South Australia-based writer and Rural Press Club of Victoria committee member, Rebecca Jennings, packed her bags for Scotland last September after being recognised internationally as a ‘Young Leader’ in agricultural journalism.
Rebecca, a specialist writer for Australian R&D journalism and communications company Coretext, was named the Australian winner of the 2014 International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ)-Alltech Young Leaders in Agricultural Journalism award.
After being selected as the national winner by the Australian Council of Agricultural Journalists (ACAJ), Rebecca went on to be selected as one of 10 international winners.
These global Young Leaders were invited to attend a professional development program as part of the IFAJ annual congress in Aberdeen, Scotland, in September. This ‘Boot Camp’ were joined by the IFAJ ‘Master Class’ of journalists from Africa, South and Central America.
The Congress served up everything from Highland cattle to whisky – with plenty of Scottish charm – but Rebecca said the people she met were the highlight.
“The opportunity to meet agricultural journalists from countries as diverse as South Africa, Nicaragua, Nepal, Sweden, Belgium and Canada as part of the joint Boot Camp and Master Class was an amazing experience,” Rebecca said.
“As a regionally-based writer, it can be difficult at times to build professional networks but the IFAJ Congress opened the gate to a fascinating group of colleagues from around the world.”
“Although we face similar issues, such as telling the ‘paddock to plate’ story, many of these journalists also face challenges such as government persecution, which is a foreign concept for a country such as Australia that enjoys freedom of the press.”
Read more about Rebecca’s Scottish experience here.
The experience has already paid off, with Rebecca recently asked to write an article on the Australian drought for the Irish Farmers Journals as well as sharing contacts with a Scottish journalist reporting on bushfires in South Australian.
Rebecca entered the awards with a series of articles exploring how Australian grain growers are embracing electronic technology in their farm businesses. The articles were published in GroundCover magazine, which Coretext produces for the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC).
Rebecca was raised on a commercial beef property in Queensland, and currently lives on a cropping and sheep farm in the mid-north of SA with her husband Dave.
She is past secretary of the Rural Press Club of Queensland and now a non-executive committee member for the Rural Press Club of Victoria, and one of Victoria’s representative on the Australian Council of Agricultural Journalists.
Demonstrating her ongoing professional commitment to agricultural journalism and rural Australia, Rebecca’s previous roles include: Livestock editor for Queensland Country Life; Media manager at AgForce Queensland; and Communication Advisor with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).
Entries are now being accepted for the 2015 IFAJ-Alltech Young Leaders in Agricultural Journalism Award for journalists and communicators working in the rural sector.
If you are 35-years-old or younger and would relish the opportunity to travel to New Zealand in October 2015 and meet your peers from around the world at the annual International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) congress, then this professional development award is for you.
Full details about the award and the IFAJ are available at www.ifaj.org
Entry form for Australian candidates are www.acaj.org.au/
Further information is also available by contacting Australian award coordinator Liz Harfull on 0409 674 941 or email@example.com
Please note: Australian applicants must apply through the Australian Council of Agricultural Journalists (ACAJ), using the attached entry form. A candidate to represent our country in the final international selection process will be chosen by the ACAJ. Final award recipients will then be selected by the IFAJ. Australian entries close on February 16, 2015, to allow time for the ACAJ to select the national candidate. The closing date on the IFAJ website is for national organisations only.
Managing Highly Infectious Diseases: Developing the Science and Policies to Arrest Contagions
Guest Speaker: Professor Alan Olmstead, Distinguished Research Professor University of California, Davis
On Thursday 5 February 2015, the Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences and the Gardiner Foundation, will co-host a half-day workshop titled ‘Foot-and-mouth disease: Outbreak response and decision making in an Australian context’ followed by the D.C. Blood Oration ‘Arresting Contagion - Easier Said Than Done’ to be delivered by Professor Alan Olmstead. Dr Olmstead’s recent book with Paul W. Rhode, Creating Abundance: Biological Innovation and American Agricultural Development, examines three centuries of technological advance in American agriculture. Professor Olmstead’s research has appeared in leading economics and history journals and he currently serves on the Board of Directors of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
The Rural Press Club of Victoria's AGM was held on Wednesday 26th of November.
An experienced rural communicator from Brisbane, Genevieve McAulay, is the new President of the Australian Council of Agricultural Journalists.
This national professional body represents rural press clubs operating networks in all mainland states.
It maintains links with colleagues around the world through membership of the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists.
Genevieve is a Life Member and former President of the Queensland Rural Press Club where she made a significant contribution as the creator and driving force behind many of the club’s most successful and innovative programs.
