Australia Announces Award Winners

Emma Mulholland, staff writer for RM Williams magazine was awarded Australia’s top writing award for rural journalism.

Mulholland won the 2012 Kubota Australian Star Prize for Rural Writing, which includes a trip to Sweden later this year to attend the IFAJ Congress.

Her article about Charles Massy, merino breeder and author of the controversial book ‘Breaking the Sheep’s Back', describes the story of a sheep cockie that found himself unwittingly embroiled in the politics of the Australian wool industry.  The article ‘Wool Maverick’ was judged the winning entry in the national competition organized by the Australian Council of Agricultural Journalists (ACAJ).  The article was the feature story in the October/ November 2011 issue of R.M Williams Outback magazine.

South Australian journalist Miranda Kenny, who is markets editor for Rural Press publication Stock Journal, was named runner-up, with ‘Waste deal offers farm options’ published in the Stock Journal on February 24th, 2012. This was an exclusive story about a partnership between Australia’s largest no-till groups; SANTFA and the Jefferies Group, both based in South Australia, who decided to form a joint venture to secure fertilizer stocks from green waste.

Mulholland’s story will now represent Australia in a prestigious international competition run by the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ).

Kubota’s sponsorship is providing registration and airfare costs up to the value of $5000 for her to attend the award ceremony, which will be a major highlight of the IFAJ’s annual congress at Lake Malaren, Sweden, August 15 to 19.

For more information and to view the winning entries visit

British Guild Member Digby Scott Honored For Contributions To Agriculture

In recognition of an outstanding contribution to farming, British Guild of Agricultural Journalists member Digby Scott was awarded Member of the British Empire (MBE) in the Queen’s Birthday Honors.

The National Pig Association describes Digby as ‘the voice of British pig farming’, and said he has worked tirelessly since the mid-1980s for the pig industry, bringing the latest information and knowledge to the entire production network.

“Many people will quite rightly comment that Digby deserves this recognition,” says NPA chairman Richard Longthorp. “But only a handful of people have had the privilege of working closely with him over many years and know just how much it is deserved – he has worked on the pig industry’s behalf tirelessly and unremittingly whilst running an extremely successful publication.”

Digby Scott publishes Pig World magazine and created the NPA’s influential website. He has also coordinated campaigns, developed publicity strategies and achieved positive press coverage for the pig industry, particularly at the toughest of times for farmers in the sector.

During the exotic disease outbreaks in 2000, 2001 and 2007, he worked closely with NPA and Defra officials to communicate the right messages through the association website, which received up to 30,000 visitors a day at this time, rising to 60,000 a day from around the world at the peak of Foot and Mouth.

“He also orchestrated three highly successful pig industry rallies in London to showcase British pork, which helped encourage consumer support and ultimately halted the decline in pig prices,” adds Richard Longthorp. “That undoubtedly saved many farmers from bankruptcy.”

Digby has trained many Young NPA members and producers to help them deal with media interviews and to write press releases and magazine articles. Also, the NPA credits his calm and professional manner in radio interviews for helping put across key messages about the industry, with logical and well-reasoned arguments protecting the industry by preventing stories from becoming over exaggerated in the press.

The NPA also highlights how Digby has become the focal point for farmers on the brink of despair.

“Without complaint or expecting anything in return, Digby spent many hours supporting and counseling those in need, something that he continues to do to this day,” says Mr Longthorp. “We remain indebted to him for that.”

Irish Guild Announces New Officers

The Guild of Agricultural Journalists of Ireland recently met to elect new officers and representatives. The organization’s new IFAJ delegate elect is Richard Halloran, nominated by the northern section, and the guild president elect is Liam Lavelle, nominated by the northern section.

They will be ratified at an all-Ireland AGM in June, to succeed Stephen Cadogan and Brian Donaldson, respectively.

Margaret Donnelly will be the Guild delegate at the next European Network of Agricultural Journalists (ENAJ) event in Denmark in June.

ENAJ will bring 40 journalists to Ireland, during Ireland’s EU presidency for the first half of 2013.

The Guild recently marked its 50th anniversary, and has also organized recent breakfast meetings on libel, social media, and the future of mainstream media in Ireland.

IFAJ News June 2012

Why good journalism matters

Mike Wilson
IFAJ President
United States

Like you, my professional life is busy. It seems we are always under pressure to track down sources, meet deadlines, get articles and interviews finished, and plan for the next issue.

