“What makes a good news story?”
That’s the question posed to journalists all over the world. The answer, invariably, centres on communicating something nobody else knows.
Telling a new story – hence the term ‘news’.
This also emphasises the importance of exclusives. Journalists want to tell a story nobody else knows about. That way, it’s likely more people will read it.
Dramatic exclusives are often the preserve of such venerable journalistic institutions as the New York Times or The Guardian. However, in a bold move that scooped almost every journalist in the entire world, this week it was the turn of an Australian industry association representing accountants: CPA Australia.
CPA Australia CEO Alex Malley stunned the globe by securing an interview with the most famous astronaut in human history – Neil Armstrong.
Since landing on the moon in Apollo 11 in 1969, Mr Armstrong has been quite the recluse, seldom if ever granting interviews.
Yet this didn’t stop Mr Malley. The bold CEO hopped on a plane, travelled to the USA, tracked down Mr Armstrong and managed to convince him not only to do an interview, but also to participate in the association’s 125th birthday celebrations taking place later this year.1
It is, without a doubt, one of the greatest PR scoops of all time.
Now the entire world’s press is talking about CPA Australia and their birthday celebrations. Heck, even I’m writing about it!
It’s not every day you convince one of the most famous names in history to come and represent your brand – and I don’t know if they paid Mr Armstrong for his services2 – but a tip of the cap to Mr Malley.
He had the tenacity and the boldness to pursue the best and it paid off. Like a sports stars going for an impossible shot, Mr Malley strove for the impossible spokesperson; and managed to pull it off.
So next time you’re dreaming up an idea and somebody says “No, it can’t be done,” – reach for your computer and load up one of Neil Armstrong’s CPA interviews.
Then look at the naysayer in the eye and say something like, “it’s just another small step for mankind.”
1: Armstong’s Dad was an accountant, so there is a vague link between the astronaut and industry association
2: I reckon journalists are too afraid to ask this.