Unique Network of Specialty Reporters- The New Model for Growing Media

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The Veterinary News Netowrk (VNN), a nationwide network of veterinary reporters, is a unique model that effectively reaches out to local audiences to deliver accurate and credible news on animal health. In light of the pet food recall, VNN has delivered hundreds of interviews through national media outlets with the goal of reporting accurate updates to the millions of pet owners in the US. While VNN was created to deliver accurate news by veterinarians, the model can be transferred to a variety of industries that require a great deal of expertise to deliver accurate information in today's media. Experts in fields such as science, technology and medical specialties could emulate the VNN model.

The Veterinary News Network (VNN), a nationwide news media organization is doing its part to ensure that the public is receiving credible, reliable and breaking animal health news delivered by veterinary experts with media savvy know how.

In an age where the Internet and technology has offered an endless pool of information fed by millions of people worldwide, it's impossible to determine what is accurate and what is not. Anyone can post a blog or comment on a news site today and offer their opinions, their version of "facts," and just plain two-cents; however, a single thread of false statements can damage reputations and start chaos for any company or an entire industry.

In light of the recent pet food recall, thousands of Web sites and even some news sites have been quickly posting un-filtered information. Often times this information is inaccurate and sensationalized but looks like fact or news. This further added to the fear of pet owners.

In order to mitigate the chaos and confusion, VNN reporters, the legs behind VNN, delivered hundreds of interviews and expert practical information for news reporters across the country who've scrambled to get the scientific facts in a quickly unfolding story.

The first expert news distribution network of its kind, VNN's concept is simple. Its core consists of a virtual network of specialty media contributors who provide immeasurable value to local news outlets across the nation. Pioneered in 2005, VNN distributes regular television, radio and print reports about animal health to veterinary reporters and news stations via satellite and the Internet. Then, similar to the Associated Press, experts report the news in their local markets. This way, media can rely on a local expert contributor -- both on a regular basis -- or when a hot issue arises.

"VNN, has been a tremendous resource for me and all of our members," said Tom Johnson, DVM, executive director of the Iowa Veterinary Medical Association. "What a blessing to have a professional help prepare talking points and gather information for us. Our members have been called and have done several media interviews. With the help of these talking points and information from VNN, our association has done a good job. I am proud of our profession and their response to this pet food crisis."

"Both in regular pet care stories, and in breaking news situations, VNN has been able to educate as well as speak with a credible "voice of reason" in a crisis; said Dr. Jim Humphries, founder and president of VNN. "Why? Because VNN reporters are local media savvy veterinarians who contribute to local news yet are equipped with professional media resources."

After more than two years, VNN has a membership of more than 330 veterinary reporters who deliver animal health news through television, radio, print and Internet outlets. In its first year in service, more than 66 million households caught one of VNN's reporters in action.

"VNN has made preparing for multimedia exposure much easier," said David Visser, DVM, who practices in South Bend, Indiana. "All of that preparatory work allows me to put my focus on personalization and adaptation to our local community, and ultimately to improve the delivery of such important information. With the help of VNN, excellence in preparing and delivering animal news is made easier and more complete, so much so that viewers, readers or listeners of news media also improve their perception of the veterinary profession as a whole."

While VNN was created to deliver accurate news on animal health, the model can be transferred to a variety of industries that require a great deal of expertise to deliver accurate information in today's media. Experts in fields such as science, technology and medical specialties could emulate the VNN model. This would help deliver the latest news in robust and newsworthy fields of interest. In a time when talent and resources for journalists are being cut back yet the need for news content is growing, there is a solution to make sure the public is still receiving accurate, credible and breaking news.

"VNN is an intuitive model that amazed us in surpassing our expectations," said Steve Crane, DVM, executive director of the Western Veterinary Conference, which funds the educational grant for VNN to operate. "What's intriguing is that VNN demonstrates a universal model that would prove immensely successful for any specialty within the health care industry and many others that strive to educate the public."

VNN is a national network of veterinarians and selected affiliate reporters who use VNN produced resources to broadcast local news stories about current issues and advances in animal medicine. The network provides a highly professional source of newsworthy television, radio and print stories for use by its reporters. For more information, go to MyVNN.com.

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SARAH FINLEY
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