German guild explores how mass media reports on agriculture

Farmers often feel misunderstood in reports about agriculture published in the mainstream, general media. Farmer representatives and journalists discussed the issue in June during the annual meeting of the German guild of Agricultural Journalists (VDAJ), held in Rendsburg.

Pictured during the annual meeting are (from left to right) Volker Thormählen from radio NDR1 Welle Nord, Rainer Mohrmann from the daily Schleswig-Holsteinische Landeszeitung, Günther Fielmann, Katharina Seuser, Hans Heinrich Matthiesen, Michael Lohse, media spokesperson from the German Farmers Union, and Klaus journalist Peter Kraus in front of Gut Schierensee.

Dr. Michael Lohse, media spokesperson for the German Farmers Union, said that agricultural topics were often dominated by public interest in the mass media. This was confirmed by Rainer Tietböhl, president of the Farmers Union of Mecklenburg Vorpommern.

“It’s not enough to discuss the public view,” he said. “Media should inform people about all aspects of agriculture.”

Rainer Mohrmann from the daily Schleswig-Holsteiner Landeszeitung and Volker Thormälen from radio NDR1 admitted consumer interests played an important role in mass media. “That is our mission,” they underlined.

The speakers concluded that a close relationship between agriculture and the mass media while maintaining a objective distance were the best guarantors for good reports. 

The annual meeting of the German guild was organised by IFAJ past president Hans Heinrich Matthiesen and his team . About 120 journalists from all parts of Germany participated in the three day program.

The discussion about agriculture in the public media took place in Gut Schierensee, a famous  property of Professor Günther Fielmann. The manor house of Gut Schierensee was built by the imperial Russian minister Caspar von Saldern from 1776 till1782. Today the property is under preservation and the farmland is used for biological beef production.

The event included three tours focussing on agriculture in the most northern part of Germany. Highlights were dairy farming, green energy and new ideas on how to manage difficult times and the financial crisis.

On the last day of the meeting Katharina Seuser, chairperson of the German guild, was elected for a second term.

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