British Guild of Agricultural Journalists
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GAJ eAlert - February 2012

Visit to BBC Birmingham - rural affairs programming

Guild Members and Friends are invited to visit BBC Birmingham at The Mailbox on Thursday, March 15 to hear first-hand about the BBC's food, farming and countryside programmes and visit the recording studios where they are made.

Hosted by Fran Barnes, Editor of BBC Radio 4 Programmes, we will meet members of the BBC’s rural affairs team, to learn more about programme making and the current reporting strategy.

The line-up is expected to include the editors of Farming TodayOn Your FarmThe Food Programme and Costing the Earth. Angela Frain, producer of Farming Today and On Your Farm will also be present, and we will hear from senior producer, Steve Peacock, now agricultural story editor for The Archers.

This exclusive visit is part of the Guild's annual meeting programme - it will be preceded by the Midlands region and National AGMs, giving members a first-hand opportunity to hear more about Guild activities over the past year and planned for future months.

After the BBC visit, at approximately 7pm, Guild Members and Friends can meet for drinks in the bar of the Malmaison Hotel in The Mailbox and enjoy supper in the private room of the Malmaison Brasserie for a convivial close to the day– prices are typically £20-£25/head, excluding drinks, for a British classic menu.

Formal Notice – Annual General Meeting 2012

The 69th Annual General Meeting of the Guild of Agricultural Journalists of Great Britain will be held at 4pm on Thursday, March 15, 2012 – registration and tea/coffee from 3.30pm.

The meeting will be held in Mal Four on the first floor of the Malmaison Hotel, The Mailbox, One Wharfside Street, Birmingham B1 1RD.

Main business will be to hear and approve the annual report and accounts, and to elect the Guild President, Chairman, Chaplain and Auditors. Any member wishing to put a Motion to the meeting must submit it in writing (in print or by email) to the Guild secretary at least 21 days beforehand (ie by February 23). The secretary would also welcome before the meeting apologies for absence and a note of any issues a member may wish to raise under any other business.

The programme includes a short presentation by event sponsor, global farm machinery manufacturer AGCO, maker of Masssey Ferguson, Challenger, Fendt and Valtra equipment.

Clemmie Gleeson, Secretary, Guild of Agricultural Journalists of Great Britain, 1 Rose Villa, Anchor Road, Spa Common, North Walsham, Norfolk NR28 9AJ. Tel: 01692 402313 Email

Directions/Parking: A location map and directions are available here. There is ample parking on the lower floors of The Mailbox and nearby at the NCP car park. The nearest train station is New Street Birmingham, which is just a 10 minute walk from The Mailbox.

Regional publication/journalist award - deadline February 24

Guild awards secretary Doreen Forsyth makes a final call for entries to the Guild's Stuart Seaton Award for excellence in the reporting of farming and rural affairs in a regional newspaper. For details, see the Awards section of the Guild website.

Subscriptions for 2012

All being well, Guild subscriptions for 2012 were collected by Direct Debit on February 14 – £66 for Members and Friends, and £33 for those who have applied for Retired status. Receipts will be available from the treasurer, Tim Price, from the end of March once correct payments for all members have been confirmed. Please contact Tim in the meantime with any subscription payment queries.

Food, farming and forestry in Sweden

Registration for this year’s IFAJ Congress in Sweden has opened with a discounted fee available until March 10. The full rate for the Congress, which runs over four days from August 15 to 19, starts at around £690 including accommodation and all meals and travel between arrival to departure. Advice on getting to the Stockholm venue is provided on the Congress website.

The event itself will involve 200 journalists from around the World and offers a choice of eight visits to learn about different aspects of farming and rural enterprise in Sweden. Guild members can also join a two-day visit to Finland before the Congress, or stay on afterwards for a trip to Gothland, the biggest island of Sweden situated in the Baltic Sea.

Full details here, where the Swedish agri journalists’ organisation hosting the event have added more information about travel and activities. Please let the Guild secretary know if you plan to go so that, if appropriate, travel arrangements can be co-ordinated with other delegates.

Jobs & Recruitment

Vacant positions are mentioned in Guild eAlerts as a service to members but a recruitment advertising service is also available to organisations that wish to put full details about a post in front of the Guild's 450 members involved in journalism and commercial communications. More details about this service are available on the website here.

The British Grassland Society wants to appoint an experienced communicator with technical ability as its director.

A deputy arable editor is being recruited for Farmers Weekly and Crops. Details have been circulated to Guild members and can be read in the eAlerts Archive on the website.

Year Book updates

Update the Guild Year Book with the new job, location and contact details noted here, as well as any new member listings below. Earlier updates can be found in the eAlerts Archive section of the Guild website.

Guild member Mary-Vere Parr has a new phone number - 01264 730346.

Check Year Book details

The Year Book editors Wendy and Peter Ryder are beginning to compile the 2012/13 edition. All Members and Friends who joined since the current edition was published last May should download a form to submit the details they would like included. Members and Friends who already have their details in the Year Book should check their entries for accuracy and use the same form to notify by March 31 any changes needed, such as postal and email addresses, employer, and telephone numbers, etc.

New members

Members who would like to invite colleagues and industry contacts to consider joining the Guild can contact membership secretary Liz Snaith.

What's on the Guild website?

Three new events have been added to the comprehensive listing of agricultural shows, conferences and technical events - the Welsh Farm Machinery Show at Builth Wells, Powys; Agri-Expo, at the Kent County Showground; and Welsh Grassland 2012, also being staged in Powys. Find the Industry Events Calendar under 'Events' on the Guild website.

On the website News pages ……

Jane Craigie learns more about political contacts

Farmers Weekly recruits Guild training course student

Young farmers film premiere in Hereford

New owner planned for Farmers Guardian

More farming content in The Courier

Recollections of a photography career from Peter Adams

Lindy Margach retires from journalism and PR career

Guild members launch show and sales website

Geoff Hilton

Send in your news 

Please send any career news, publication/website launches or redesigns, agency appointments, award wins and campaigns, etc, to website and eAlerts editor Peter Hill.



Johann Tasker

01206 263807


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