This year’s winner of the British Guild of Agricultural Journalists’ Journalism Training Award sponsored by John Deere is Charlotte Cunningham (pictured centre, right) from Cullompton, Devon.
Charlotte has been working since January as an editorial and PR assistant at Agri-hub, the specialist agrimedia network, having joined the business after completing an FdSc in Agricultural Management at Cannington College in Somerset.
This is Agri-hub’s second John Deere Training Award in three years, following Melanie Jenkins’ success in 2015.
For the final award, the 14 course members were asked to write a news story of no more than 500 words on this summer’s ‘24 Hours in Farming’ initiative.
Entries were judged by specialist training consultant and main course lecturer David Mascord and guest speaker Tim Relf, who recently left Farmers Weekly to become a freelance.
David commented in his summing-up: “The judges agreed that the winning news story, entitled ‘Farm24 bridges the rural isolation gap’, was the strongest entry by far. The article adopted a confident and authoritative tone and was well written.
“By choosing to focus on social media’s role in combating rural isolation, the writer successfully identified a strong news angle from the many activities that took place during the 24 Hours in Farming event.
“The article had a sound structure, was clear and easy to read and was suited to the target audience. The judges were also pleased that the writer approached two different sources for interviews and made very effective use of the quotes she selected for the story.
“As a result, the article met all the requirements of the award brief that the course members had been given. Overall this was an impressive entry.”
Charlotte has received a winner’s cheque from John Deere for £250, and was presented with a framed certificate and the John Deere trophy at the Guild’s Harvest Lunch at Painters’ Hall in London in October.
There was no runner-up this year, as the judges felt the rest of the entries were all of an equally good standard and they did not wish to select one particular piece above any other.
This was the Guild’s 25th John Deere Training Award, which started in 1991.
The course is based on two days of lectures on the basics of writing news and features and interviewing techniques, held at John Deere Limited’s UK headquarters in July, followed by three or more days of practical work experience with a range of farming and horticultural journals or communications businesses.
This year’s work experience placement hosts were CPM, Farmers Guardian, Farmers Weekly and NFU Publications.
The John Deere Training Award is designed to support the Guild in one of its principal aims – that of promoting schemes for the provision of suitable entrants into agricultural and horticultural journalism.
Since it began, more than 40 course members have found employment as in-house or freelance journalists on national farming and horticultural magazines or websites and with specialist PR companies (not including those already employed when they attended the course).
For details of the 2018 course, please contact Steve Mitchell of ASM Public Relations Ltd – telephone 01926 812210 or 07717 213182, or e-mail email@example.com.
Photo shows (l-r): John Deere Limited Training Centre manager Richard Halsall, Charlotte Cunningham and BGAJ chairman Ben Briggs, editor of Farmers Guardian.