Freelance Charles Abel has been picked from a shortlist of five Guild members to take over as editor of the Farmers Club Journal.
He succeeds fellow Guild members Tony Collier, Derek Watson and Don Gomery – who edited the bi-monthly magazine for the past 10 years – at the reins of a publication that explores many aspects of farming as well as recording the club’s activities.
“It’s an honour and a privilege being chosen to serve this important farming body, particularly as it looks to enhance communications with over 5500 key industry thinkers,” comments Charles. “But the biggest appeal is the chance to take a strategic look at the issues facing farming, to get involved with some of the thought leadership for which the Farmers Club has rightly been recognised over the years. There are some great initiatives being planned, which will drive the Club’s reputation from strength to strength.”
The need for a new editor, following Don’s decision to retire from the post, was first advertised in the Guild’s November 2009 eAlert.
“The response we had was genuinely fantastic, with a lot of very talented individuals putting themselves forward,” says Farmers Club chief executive and secretary – and honorary Guild member Stephen Skinner. “That tells me that the standing of Journal is well established. The final run-off was extremely close but Charles edged it at the end.”
Guild member Anne Chamberlain, chairman of the club’s Journal and communications committee, says the decision to choose the Guild newsletter and website to advertise the post proved an excellent one.
“Website and eAlerts editor Peter Hill maintained the mutually beneficial relationship between the Guild and The Farmers Club by being very helpful with suggestions and prompt in his responses, especially as we wanted the advertisement to appear ‘yesterday’,” she comments. “Together with a later advertisement in Farmers Weekly, it produced about 30 applications – a dozen of which were considered for interview.
“All five shortlisted applicants interviewed are Guild members, all were more than capable of editing the Farmers Club Journal and had the people skills we sought, so the choice was a tough one,” she adds. “Charles Abel offered considerable experience of planning content and commissioning articles; breadth of knowledge on technical, political, economic and social issues in farming, food and countryside; and, as a member for many years, he also has considerable insight into the cub and its members’ needs.”
Charles has already taken up the post, which includes taking a fresh look at the club’s website content, and is enthusiastic about his new role.
“It is part time so fits well alongside existing commitments to media skills training, PR, editorial writing and video production, he says. “I’m really enjoying being back in an editor’s chair, it’s something I’ve missed a lot since leaving Farmers Weekly. And having been a club member since I was at University, I’ve seen the Journal evolve, and all the work Don has put in over the past 10 years, and Derek Watson before him. I’m very much looking forward to carrying their work forward.”
Article contributions, particularly on subjects related to the future of farming, are welcome. Contact Charles by email.