By Alpha Ousmane Souaré, Association Media & Agriculture Pour le Developppment Rural (AMEDAR/Guinea)
From 19 to 25 March 2022, I was in London for a private stay. On this occasion, I met with the British Guild of Agricultural Journalists and other agricultural journalists from the country. These meetings were pre-arranged by Adrian Bell, IFAJ treasurer, whom I had the pleasure of meeting in Antalya, Turkey, during the world greenhouse industry exhibition, Growtech, from 24 to 27 November 2021, at the invitation of our Turkish colleagues. Since that meeting, Adrian Bell has always been available to try and make the most of my visit to London. Thus, even though I was on holiday outside the country, he facilitated meetings with colleagues.
On 24 March, for example, from 9:00a.m. to 3:30p.m., on the occasion of the 79th Annual General Meeting of the Association, I attended, as the only foreigner, a training course in Long Buckby on podcasting, a system for broadcasting audio or video programmes on the Internet using smartphones. The association covered the costs of my participation and even my travel. During the day, one of the members of BGAJ, Gaina Morgan, who comes from Wales and speaks French, was even assigned to me to do the translation. But all the colleagues had found it very interesting to know about my little experience in agricultural journalism in Guinea and the realities of the profession in my country. In very broken English at times, I managed to give them some information. In general, they are all interested in visiting Guinea to learn about the agricultural potential and the realities in the media.
Before this training, I had the privilege of being received on 23 March in Sutton, by the head of reporters for the Farmers Weekly newspaper. Philip Case, who speaks French very well, welcomed me warmly and introduced me to some of his colleagues before we met in a chic local bar. As if we had been together for years (reporters adapt very quickly!), we talked about our backgrounds, our respective media, agricultural journalism in our different countries, the opportunities we can exploit in the future, etc. We parted with difficulty at Sutton station at 7:00p.m.
Alpha Ousmane Souaré (Guinea) and Philip Case (UK) at the newspaper’s headquarters
Alpha Ousmane Souaré (Guinea) and Philip Case (British).
On 21 March, I also had the opportunity to chat for an hour on zoom with Dimitri Houtart, editor for Environment, Food, Rural Affairs and Natural History at the BBC. We talked more about how to make programmes and reports on agriculture, about sources of information and access to these sources and about agricultural potential. Dimitri, who speaks French well, also said he would be happy to continue sharing his long and rich experience in agricultural news in the broadcast media.
In short, my first visit to London was a very nice and rich experience, thanks to my colleagues from the British Guild of Agricultural Journalists: Olivia Cooper, Johann Tasker, Gaina Morgan, Milly Fyfe, Petra Jacob and all the other members, Philip Case from Farmers Weekly, Dimitri Houtart from the BBC, whose meetings were facilitated by Adrian Bell. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart and I am even happier to be part of the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) family.
Testimony of Alpha Ousmane Souaré, Association Media et Agriculture pour le Développement Rural (AMEDAR/Guinea) member of IFAJ.
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