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Peter Hill

Alison Mann wins Congress leadership course

Published on 1st October 2014

IFAJ-Alltech 2014Journalist Alison Mann of The Scottish Farmer took part in IFAJ Congress 2014 and the leadership skills Boot Camp alongside nine other winners of the IFAJ/Alltech Young Leaders award.

Alison was nominated as the Guild's candidate on the strength of her desire to develop skills enabling her to build her career as a journalist and to contribute to the activities and success of the Guild.

The €1000 award, which covered Alison's Congress fee and accommodation, gives young rural journalists an opportunity to gain leadership skills and experience a Congress. It aims to encourage new talent in agricultural reporting and development of journalist Guilds and the IFAJ itself.

Previous British Guild winners of the award include Sarah Alderton, Andrew Watts, Chris McCullough, Katie Jones and Clemmie Gleeson. Aly Balsom, who won the award in 2012, helped put together the Boot Camp content and was on hand to help deliver the course.

Alison joined another eight IFAJ/Alltech Young Leaders award winners from Sweden, Germany, Austria, South Africa, Australia, Belgium, Canada and USA.

As part of her role on The Scottish Farmer, Alison covers anything that may affect farmers in Scotland - from Common Agricultural Policy reform to the spread of Schmallenberg virus. She also covers agricultural shows around Scotland in the summer months, as well as writing a quarterly property supplement.

 

Social media makes up part of her job as she administers the @Scottishfarmer Twitter feed, and the paper's Facebook, Instagram and Internet presence. Alison used that experience to contribute to the Congress social media activities, promoting the event and it's location in north-east Scotland to potential delegates around the world, as well as during and after the event held in early September.

Ken Rundle + Boot Camp

Alison is pictured right with fellow Guild member Ken Rundle (centre), SRUC communications manager, who helped organise Boot Camp content, and other winners of the IFAJ/Alltech Young Leaders in Agricultural Journalism award from Austria, Canada, Belgium and Ireland.

In her bid to become the British Guild's nominee, Alison said: "It is especially important that young journalists have the opportunity to share their passion for the industry and they must be given a chance to learn as much as they can about agriculture to help build a successful career. This, I believe, is why agricultural journalism is so strong as communicators often stay in the industry for many years.

"I will continue to develop my membership of the Guild and IFAJ, and as my knowledge of the Guild improves I see myself taking up a role in promoting it to fellow under 35s. With a strong base of young members the Guild will continue to grow and continue to provide support for young members.

"As well as driving membership amongst young journalists already working in the industry, I think I could promote the sector to student journalists. As a student journalist, with no agricultural background, I had no knowledge of the opportunities available to me in agriculture and there must be countless students in the same situation. It would be beneficial to the Guild in encouraging potential new members.

"The SFThe Guild has already helped develop my career in recommending I be invited to a young journalist study trip with DG AGRI. I learned a lot about the European Union and am already expanding EU coverage within The Scottish Farmer.

"During the trips to Brussels I met many agricultural journalists from EU member states. I enjoyed learning about the industry in their country and have kept in touch with them. Agriculture is truly international and it is useful to have contacts in other countries, which allows me to provide interesting coverage for Scottish farmers."

Young members of the Guild who would like to follow in Alison's footsteps - this time to the congresses being held in New Zealand in 2015 and Germany in 2016 - should watch out for eAlert details of the next IFAJ/Alltech Young Leaders Award, which will likely have a late February application deadline.

Peter Hill

 

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