In fact, many of us spend so much time 'doing' this profession of journalism that we rarely take time to think about 'why.' The other day, my 16-year-old daughter made me stop to think about this question. She is at that point in her life when she is thinking about the future. Naturally she was curious about my job as an editor at a magazine.

"Good writing skills are in demand no matter what career path you take," I told her. But what's the difference between being a writer and a journalist? she asked.
Above all, a journalist is programmed to always tell the truth, I replied. Sure, there are different kinds of journalism being practiced. Advocacy journalism. Business journalism. Agriculture journalism. But presenting the facts must be the top priority for any journalist to maintain credibility with an audience.

I learned this from a wise old college professor at J-school over 30 years ago. In any case, I began to think about why good journalism really matters. In fact there's a PowerPoint presentation with that title sitting here on my laptop. It was the topic of discussion at last fall's Master Class, held in Canada before the Congress.

So, why does good journalism matter? In a world awash in information, who will readers/viewers turn to? News sources they believe in!

Journalism takes place in many ways – television, radio, newspapers, magazines and the internet, to name a few. But every good journalist knows that telling the truth is more important than anything else.

Our Master Class discussion focused on ethics and why credibility with an audience was so important. Once you develop a reputation for telling the truth all the time, your audience will grow. That's true no matter what communication platform you work in. Hiring journalists who have this in mind is an intangible asset for any media outlet.

In the next year or so, the IFAJ will be investing time and money to build better connections with journalists around the world. Some of them will be hungry to learn how to do a better job as a professional journalist. We are focusing our attention on our own member guilds, as well as journalists who may not have the benefit of a free press society. We will do this through networking, online activities and other methods. This will require dedication and volunteer time on the part of many IFAJ members.

I hope that as we begin this new global strategy, we will keep in mind the ultimate goal - to help nurture and promote good journalism as a profession. This is something we all believe in, and it is the core value that will motivate us as we move into this new phase of IFAJ growth.

IFAJ-Alltech Young Leader Boot Camp

The IFAJ-Alltech Young Leaders in Agricultural Journalism awards emphasize the leadership potential in young members within IFAJ.

Ten young agricultural journalists from all around the world are going to be selected for IFAJ-Alltech Young Leaders in Agricultural Journalism awards to attend the 2012 IFAJ Congress in Sweden. Recipients receive 1000 Euros for their participation at the congress.

The winners will participate in a two-day boot camp to develop their professional skills in agricultural journalism and get a broader global perspective in agricultural communication. The award-winners will get expert training in agricultural journalism and will report running news during the congress.

The boot camp is in Stockholm August 12-15, 2012. It will be a unique opportunity for the winners to develop personal capacity, create world-wide networks as well as qualified practice.

Christy Couch Lee (USA)
Christy Couch Lee of Wellington, Ill., USA is the owner of Cee Lee Communications, specializing in feature and news writing and photography in the agricultural journalism industry, with a primary focus on livestock.

Jerica Potocnik (Slovenia)
Jerica Potočnik is an agricultural journalist working for Zelena dežela magazine and as a webpage editor. She publishes articles on current affairs and development in the agricultural and forest sector in Slovenia and throughout the European Union.

As a journalist she pays special attention to public communications about current issues regarding Common Agricultural Policy 2014-2020 and problems affecting young farmers and farmers in general.

Ciara O’Kelly (Ireland)
Ciara O’Kelly is the Consumer Editor in Irish Country Living, the weekly supplement within the Irish Farmers Journal. Ciara writes on financial and consumer issues relevant to the weekly spending of farming and rural families. She also writes in Irish Country Magazine. Previously she worked as the Education and Recruitment journalist, often reporting on the significant increased interest in agricultural education at third level. Event management is also an element of Ciara’s role and she is involved in co-coordinating Irish Country Living’s annual Women and Agriculture conference.

Alexis Kienlen (Canada)
Alexis Kienlen is a journalist from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. She is currently working as a reporter with Alberta Farmer, but spends her time touring to rural locations, visiting farms and attending farm conferences.

Alexis studied International Studies at the University of Saskatchewan and Journalism at Concordia University. She has a special interest in urban agriculture, and explaining rural agricultural issues to an urban audience. She is also a poet, fiction writer and journalist and published two books of poetry "She dreams in Red" and "13".

