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Quick moves elevate story, video on orphaned baby fox from local curiosity to global smash hit

In this image taken from a video provided by the Richmond Wildlife Center, Executive Director and founder Melissa Stanley wears a fox mask as she feeds an orphaned red fox kit, March 10, 2024, in Richmond, Va. Stanley said the mask creates a visual barrier to prevent animals from imprinting on humans. RICHMOND WILDLIFE CENTER VIA AP

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An all-formats approach to a story about a rescued baby fox put the AP ahead and led to a talker win, with notable usage by customers around the world.

Reporter Sarah Brumfield spotted a video on a Richmond TV station that showed someone wearing a large fox mask while feeding a tiny newborn red fox from a syringe. Brumfield sent the links to video journalist Kristin Hall, who immediately saw the potential interest and secured written permission from the wildlife center’s founder to use their video, which showed the tiny kit squeaking for food and cuddling a fox stuffed animal.

Reporter Lea Skene started writing a story, while reporter Denise Lavoie interviewed Executive Director Melissa Stanley, who was shown in the video wearing the fox mask while feeding the kit. By treating the story as important deadline reporting, the fast work allowed a nice video edit and well-rounded text story to move that same afternoon. Their quick action ensured that AP was ahead, because even “talkers” can be competitive. The story and video immediately had people talking, and outlets around the world picked it up, from the U.K. to Australia to Russia to Germany.

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