The audacious pitch | covering famine in seven weeks


he team will produce and supply multi-platform media for use across Maclean’s delivery channels. This includes magazine-ready print pieces and photographs as well as rich media in streams/feeds and as packages tied to the primary print content. Media will include finished audio (radio) docs, Mediastorm-style packages, finished video packs (reporting), Twitter and FaceBook feeds/updates, Google+ content and reporter’s notebooks/v-blogs (if desired). Maps plus web modules need to be produced by Maclean’s. The content will be deadline-driven (for the major print pieces – see suggested filing schedule below) and continuous/episodic depending on connectivity and developments.

The goal is to produce an exciting, comprehensive, cross-platform examination of a compelling international issue and Canada’s place in helping to resolve these concurrent famines. The range and depth of the content, plus the advance planning, will position Maclean’s as the media leader and agenda setter on the issue.

Proposed story line-up for the magazine:

1. Heads up and issue backgrounder

  • Position the upcoming famine; unprecedented to have two; what’s forecast, why
  • Stress on Cdn NGOs – how tight is money? woes of raising it; temptations
  • Intro famine porn – sidebar with worst of the past; donor fatigue concepts
  • What do the NGOs see ahead?
  • Charts/metrics on giving
  • Will Canadians respond to a second famine?

2. Getting ready

  • Look at NGO famine readiness
  • What’s involved in getting ready for famine?
  • People/veteran profiles
  • Overview of international alert systems, accuracy
  • How does something like this get called – who says go?

 Sahel seasonal shifts | next year’s dry season will be the start of the hunger


3. Dadaab, Kenya

  • World’s largest refugee camp with many famine refugees
  • Mise en scene
  • Feeding, logistics, daily life issues

4. Field reports – following Canadians into famine hit areas

  • Location specific background/causes
  • Frontline famine relief coverage in the Horn
  • Follow Canadians and others

5. Coming crisis – Niger/Mali

  • Getting a sense of the crisis
  • Seeing bare fields, people on the move, starvation

6. Field reports – following Canadians into famine hit area

  • Background and causes
  • Frontline coverage in the Sahel
  • Following Canadian and others in the new/developing crisis in Niger and Mali

7. Wrap

  • Follow-up, reaction
  • Actions, donor levels
  • Analysis of the national discussion, NGO fund raising

Click on map to see proposed coverage areas 


Critical path:

To birth this package means starting discussions right away. In early January editorial research and trip planning starts.


Story 1 (backgrounder) and story 2 (getting ready) due on January 19
Production team leaves for Kenya on January 23


Story 3 (Dadaab) is due on February 1
1st piece of series debuts in Maclean’s February 6
Story 4 (field stories in the Horn) is due February 8
Team travels to Niger February 9
2nd piece of series runs in Maclean’s February 13
Story 5 (Niger reports) due February 19
Team travels to Mali February 20
3rd piece of series runs in Maclean’s February 20
4th piece of series runs in Maclean’s February 27
Story 6 (Mali & field reports) due February 29


Team returns to Canada March 1
5th piece of series runs in Maclean’s March 5
Story 7 (wrap) due March 8
6th piece of series runs in Maclean’s March 12
7th piece of series runs in Maclean’s March 19



This pitch is designed and presented by Bramwell Ryan, a seasoned content producer with international experience. Information about Bram is available here. Additionally he has gathered the following hard-to-get international stories:

  • the religious revival after perestroika in Russia
  • the second Chechen war
  • Haiti under Aristide and the embargo
  • El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua after Hurricane Mitch
  • Mozambique after hurricane and floods
  • Zambian food crisis
  • Sri Lanka after the tsunami
  • Bangladesh – Cyclone Sidr aftermath and child prostitution
With a depth of international reporting experience – samples of work are throughout this website – Bram heads the two-man team that includes an energetic, young and extremely talented shooter/editor. Together, they will create and file top-quality, captivating, cross-platform material for Maclean’s. Please call today to start the discussions that will result in pace-setting coverage of an emerging international issue.


T: 204-298-4932