Austrian Guild launches New Website

Ulrike Raser
Austrian Guild of Ag-Journalists
Austria

The Austrian Guild of Ag-Journalists is online again. Visit the new website, www.agrarjournalist.at, for guild and member news. The site covers honors, awards and news from other countries.

If you have any news from the ag- journalism world, e-mail Ulrike Raser at u.raser(at)gmx.at.

British Guild Plans Training Course

Peter Hill
British Guild of Agricultural Journalists
United Kindgom

Journalism and public relations executives working in land-based industries can receive an early boost to their careers from the British Guild’s training course sponsored and hosted by John Deere.

This year, the Guild’s John Deere Training Award course for potential agricultural and horticultural journalists is Sunday to Tuesday, July 8 to 10, plus three days’ work experience.

Now in its 20th year, the course is designed to support one of the principal aims of the British Guild of Agricultural Journalists – to promote schemes for the provision of suitable entrants into agricultural and horticultural journalism. It is aimed at graduating students keen to work in the agricultural and horticultural media but is also open to those already working as journalists or public relations staff who have less than 12 months’ experience in these roles.

There are 10 places available, which involve two full days of lectures and practical exercises at John Deere’s UK headquarters in Langar, Nottinghamshire. Students then have three days’ work experience at a specialist magazine, newspaper or PR consultancy.

Each student is required to write a news story for judging by an expert panel; they compete for a £250 ($400 USD/310 euro) prize and a John Deere trophy. The course is free, and applicants are expected to cover their own travel and other daily expenses.

For more details visit http://www.gaj.org.uk/news/new-entrants-training-course-2012.

Food issues in the minds of UK residents

Jim Evans
Agricultural Communications Documentation Center
United States

We recently added to the ACDC collection a 2011 report, "Biannual Public Attitudes Tracker," from the UK Food Standards Agency. Based on a probability sampling of more than 2,000 adults, the survey identified these top six concerns about food:

Food prices- 61 percent
Amount of salt in food- 50
Amount of fat in food- 44
Date labels- 27
Foods aimed at children including school meals- 26
BSE- 18

All six concerns had increased significantly since November 2010.
Read the full report at: http://www.food.gov.uk/multimedia/pdfs/biannualpublicattitudestrack.pdf.

What does "digital divide" mean?

Jim Evans
Agricultural Communications Documentation Center
United States

One of the most thorough analyses we have seen about the "digital divide" appeared in the September 2011 issue of the journal Telecommunications Policy.

Martin Hilbert used network analysis to view the main approaches researchers have taken to conceptualize the digital divide. He found many diverse actors with dissimilar goals are involved in confronting it.

Beyond that, will efforts toward a single definition, coherent national strategy, and common outlook on digital development do better than others? Not really, he said. Instead, he suggested shifting focus to identifying desired impacts, which then determine ways to solve a particular problem and reach a desired goal. "The ends should determine the means, not the other way around."

You can review a permitted scholarly posting of this article, "The end justifies the definition," online at: http://www.martinhilbert.net/ManifoldDigitalDivide_Hilbert_AAM.pdf.

IFAJ News May 2012

The need to network has never been greater

Mike Wilson
IFAJ President
United States

Yesterday I got an email from a Swedish Ag journalist who is writing a book and needed help. She was planning a trip to America to interview sources, and needed new leads for potential interviews. No problem, I replied. I forwarded her questions to my colleagues, Ag journalists working in offices from California to Virginia.

Within 24 hours I had seven great leads for her book.

While this may seem like nothing out of the ordinary, I still find myself marveling at this connective power of the IFAJ. It is something we should never take for granted. In less than a day IFAJ members were able to plug in to each other and use our vast and growing network to help a fellow journalist complete her task. This kind of global networking happens more and more frequently today.

Without today's technology, would we bother to help and connect with each other? Are we better at connecting with each other, simply because we can? Or would we do so even without the miracle of email?

The incredible advances we have made connecting people around the world is nothing less than astounding. In 1997, the fastest computer in the world took up three rooms and could do 1 trillion calculations per second; today it is the size of your thumbnail. The Iphone today has more computational power than the entire U.S. Air Defense command did in 1965.

IFAJ's founders wrote letters to each other. That was "networking." Years ago we published a printed newsletter four times a year and relied on bulk shipping around the world to get the mailings to our members a week or two later. Today we publish online once a month, right to your email inbox, or through a simple click at the IFAJ website – and in three languages, no less. We send out instant alerts to make sure you know about contest deadlines or other important events. IFAJ executives regularly Skype with each other.

What's next? Online professional development seminars, live access to annual Congress? Holograms, straight out of Star Wars? The lines between what's possible and what's not blur every day.

Even so, technology is only a tool. We have chosen to network with each other and not let language or distance stop us. Why?

There is no doubt we have all evolved, simply due to globalization. I can access the rest of the world much easier today.  The world's borders seem much less formidable compared to a generation ago. Walls have come down, and in most cases, have been replaced by bridges. I think IFAJ has helped build some of those bridges. With IFAJ's new global mandate, we will be building bridges in places we never dreamed of 10 years ago.