Aly Balsom (UK)
Aly Balsom is a deputy livestock editor for Farmers Weekly in the UK. 

As part of her role she writes technical articles for the livestock section of the magazine and website, This often involves on farm visits and attending agricultural conferences throughout the country.

She also commissions and edits copy for FW and is the editor of Dairy Update magazine.

María de las Mercedes Manfroni  (Argentina)

Nikolai Beilharz (Australia)
Nikolai Beilharz works for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Rural Department. He is based in Cairns by the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree rainforest. Nikolai works primarily in radio, but has a strong online presence and a bit of television. He presents a daily radio program, and also 'The Country Hour', one of the longest running radio programs in the world. His work focuses on agriculture and regional issues. Local industries include sugarcane, bananas, tropical/exotic fruits, cattle, dairy, fishing and mining.

Lindi van Rooyen (South Africa)
Lindi van Rooyen has been a journalist at Farmer’s Weekly since 2010. 

She began her career as a news reporter, later venturing into travel writing and has now found a home at South Africa’s leading English agricultural magazine. 

Lindi writes a wide range of agriculturally related articles including investigative news, opinion columns and farm production features.

She has won several awards during her career, the highlight of which is the latest award from the IFAJ.

Stefan Nimmervoll (Austria)
Stefan Nimmervoll writes for the monthly agricultural magazine "Blick ins Land" and the weekly newspaper "Raiffeisenzeitung". 

He has been a farm writer for 5 years, covering agricultural topics from machines to animals, politics to markets. 

Stefan comes from a small winegrowers village in the east of Austria where he still lives. 

His brother runs the family winery and his future in-laws farm crops. Stefan helps both to ensure he doesn’t loose touch to "reality".

Julia Davids (Germany)
Julia Davids began working for the dlv Deutscher Landwirtschaftsverlag GmbH in Munich in 2009, as editor for the dlz agrarmagazin, one of Germany´s biggest monthly magazines for farmers. At the dlv she is leading the dlz next, a supplement to dlz agrarmagazin specially for young farmers.

She studied German Philology, Political Science and Art History and worked on a dairy and horse farm during her studies. She worked in the press office of CMA, the Central Marketing Organization for German Agriculture in Bonn. After that she lead CMA´s Marketing Department for Organic Food for two years, before she changed to dlv and started to launch the dlz next.

Julia is creating a magazine for the future generation of agriculture and is working with a team of six young editors.

Holly Spangler (USA)
Holly Spangler is an associate editor for Prairie Farmer magazine. While Prairie Farmer is part of the Farm Progress Companies, a national agricultural publisher in the U.S., Prairie Farmer covers the state of Illinois. Her job includes writing and photography of farmers, experts and issues affecting Illinois agriculture. 

She also writes a monthly column and a weekly blog for young farmers. She has been at Prairie Farmer for 14 years and currently serves on the American Agricultural Editors Association board.

Together with her husband, they raise corn, soybeans, beef cattle and kids on their farm in western Illinois.

For more on the program and attendees visit

Clean Up Audio From Iphone Interviews

Truffle Media Network &
Christopher S. Penn
United States

Christopher S. Penn provides a short and simple "how to" video on improving interviews recorded on your iPhone. Visit for this how to.

Farm Radio and Internet Most Used Daily Ag Media

Jim Evans
Agricultural Communications Documentation Center
United States

That finding came through in a recent national survey of U.S. farmers and ranchers. Ag Media Research developed the survey that was administered during late 2011 within a representative national sample of 1,504 farmers and ranchers with gross farm incomes of at least $100,000.

A news release added to the ACDC collection indicates:
•    On a daily basis, farm radio and the Internet (accessed from home/office) are the two most-used agri-media channels.
•    Those choosing either radio or the Internet as their first choice, farm television was the preferred second daily information source.
•    Among information sources used at all (not specific to daily or any time frame), farm-title publications – newspapers and magazines – garnered the highest numbers.
•    Use of mobile Internet access – via hand-held devices including smart phones – engaged less than 25 percent of all surveyed producers.
•    Respondents expressed high levels of trust in their primary information providers. More than 60 percent reported tuning in to a specific radio station or stations for their farm information.

Read the release at:

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) 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 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 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) You can also follow IFAJ on Twitter @IFAJ, and you can find us on Facebook.