Brand journalism gives voice to first-generation college students

Seeking to reach donors and the press, a Catholic university tells the stories of its economically disadvantaged scholars.

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Victims of gang muggings, a young immigrant whose parents were murdered in Sierra Leone, an inner-city kid who once saw his father kill someone.

How to get out the word and increase your donor base to support a program of such promise?

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota turned to a brand journalism guru to create a storytelling platform that presents of the lives of students in its First Generation Initiative.

The university recently launched a website—created by communications strategist and former CBS News correspondent David Henderson—that offers lessons for nonprofits and corporations striving to catch the public’s attention. For starters, tell stories.

Reaching the media

“In today’s news media world, an organization or company really needs to know how to skillfully take the story to the media if they want coverage,” Henderson says.

“Newsroom budgets have been cut back so much that if you are located more than 30 miles outside a metro area, there’s less of a chance the media will cover your story unless there’s a four-alarm fire.”

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