Cincinnati Bell cracks CBS News

CBS Evening News with Katie Couric, December 26

CBS Evening News with Katie Couric, December 26

Who is your client, and what are its media goals?

Jill Scorah Cobb: Our client is Cincinnati Bell, which provides telecommunications products and services in Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana. We handle all its media relations, but in this case, it wanted us to raise awareness for a community service program it ran that had helped turn around Taft Information Technology High School, one of Cincinnati's worst-performing schools.

CBS Evening News with Katie Couric is a high-profile outlet, but what made it a good hit for this business/education partnership, and how did you pitch the producers there?

Cobb: Cincinnati Bell president and CEO Jack Cassidy is a passionate believer in this program and wanted to raise awareness for it beyond the local market. We had already generated plenty of area coverage, including a piece last spring by the Cincinnati CBS affiliate. We suggested to the local CBS reporter that she pitch the story to her national CBS contacts as a back-to-school segment. From there, a CBS Evening News producer contacted us directly.

Did you do any media training before the CBS News reporter came to town, and what other help did you provide?

Cobb: We believed to truly tell this story, the viewer needed to see the real people. So while we identified and prepped the key tutors, students, principal, and others on what to expect, we didn't do media training because we wanted them to tell their story in their own words. After the reporter came to town in August, it was just a matter of working with the producers as they did an incredible amount of fact verification through the editing process.

What was the impact of the hit?

Cobb: The piece aired December 26, and it really helped get Cincinnati Bell employees, school administrators, and the students energized because they saw their hard work pay off with national recognition. The company also received many calls, including one from a Florida school district that plans to come and learn how to replicate the program with its own students.

Name: Jill Scorah Cobb, senior PR consultant, HSR Business to Business (Cincinnati)

Placement: CBS Evening News with Katie Couric, December 26

Pitch timeline: Eight months

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