Hospital Boosts Breastfeeding Efforts After BEZ Story

Holy Cross Hospital on Chicago’s Southwest Side decided to step up its breastfeeding efforts after hearing a story on WBEZ about the hospital’s newborn breastfeeding rate being the lowest in the Chicago area. That story and subsequent policy change resulted from a pitch made by HealthConnect One’s RoiAnn Phillips to WBEZ Reporter Chip Mitchell at the Workshop’s Professional Media Relations workshop in early 2011.

“The WBEZ stories wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t taken Professional Media Relations,” said Phillips. “Without the class, I wouldn’t have understood how to frame a pitch and I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to be in the room with reporters.”

Phillips had an “ah-ha moment” during the five-part workshop when instructors told the class how to tailor a pitch to pique reporters’ interest, but her big breakthrough came a couple of weeks later when she was able to pitch her nonprofit’s upcoming report analyzing Illinois breastfeeding rates to Mitchell. That opportunity resulted in three stories in the coming months about the report and her organization, including the story that led to Holy Cross’s new commitment to promote breastfeeding with new moms.

During the class, RoiAnn said the intimidation she felt about approaching the media melted away. Breaking down the process of creating a media plan, thinking through the story, and contacting reporters gave RoiAnn the confidence to tell her organization’s story to reporters.

“I would absolutely recommend the Workshop to others because there are so many of us that get ‘media relations’ added to our job descriptions,” said RoiAnn. “We have to learn as we go, and this class gave me the skills I needed for my new role at HealthConnect One.”

Phillips decided to attend Professional Media Relations because she wanted a better grasp of media strategy and walked away with media attention for her organization and the foundation for a long-term relationship with an excellent reporter. Phillips and Mitchell are currently in conversations about a fourth story on breastfeeding rates and challenges in Illinois.

Check out the WBEZ stories that resulted from RoiAnn’s time at Professional Media Relations and follow-up work with reporter Chip Mitchell.

Report: Breastfeeding in Illinois hinges partly on race, income – April 26, 2011

Hospital regulators let formula vie with breast milk – May 5, 2011

After WBEZ report, hospital steps up breastfeeding efforts – August 2, 2011

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