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Capitalizing on the media's thirst for 'local boy (or girl) made good' stories

Sandra Young, creator of The Weekend Divorce, exemplifies the "local girl made good" theme that, with its "local boy made good" counterpart, can seem irresistible to news decision-makers.
Sandra Young, creator of The Weekend Divorce, exemplifies the "local girl made good" theme that, with its "local boy made good" counterpart, can seem irresistible to news decision-makers.
Sandra Young

Like photographs of children and puppies, stories that fall neatly into the "local boy made good" (LBMG) or "local girl made good" (LGMG) category are highly attractive to media outlets.

It is powerfully affirming to read about those people from your community, maybe even your neighborhood--better still from your own block--who have gone out into the big, wide world and made something of themselves. Implicit in the tale is that you, too, can launch a successful business, make it all the way to the NBA, or write that best-selling novel.

So reporters and editors frequently gravitate to those feel-good LBMG and LGMG accounts.

A current media outreach that taps into this niche is about collaborative law attorney Sandra Young of Naperville. Along with Brian Garvey, Young has developed "The Weekend Divorce" model as an innovative response to the drawn-out, volatile, messy--and often expensive--ways in which so many people end their marriages.

In March, they will be making an educational presentation about The Weekend Divorce in Yorkville, near Young's roots in Oswego, where she lived the first 18 years of her life. While the distance between her current home and that from her upbringing is hardly transcontinental, it's far enough to qualify for the LGMG treatment.

You can see that illustrated in this Yorkville Patch news release posted earlier today.

Another seldom-used but relatively simple way to build on the "local boy/local girl made good" motif: alerting college alumni publications about the success of their graduates.

Theron Nelsen's undergraduate years at the University of Idaho, starting nearly 60 years ago, came during the Eisenhower administration. It was 15 years after graduation when he launched what has become a hugely successful Amway business, growing into one of the foremost leaders of World Wide DreamBuilders.

But once associated with your alma mater, forever linked. That enduring bond is reflected in colleges continually seeking financial support from their alumni. Part of the unwritten, but very real, trade-off is that your university, in turn, devotes editorial space to your life's stories and successes.

Another strong "local boy made good" category, in the collegiate arena, comes in the form of Halls of Fame, Outstanding Alumni awards and so forth. Among the many Amway Independent Business Owners mentored by Nelsen is Bill Hawkins, another WWDB leader who was a part of the Outstanding Alumni Class of 2011 at Bemidji State University in Minnesota.

So whether it's in business, in the social services, the athletic arena or some other facet of life, universities are attracted to proclaiming, outright or indirectly, that their institution provided fertile ground for helping graduates achieve resounding success.