The Goal

Continue to identify and develop multimedia feature story angles.

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The Challenge

In addition to supporting scientific research and news generated by Hebrew SeniorLife, a non-profit , an affiliate of Harvard Medical School and a national senior services leader uniquely dedicated to rethinking, researching, and redefining the possibilities of aging, we also look for ways to promote the organization’s senior living communities.

These senior living communities are vibrant and active. There are plenty of enrichment programs taught by professionals and residents alike. And plenty of volunteer and philanthropic opportunities.

Our job is to sift through stories to find ones that can generate sustained media attention. As noted in the first case study about successful pitches, the challenge with feature stories is that they can be interesting but may lack a sense of urgency to get a reporter’s attention. That’s where the skill combined with some luck comes in.

Strategic Execution At Work

We came across Carol Clingan, a local historian who has a passion for finding and saving Jewish sacred art. Several years ago, Clingan was told about a mural in an attic of a old building in North Adams, Mass. that had once been a synagogue.  What she found was a century old 125-foot mural commissioned by the founders of a synagogue that combined Jewish and American motifs, like the 10 Commandments in Hebrew along with American flags and an eagle.

“The pride of place goes to the Ten Commandments – the tablets. In Hebrew, on the top, ‘Know before whom you stand.’ It’s a little faded, but there are two American flags. Here are people who came from Lithuania, who were Jewish, who wanted to celebrate Jewish faith and yet they wanted to say ‘We’re American,’” she said.

Clingan has been working to raise the funds necessary to preserve the mural and relocate it to the nearby Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, Mass.

We developed this into a pitch to local media, thinking that could help get the ball running. And it did.

From local coverage in the Berkshires, we ultimately landed a TV news segment and a Jerusalem Post article.

The Results

We pitched the story to newspapers in the Berkshires because to highlight the connection to North Adams because the congregation continues to exist. In fact, it has grown over the years, and has moved several times but, unfortunately, could not take the mural with it.

We then pitched MetroWest Daily News because it covers the town of Dedham, where Clingan now lives.

That story led to a WBZ segment that was also picked up by Yahoo!News and the Jerusalem Post.

The coverage highlights a resident and her big charitable project, which helps shows how dynamic residents at Hebrew SeniorLife communities are. Best of all for Clingan, the coverage has also resulted in additional donations to help save the mural.

Coverage Included