I like Save the Children’s latest idea for generating coverage about its work a lot. Rather than partner up with someone from a broadsheet for a fact finding trip to one of its projects – as is usually the case for large NGOs – it’s taking three professional ‘mummy bloggers’ with it.
It’s a recognition that these niche blogs have huge and highly interested audiences, and getting direct experiential copy on them will likely result in a spike in donations to Save the Children.
My only concern is that often this kind of access is used by professional journalists to research bigger stories that may not always be the one the charity is interested in.
It’s not a problem for the charity – they’re getting better coverage which will raise more cash than if they took someone from the Guardian, say, and that’s exactly what their job is to do.
It’s a potential problem for the papers who have grown used to subsidising their international coverage by developing symbiotic relationships with NGOs. If charities discover that they can get the coverage they really want through social media and don’t need the mainstream press as much, the current strategy most papers have of gathering news off the back of NGO work will have to be rethought.