We are all linked by a common curiosity, a thirst for knowledge, a desire to become better at what we do. We want to learn more about each other. That's human nature.

It's an exciting time to be involved in this profession.  And it's a great time to reach out to fellow journalists around the world.

Members: Sign up to receive fresh research reports

IFAJ members can now opt in to receive fresh global ag trend reports and market insights from Rabobank. Rabobank and IFAJ have agreed members can now access reports from the Food & Agribusiness Research and Advisory (FAR).

Accessing F&A publications is simple. Submit contact details, F&A area of interest and geographical scope to renee.schnitzler@rabobank.com and Rabobank will ensure journalists are added to the distribution list.

FAR is a global team of approximately 80 subsector experts continuously accumulating information about market developments, issues and trends. On a yearly basis this global F&A knowledge provider publishes nearly 200 reports and documents. For agricultural and horticultural journalists, the publications contain useful information, statistics and analysis. FAR consists of a central unit in Utrecht, The Netherlands and smaller teams in the following countries: Australia, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, New-Zealand, Singapore and the U.S.

Rabobank is the largest agribusiness bank in the world and was founded in the Netherlands nearly 110 years ago.

More information about Rabobank: http://www.rabobank.com/content/food_agri/.

Canadian Farm Writers’ Federation Plan to Rake Muck

The Canadian Farm Writers’ Federation has invited their southern neighbors, the American Agricultural Editors’ Association, to join them for their 2012 annual national conference.

This year’s event is in Winnipeg, the heart of the Canadian Prairies, September 20-23. This year’s focus is on MUD — soil and water, the building blocks of agriculture. Manitoba is a world leader in soil and water research, with a wealth of rich soil types, an abundance of rivers and lakes, and ongoing challenges with flooding and watershed management, including cross-border issues.

Friday tours will participants to the mouth of Lake Winnipeg or down the Red River for hands-on exploration of research projects and farm innovations. Saturday’s professional development session will feature innovative speakers on flooding, soil issues, agricultural awareness, and more. And we’ll entertain you in friendly Canadian style at our receptions, dinners, social events and awards banquet.

Visit www.cfwf2012.com for more.

Come to the world horticultural expo “Floriade”

Hans Siemes,
Executive of the IFAJ
The Netherlands

Are you interested in horticulture, in flowers, plants, trees? Once every ten years the world exhibition Floriade is held in The Netherlands. This time, the event is near the city of Venlo, a horticultural center with many greenhouses. This region ‘invented’ the tasty tomato and is famous for roses. Venlo is in the southern part of The Netherlands, near the German border.

Floriade and their main sponsor Rabobank invites IFAJ Congress members to the world expo. They promise a spectacular visit. If visiting from another part of the world, it’s a great opportunity to combine a visit to the IFAJ congress with a visit to the Floriade (see a glimpse at www.floriade.com).

On Monday August 20 at 10 o’clock Floriade and Rabobank will welcome IFAJ. Guided tours can be arranged. Rabobank will offer the entrance tickets. And of course you can use the press facilities. If you are planning to come, please register by sending an e-mail to globaloffice(at)ifaj.org with your name and country.

Participants planning to attend are responsible for their own travel arrangements and accommodations. Participants are advised to book a flight to Stockholm with - on the way back - a stop in Amsterdam or even better Düsseldorf (Germany). The other possibility is to book an extra flight Stockholm to Amsterdam or Düsseldorf and back (a 2 hour flight). The cost is approximately 100 to 150 euro.

In Amsterdam or Dusseldorf take a train or hire a car to Venlo to Floriade. From Amsterdam Venlo is approximately 180 kilometers and from Dusseldorf 70 kilometers. The Floriade website (www.floriade.com) provides accommodation recommendations. Some accommodations may be the Van der Valk hotel Venlo, hotel de Zwaan Venray, hotel Puur in Venlo, Antiek in Helden. A double room costs app. 90 - 100 euro per night.  The more luxurious hotels (f.e. the Bilderberg group) are more expensive. Some hotels have special Floriade arrangements.

Don’t wait another 10 years. Do what the other 2 million visitors do. It’s worth coming to this world horticultural expo. Otherwise you have to wait until 2022 to get the next opportunity.

About IFAJ News

Share your Guild’s news in the IFAJ News. Send news or article ideas to editor Karlie Elliott Bowman at k.elliott.bowman(at)gmail.com. Never let language be a hurdle for sending ideas or news items. Feel free to respond in your native language and we will work together to share your news items.
 
Also, be sure to share IFAJ News with your colleagues. Encourage them to visit www.ifaj.org/news/newsletter-subscription.html to subscribe. IFAJ News is a publication of the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists. IFAJ gives agricultural journalists and communicators a platform for professional development and international networking. To learn more about IFAJ visit our website at www.ifaj.org. If you have questions about IFAJ, please do not hesitate to contact our executive secretary Connie Siemes, at P.O. Box 205, 6920 AE Duiven, The Netherlands, Ph 0031 573 451975, e-mail: secretary(at)ifaj.org. You can also follow IFAJ on Twitter @IFAJ, and you can find us on Facebook.