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Candidates' style versus substance: a media trainers' scorecard

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The Art of Persuasive Pitching

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World Vision

Much was accomplished for this very worthwhile relief agency, dedicated to crisis control in places such as the Horn of Africa, which was hit by mass starvation, or Bangladesh, overcome by disastrous floods. Another World Vision mission is to help effect long term sustainable relief that helps underdeveloped nations help themselves and avert short-term crises.

Since World Vision's strength of effort depends on donations, we constantly sought coverage by feeding the print and broadcast media with stories about their work.

One example of how we "wedded" the immediate crisis story of hunger with the benefits of long-term relief, was generating a video news story on the Ansokia Valley in Ethiopia. Ansokia was ravaged by starvation and plague, along with the rest of the country, in the late '80s. Our story included devastating footage of the cost in human lives and suffering that hit Ansokia at that time. But we were interested in telling a story about transformation, and how, thanks to the relief and sustainable long-term agricultural development efforts undertaken by World Vision, Ansokia had become a bread basket not only for Ethiopia but many other parts of Africa. This "Before And After" miracle story, which we produced as a video news feature, was carried by hundreds of American TV stations, as well as network news, including use of the footage in concert with a live appearance by Robert Seiple, president of World Vision, in-studio on The Today Show.

Mr. Seiple's appearance on Today also became a prelude to a number of other appearances on that and other network talk shows.