can better handle TV news live shots.



Filed under Public Relations

4 responses to “5 Tips for Handling TV News Live Shots

  1. Great tips, thanks for the post. My only addition would be the golden PR rule — “ALWAYS have a backup.”

    We live in a smaller market and so literally our Sat truck is susceptible to bigger news at any moment. Don’t rely only on their news coverage, if possible have a VNR packaged and ready to ship via FTP should a potential larger story break in your area. You’ve planned sometimes weeks and months for that live moment, don’t allow yourself to be crushed pick up a phone call that says the outlet has been reassigned!

    -Scott Kilmer
    Abilene Christian University

    • sethodell

      VNRs (Video News Releases) are a really interesting topic I’d love to tackle at some point. Interestingly, the station I worked at had an outright ban on them. Not only would we not air them, but we actually trashed them as soon as they came in.

      Have you had success using them in the past? I’d love to hear how you’ve used them and what response you got, since my personal experience was obviously so one-sided.

    • While VNRs may seem like a good idea, not a lot of stations use them (as Seth mentioned). I worked in a market 39 and we banned them as well. I’m 99.9% sure the other stations had the same policy. We too just chucked em in the trash.

      Now that I’m in higher ed, I’m always letting our university know that the stations here won’t use the footage we provide. In the long run, I think that sage bit of advice has spared us from migraines.

  2. Scott Kilmer


    It has been two months, so maybe I should continue the discussion (fail). I agree that VNR are not the way to bank on news coverage, I was more adding that live shots are never a guarantee and to have some kind of back up should the reporter/truck fail to show on campus.

    What are your thoughts on skipping the PR legwork and just going viral? It seems like our local and even many of the national outlets are filling more of their air time with viral video and follow ups to that video — is the press pitch dead (or dying)?

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