Diane Sawyer segment helps lead conversation for project

The Conversation Project was founded in 2010 by a group of concerned media, clergy, and medical professionals with the goal of ensuring that every American's end-of-life decision is expressed and respected.

Name
Lindsay LeCain, account executive, Racepoint Group (Boston)

Placement
ABC World News with Diane Sawyer, October 9, 2012

Pitch timeline
Seven months

Who is your client and what are its media goals?
The Conversation Project was founded in 2010 by a group of concerned media, clergy, and medical professionals with the goal of ensuring that every American's end-of-life decision is expressed and respected.

A huge part of this project is to make it easier for people and their families to have end-of-life discussions.

Our role was to target top-tier outlets, most notably those that reach multi-generational families, and have them help lessen the taboo surrounding this issue.

What made ABC World News with Diane Sawyer such an ideal target and how did you pitch producers?
We knew the show is often at the forefront of health and medical coverage and would do a good job with the topic and reach a wide audience.

We pitched the producers on the idea, stressing this did not have to be a sad story.

We also noted that we could not only provide doctors and other experts, but also a middle-American family, the Jennings, who were having this discussion and could help to show real people talking about the issue.

Did you media train the family or medical professionals interviewed for the segment and what other content did you provide to ABC?
One of the medical professionals interviewed, Dr. Atul Gawande, was well versed with the media, though we did give him a refresher before he spoke to ABC.

For the Jennings family, we did no training because we wanted them to come across as natural, approachable, and not rehearsed.

We also provided statistics, including a recent survey noting that while 60% of people say making sure their family is not burdened by tough decisions is extremely important, 56% have not communicated their end-of-life wishes.

What was the impact of the hit?
The airing of the segment led 4,678 people to The Conversation Project's website on that day and many of those downloaded the starter kit the group provides for families.

The piece with Diane Sawyer, along with other media outreach, has helped prompt nearly 70,000 people to visit the website and find out more about the subject, so the client has been very pleased with our work 

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