This memo is a pitch used for the Oluponna Fishing and Farming Centre to three journalists who have covered issues in Africa, especially Nigeria. These reporters have written several pieces on politics, corruption and non-governmental organizations. Using “Meltwater,” I decided that these were suitable journalists to approach with our pitch.
Methodology & Approach
Target Media Outlet
1) Norimitsu Onishi, the Southern Africa bureau chief for the New York Times, based in Johannesburg, has written several articles on West and South African countries, namely Nigeria. Onishi wrote two articles on Nigeria within the last few months: “Non-Governmental Organization Show Their Growing Power” March 2002 for the New York Times and “Liberia Closer to Normalcy as Ebola Threat Subsides” February 2015 for the Boston Globe. Although there was talk of Onishi relocating and making New York his base, we believe approaching him on an issue he is familiar with will help facilitate our cause and give us a platform to approach his subscribers and readership. Although Onishi is more “old school” with his approach to social media, he is still an imperative outlet we would like to utilize.
2) Robyn Dixon, the LA Times Johannesburg correspondent writes mostly on issues pertaining to South African Nations. On February 24th, 2015 Dixon wrote an article on Nigeria entitled “Attack in Nigeria Targets Buses Ahead of Elections,” and in 2015 wrote an article for MSN.com entitled “Masai Women Rebel by Insisting on Being Equal.” Dixon frequently writes on women issues in Africa and terrorist acts in Mali, Niger and Nigeria. She is familiar with most African Nations and their communities. We are confident she will find a small organization doing well in the midst of war, terrorism and gender inequality interesting and news worthy. Dixon’s twitter activity which shows pictures of African youths and children from Nigeria, Mali and Sudan only amplifies our desire to work with her.
3) Michelle Faul is the Associated Press bureau chief in Nigeria. Faul has covered the major stories of Africa over the past three decades; she recently wrote an article entitled “Boko Haram Militants kills 91 in Cameroon” for the Boston Globe. Faul who is a native Zimbabwean has covered African news for almost three decades. Faul has covered reports from the great famine in Ethiopia, civil wars in Liberia and Sierra Leone and the transformation of many West African countries from military dictatorships amid widespread pro-democracy demonstrations.
We are hopeful that when we approach Faul about our organization, she might
show interest. Although Faul is not very active on twitter, with her last posting
February 7th 2015, we will use the twitter platform to create an engagement.
To increase the chances of selling the pitch to these three journalists, it was imperative that a discussion of Nigeria or Africa was a relevant topic in which all three were aware of and had already participated in discussions or had written articles or Opinion Editorials (Op-Eds). Direct access to these journalists may be difficult, but thanks to social media, we all can communicate in the digital world. A simple follow-on tweet and participation on the social media platform will give us a chance to engage and know more about each journalist. Instead of sending a traditional email to pitch the story to the journalists, a small package will be customized individually for each reporter and sent to their offices. The package will include a media kit: A pitch, news release, fact sheets, backgrounders, references to articles already covered by the journalists that are similar to our storyline, and social media contact information. The pitch letter, paper-clipped to the outside of the kit, will be a well-crafted, brief letter explaining the case for why each of the three journalists should cover the story.
There may be several challenges that we would have to face as a Nigerian based NGO, particularly as we approach a foreign media outlet. In recent years, some Nigerians have utilized email accounts to scam Americans, Europeans and other African Nations. The email usually entails a long story of money being stuck in a bank account that can only be given to a “certain person” who lives in the United States, Europe or South Africa. Other scams include fake romances and NGO scams. This scam has been ongoing for years, but thanks to media alerts and victims telling their misfortune, emails from Africa, (more precisely Nigeria), are quickly sent to spam boxes or trash files by filters and spam bots. The luxury of informing or selling a legitimate pitch to a foreign based media outlet is almost unattainable. The first few sentences discussing an NGO based in Nigeria might either end up in the trash or simply be mistaken for a scam. The idea is to catch a few seconds of the Journalist’s attention, long enough to form interest and have them read through the pitch, but being a Nigerian NGO cuts those seconds into nanoseconds. This is why a social media kit customized for each journalist that is mailed and delivered to each media outlet might simply be the best and most creative way to reach and catch the attention of a journalist. A small box filled with information on the organization and a pitch may not guarantee their attention, but it is a beacon of hope when compared to the traditional route of email.
