A dozen aspiring journalists have completed the 2023 BGAJ John Deere Training Course, marking an important first step in their media careers.
The three-day event was led by journalism lecturer and trainer David Mascord, and was held at John Deere’s head office in Langar, Nottinghamshire.
The course focused on learning the basics of good journalism as well as more in-depth discussions on how to broaden writing styles, how to apply these skills to the world of farming, and the many opportunities that are available to those pursuing a career in and around agricultural journalism.
Three guest speakers took part, including journalist, editor, and communications advisor Jez Fredenburgh. A graduate of the course in 2012, Jez spoke at length about her experience in agricultural journalism and her exciting journey through different roles and places across the world.
Andrew Meredith, who has been editor of Farmers Weekly since 2021, won the BGAJ John Deere Training Award in 2016. He spoke about his own journey into agricultural journalism and sparked an open debate on the role of publications such as Farmers Weekly in the wider world of farming.
The final guest speaker was Ben Pike, director of agricultural PR and marketing agency Eve Communications. Ben gave an overview of agricultural PR and the role of communications specialists in helping journalists find stories and explore important themes, as well as outlining the challenges of retaining balance and integrity.
There were a number of tasks for the participants to complete during the course, with the primary task being a written assignment which involved producing a news story based on a press conference hosted by John Deere Tactical Marketing Manager, Chris Wiltshire. The piece could be on any aspect of what was discussed during the press conference, which included automation, electrification, and the wider impact of technology on sustainable farming.
The course wasn’t all learning and writing; participants enjoyed getting to know each other at a meal and drinks in Nottingham on Monday night.
The group also had a ride and drive experience with John Deere at Langar, with the opportunity to drive a range of tractors including a 6R 185, 7R 350, and a 410hp 8RX.
Participants will now complete work experience and compete for the 2023 John Deere Training Award, which requires the participants to submit a 500-word written news story for a chance to win £250 and a complimentary ticket to the BGAJ Harvest Lunch in London.
Chris Wiltshire said: “It was a huge privilege to host these trainees for three days. They were a bright and enthusiastic group who asked lots of probing questions and enjoyed getting to know each other socially.
“John Deere is extremely proud to play its part in helping aspiring journalists to get a foot on the ladder. So much is changing in farming, and at a huge pace, so we need bright individuals to immerse themselves in agriculture and help farm businesses navigate their way to a resilient and sustainable future.”