CNN goes international for Geneva

Placement: CNN/CNN International (April 12 to 17)

Placement: CNN/CNN International (April 12 to 17)

Who is your client and what are its media goals?
Mike Schwager:
My client is Geneva Global, a philanthropic advisory and grants management company that helps wealthy American donors find well-run grassroots charitable projects in the Third World. Its media outreach is focused on outlets aimed at an affluent audience, but it also tries to reach out to the mainstream press.

What made CNN/CNNI such great hits, and how did you pitch the producers there?
CNN reaches a broad domestic audience, and CNNI reaches the international community of opinion leaders, so they both were great targets. I originally pitched the producers of CNNI's Inside Africa by noting that Geneva CEO Eric Thurman had not only recently visited the President of Burundi, but also discovered evidence that Burundi's Batwa people - otherwise known as pygmies - are not genetically short, but in fact suffered from malnutrition.
Thurman shot his own footage for the story. Did that help with the pitch?
The footage was a plus, but what sold the story was that an American philanthropic advisor had met the President of Burundi. Also, reporter Femi Oke was fascinated by the Batwa and how proper nutrition helped their children grow to normal heights.

Did Thurman need any media training, and were there any obstacles to getting this story aired?
Thurman is a former TV broadcaster and founder of a Chicago production studio, so he is very savvy about interviews. We did some reporter education, but the key to our success was patience. We tried to do a remote taping three different times before finally sending Thurman to Washington, DC, for an in-studio interview.

What was the impact of this hit?
A three- to four-minute piece on the Batwa aired twice on CNN, while a lengthier story on the Burundi President aired on CNNI's Inside Africa. The segments ended up triggering calls from potential donors, which is their whole purpose.
David Ward

Name: Mike Schwager, president, Worldlink Media Consultants
(Fort Lauderdale, FL)

Placement: CNN/CNN International (April 12 to 17)

Pitch Timeline: Three weeks

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