She began her career as a journalist at the Dalby Herald before joining the staff of Rural Press, which is now Fairfax Agricultural Media, where she was an award-winning feature writer and editor for the specialist publication Australian Cotton and Grains Outlook, which is circulated in Queensland and New South Wales.
Genevieve is now employed as State Marketing Manager Qld/NT for Rabobank.
Following two terms as Vice President, she succeeds Tim Powell, managing director of Cox Inall Communications in the national leadership role.
Peter Lewis, a familiar face of agricultural journalism throughout Australia, is the new ACAJ Vice President.
Peter has had a long career with the national rural television program Landline, both in front of and behind the camera, and has more recently worked as a national rural reporter for ABC TV.
Clarisa Collis, an executive committee member with the Rural Press Club of Victoria, takes over the role of ACAJ secretary from her club colleague Kim Payne.
Clarisa is the assistant editor of Ground Cover magazine for Melbourne-based agricultural and science publisher, Coretext.
Gordon Collie, an independent communicator and freelance rural journalist from Brisbane, continues in his role as national treasurer and Leigh Radford from South Australia was re-elected as the Australian delegate to the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ).
Members of the ACAJ at the annual meeting paid tribute to retiring executive member Liz Harfull who made a huge contribution in Australia and internationally during the past 14 years.
Liz steps down from the leadership team as the position of Immediate Past President rotates to Tim Powell.
She served three terms as ACAJ president and represented Australia to the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists.
After a successful career in rural journalism and communications, Liz has won world acclaim as an author, with her latest titles: The Australian Blue Ribbon Cookbook and Women of the Land.
President Genevieve said Liz’s leadership efforts over many years on the ACAJ executive and internationally on Australia’s behalf were much appreciated.
“We are pleased Liz has agreed to lend her expertise as a member of the organising committee for the 2015 IFAJ World Congress Pre-Tour in Cairns next October.”
For more information, contact Gordon Collie on 0409 473 343.
Journalists and media producers who have produced and published fire-related content in the past 12 months are encouraged to enter the annual Fire Awareness Awards.
The awards (run by MFB, CFA and DEPI) are open to media outlets state-wide and applications could relate to bushfire coverage, home fire incidents, promotion of fire education or fire safety initiatives.
The Media and Communications Award recognises innovative fire related media or communications project delivered through journalism, social media, publications, marketing, public relations, advertising or events, or by individual roles (such as broadcaster, writer, journalist, blogger, photo journalist, marketer) that has increased awareness of fire through responsible reporting and promotion.
Applications close on 30 September 2014. The awards will be presented at a gala evening on 4 December at the RACV Club.
Further information regarding the awards can be found at: http://fireawarenessawards.com.au/.
The Fire Awareness Awards is a joint program run by MFB, CFA and the Department of Environment and Primary Industry to recognise the hard work individuals, groups and organisations undertake to reduce the effects of fire in Victoria.
If you have any questions or require any further information please either email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 03 9665 4487.
Rex Martinich Journalist The Hamilton Spectator
The 2014 Rural Press Club Victoria Forum provided a great insight into how journalists, reporters and correspondents deal with challenging situations.
The forum also gave a valuable insight into how the new State Control Centre manages bushfires and other disasters and responds to the needs of both traditional and social media.
The day was, of course, capped off with a trip to the local watering hole which was handily embedded in the ground floor of Telstra’s HQ.
The ABC Papua New Guinea correspondent, Liam Fox, stole the show with his vivid description of a nation deeply rich in culture and tradition but marred by violence and poverty.
His experiences made Australian-based journalists feel spoiled by having access to dedicated government media staff members who usually try to help us with questions and statements.
Liam had been dealing with government departments for five years who answered the phone on the 50th ring of the 10th attempt to get someone on the line.
The incidents of shocking violence perpetrated on a daily basis also made PNG a difficult assignment for Liam but came with the rewards of producing memorable reports with almost complete autonomy.
The futuristic surrounds of the State Control Centre were a world away from the chaos depicted by Liam.
However, Emergency Management Commissioner Craig Lapsley has been tasked with controlling a different kind of jungle: social media in the midst of a disaster.
Craig said the State Control Centre had learned a lot about how to handle online criticism during the Hazelwood mine fire and Morwell pollution disasters.
The State Control Centre is set to expand its social media presence and monitoring next fire season.
Channel Nine News Melbourne journalist Brett McLeod and 3AW state political reporter Lauren Hibbert covered life in a budget lockup and debate whether such a theatrical event is justified in the age of constant leaks and story drops.
Social media popped up again with Brett describing how Nine uses Twitter and Facebook to promote its main news bulletin.
Lauren said 3AW took a different approach by treating the radio station’s website as a separate product but could also see in real time how social media influenced its online radio stream audiences.
And then, as they say, it was “off to the pub”.