A desired outcome can arrive in many forms, but one form that most public relations specialists yearn for is an immediate response and a guarantee of writing a piece after certain materials are requested. The real desired outcome for a pitch media kit sent to a journalist by the NGO is an agreement to write an article about the work done in Nigeria by a Nigerian Based NGO. In this case, an exposé on the Oluponna Fishing and Farming Centre, and how it has benefited the community, increased jobs and educated youths who could not afford the traditional four year college is what we hope the desired outcome will be.
Within the past 3 years, Nigeria has been in the media for negative reasons, from 234 girls kidnapped in Chibok, the Ebola outbreak, the terrorist group known as Boko Haram, to the killings of hundreds in Baga. This expose written by the journalist would highlight some of the positive things happening in Nigeria. The Oluponna Fishing and Farming Centre will not use this platform to ask for donations, but if other organizations take notice of the good work being done, and decide to donate to help the youths in the Ibadan Osun state, it will only help our organization in the long run.
Headline: “We are more than Boko Haram”
Is Nigeria only going to be known for terrorism? Aren’t there any positive activities going on in Nigeria? In recent years, Nigeria has been in the center of controversy, with the postponed elections and endless corruption that the media focuses on to show Nigeria in a negative light. However, there are many positive things taking place as well. The Oluponna Fishing and Farming Centre is one of many beacon of hopes shining bright in Nigeria. The Catholic Church in Ibadan Osun State has help established a centre in which underprivileged youths can be educated in the art of fishing and farming. The idea of a vocational study for local youth and other impoverished people within Nigeria came from the belief that knowledge is power. The underprivileged youths in most African countries are ignored, and are left to fend for themselves.
This exposé will answer the many questions that foreign media ask about Nigeria and about what is being done to help the citizens there. These questions include “are there legitimate NGO programs that help the citizens? “To “What is the goal of Oluponna Fishing and Farming Centre?” In the midst of terrorist acts and lack of good government, Nigerians are standing up to help their communities. We are a small organization, but we are rapidly growing.
Facts of Interest
The Oluponna Fishing and Farming Centre not only focuses on youth, but also the natives of the community. The Centre’s aim is to improve the standard of living of the people in rural communities and ultimately improve the protein consumption of the nation as a whole. This mission has been an ongoing challenge for over a decade.
The Centre was established in 2006 after a farm was acquired by the Catholic Church in Ibadan.
The Centre has been working with the French Ambassador and has received funds France and volunteers from French Citizens.
The Centre has a crop department with a palm plantation, vegetable garden and an orchard with many varieties of different fruit (including pineapple, orange, mango, etc.)
The Centre is also a serene natural environment for retreats, relaxation and conferences
There is a formal training program that takes place within one year. From September to August, an aspiring fish farmer is trained. The session is filled with theoretical class work and practical field work. We intend optimum growth and equal opportunities for all and so the selection of students cuts across creed, race, tribe or color.
We are currently accepting students from the northern part of Nigeria who were victims of terrorist acts, and the centre will help rehabilitate the students and offer them an opportunity that was refused by the Boko Haram.
We have recently begun a training school in catering, a new initiative by the Centre to bridge the gap for those students that are between the completion of secondary education and awaiting admission into institutions of higher education for young girls and boys. This training school was introduced in June 2011.
Our mission is to use the Centre to draw the youth from the precipice of the “culture of death” and empower them to be able to live meaningful lives. As the saying goes “If you teach a man to fish, you feed him and help him feed his community for a lifetime”. This program is not only cost-effective but promotes overall human development.
Nduka, a recent graduate of the program, says: “My parents could not afford to further my education; I was heartbroken until I heard of the Oluponna Fishing and Farming Centre. I always wanted to study agriculture, this was a great opportunity to learn agriculture and get hands on experience. I now work with the federal ministry of agriculture where I oversee and take notes on farm and fishing activities in the local government area.”
I appreciate your time and consideration for what Oluponna Fish and Farming Centre has to offer. If you’re interested in learning more, and getting an interview, please email Egoamaka Egbe at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 1-310-456-090.
Reverend Father Macarius Olatunji the director of the program and will be available for phone interviews and questions pertaining to the activities in the Centre.