Canadian agricultural writers travel online to discuss issues in agriculture and the changing world of journalism
By moving to a fully virtual format, some aspects of a regular conference were missing from this year’s meeting.
While the usual networking opportunities were lacking compared to in-person events, the organizers were able to offer a virtual platform where people could meet through webcams and visit online through Kumospace.
“We were happy to see a lot of people taking advantage of it, but I think there will always be that face-to-face element missing when you’re virtual and there’s really no way around it.”
Also on the weekend’s schedule is a whiskey tasting with Hiram Walker & Sons, the 160-year-old Windsor-based whiskey producer.
Telford said the Eastern organization did their best to ship or send samples to as many attendees as possible and provided the list of items on the agenda for other attendees to purchase. themselves. In the end, they did their best to make sure that as many participants as possible could be included.
“We really relied on our regional partners at this local level to help us distribute them, so I know not everyone received their samples, but we did our best to make it work and make it. a good experience, ”Telford said.
The upload did not deter agricultural writers from attending the three-day sessions that covered topics related to the agricultural industry, from discussions of herbicide-resistant crops to agricultural sustainability, to discussions of media growth. social in the farming community and other professional development-based sessions in journalism.
Farm writers want both, Telford said, as they develop a better understanding of their topic, see how other organizations are dealing with the same issues, and network to generate more story ideas.
“We also want to give people tools / knowledge to better understand the stories they can cover or a new way to find the information they need – so how to access weather data, understand the future of grain, how to use social media for the best benefit.
Ian Doig, Calgary writer and self-proclaimed conference aficionado, still walked away with a notepad full of article ideas for GrainsWest magazine, even with the change of platform.
“There is so much topical material here that I walk away with like ‘here is a topic I should think about and how are we going to approach it journalistically.’
As a professional journalist who writes about the many different facets of the agriculture industry, it is important that the conference balances these two worlds, he said.
“We take up a lot of space… you know, here’s a story idea, here’s a topic we should be talking about, but also, you know, we’re also honing our craft, we’re perfecting the craft of agricultural journalism. “
The next stop for the FCWF is its conference in Regina hosted by the Saskatchewan Farm Writers’ Association (SFWA).
Conference President Karen Brière said they hope to have everyone in Regina for the event and are already organizing tours of surrounding farms with a focus on eco-friendly operations. .
“Farmers say they are the ultimate environmentalists, and many of them are. We just want to showcase the good, eco-friendly things that a lot of farmers are doing, ”Brière said.
Canadian producers have been stewards of the environment for years, Brière said, but now is the time to talk about how farmers are dealing with things like climate change and good environmental practices.
“It’s our hope is to tell the rest of Canada that our farmers are doing this.”
On Twitter: @bex_zim