KCBS-2, CBS (TV Station)

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Fake TV News: A CMD Special Report
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This article is part of the Center for Media and Democracy's special report, Fake TV News: Widespread and Undisclosed.
Click here to read the report summary.

KCBS-2 is a Los Angeles, California television station and an affiliate of the CBS television network.

Station Owner


Use of Video News Releases and/or Satellite Media Tours

In the 5pm news bulletin on January 27, 2006 the station broadcast an edited and re-voiced video news release (VNR) produced by Medialink Worldwide for NetTrekker on a new 'child safe' search engine. [1]

According to a Citigroup website, KCBS aired a VNR promoting the company's "Do Something Financial Education Challenge" in April 2005. [2]

Station Policy

On April 12, 2006, KCBS-2 and KCAL-9 news director Nancy Bauer Gonzales distributed the following memo to news staff at both TV stations: [3]

We are making an immediate change in our policy on VNRs and HANDOUT VIDEOTAPE. Beginning today, we will no longer take in Video News Releases by Satellite or by any other means. We will no longer use material from Video News Releases which come to us via CBS Newspath, CNN Newsource, APTN or any other service or Digital Media Gateway in anything we produce. (News, Weather, Studio 2 and our WEBSITE).
We will still have instances where we must deal with the issue of whether to use handout video. I will decide these uses on a case-by-case basis. We will continue to adhere to a very strict policy on identifying any and all handout video that is approved for air. The source of this video will be identified in both chyron (to be displayed over every second of the video) and in copy read by the anchor, WITH NO EXCEPTION.
The key here is that every piece of video, which airs on our television stations we do not shoot, must be closely scrutinized. Reporters, Producers, and Writers are all responsible for this. You must know the background of the video you want to use before you ask permission. This means researching and asking questions. If feed information is not clear, or if you have a question, make phone calls to determine the origin of the video.
Please read this memo very carefully and keep it close at hand so you can responsibly carry out our policy.

However, the implementation of the moratorium was short-lived, according to a July 2007 report from the Writers Guild of America, East, a union that represents KCBS / KCAL newsroom workers: [4]

Members at KCAL/KCBS-TV estimated that before the April 2006 policy change, their stations broadcast several VNRs per day. One member explained, "[VNRs] are used to fill the time because we are short-staffed."
...Three months later, in July 2006, over 50 writers and producers, a third of the workforce, were laid off, which placed new strains on the newsroom's capacity. Staff now reports that VNRs and file video of previously used VNRs are again appearing in their newscasts, though less frequently.

Contact Details

CBS Columbia Square
6121 Sunset Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90028
Phone: (323) 460-3000
Fax: 323-460-3733
Web: http://cbs2.com

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