British Guild of Agricultural Journalists
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GAJ eAlert - March 2012

Insight into rural programming at the Beeb

Guild members enjoyed a visit to BBC Birmingham to hear about farming and rural affairs programming, visited The Archers recording studio and enjoyed an evening meal together as part of the annual general meeting programme, when they also voted through important changes to the Guild rules. Read full details here.

Regional journalism award – winner announced

The winner and runner-up in the Guild’s annual regional farming and rural affairs journalism award were revealed at the annual meeting – see the Stuart Seaton Award page on the Guild website.

International award deadlines

Sunday, April 1: IFAJ Star Prize for television, radio, online radio (podcasts) and online video broadcasts. Check entry requirements, including acceptable formats, on the IFAJ website and submit entries to Guild IFAJ representative Joe Watson so that a single Guild entry for each category can be selected.

Monday, April 2: IFAJ Star Prize, sponsored by John Deere, for articles of broad agricultural interest published in 2011. Entries to Guild secretary Clemmie Gleeson so an entry from the Guild can be selected. See IFAJ website for full details of qualifying articles and past winning entries.

Tuesday, May 1: IFAJ Star Prize for agricultural photography, sponsored by DeLaval. Members enter direct to award organiser Charl van Rooyen in South Africa, submitting one image in each of up to three categories – People, Production, Nature/Landscape. The IFAJ website has full details.

Year Book updates – deadline March 31

Guild Year Book editors Peter and Wendy Ryder of Lancer PR, are busy collating information for the annual Year Book. They ask all Members and Friends of the Guild to check their entries in the current publication for correct job information, postal address, email address and telephone numbers, as well as any information given on their professional interests and services, to ensure it is up to date.

They also ask Members and Friends who joined the Guild since last spring and who are not included in the current edition to complete the amendment form available to download here so that information on their professional interests can be included. All submissions by Saturday, March 31 please.

International news

The organisation that represents the interests and ambitions of agricultural journalists around the World – the IFAJ – has plans to expand its reach and influence, says its president, Mike Wilson.

“Right now, IFAJ membership is from 31 countries, only a small fraction of total nations, at a time when agricultural communicators worldwide play an increasingly important role in helping educate farmers about food production and consumers about agriculture," he points out.

“There are journalists who want to have a closer working relationship with IFAJ because they have very little in the way of training or resources, and often work in stressful conditions; we can learn much from each other.”

Read more about the IFAJ’s plan to include more rural journalist organisations without watering down its stance on the need for a free press here.

Farming in Sweden

A discounted fee for being part of this year’s IFAJ Congress in Sweden is available until the end of March. The Congress, which runs over four days in August (15-19), includes a choice of eight visits to see different aspects of farming and rural enterprise in the country. Depending on the hotel and accommodation chosen, fees start at £685, which includes all meals and travel within Sweden. Guild members can also take in a two-day visit to Finland before the main event or stay on afterwards for a study trip to Gothland in the Baltic Sea. Full details here.

Get a flavour of past Congresses here or talk to Guild chairman Adrian Bell or IFAJ representative Joe Watson about the value and enjoyment of an IFAJ congress experience.


Guild member Aly Balsom, livestock reporter on Farmers Weekly, has been selected from among several applications as the Guild’s candidate for an IFAJ/Alltech Young Leaders Award of €1000 (£830) towards the cost of attending the IFAJ Congress in Sweden. If her application is successful, Aly will join another nine young agricultural journalists from around the World and participate in a special training programme at the event.

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 Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) is recruiting a senior media officer to join the Corporate Communications team for 12 months until the end of March 2013. Based at Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire, the role will involve actively searching out stories on AHDB cross-sector working and value-for-money, and promoting them to trade, regional and national media, as well as key stakeholders including Government, as part of an overall stakeholder communications plan. A detailed job description is available from Guild member Guy Attenborough, AHDB head of communications. Applications close this Thursday – March 23.

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.

Having retired from her Woodcote Communications agency, Lindy Margach asks Guild members wishing to keep in contact to use her new Email address.

Guild Friend Ian Munnery has moved from Elsoms to SESVanderHave UK, the new sugar beet trials and seed supply business created in January this year, where he has been appointed director and general manager. His new contact details are: Grantham Road, Wellingore, Lincoln LN5 0HH1522 813862 Email

New members

Members who would like to invite colleagues and industry contacts to consider joining the Guild can download a 'benefits of membership' leaflet and an application form here. Alternatively, contact membership secretary Liz Snaith.

The Guild is delighted to welcome the following new Members…

Jacqueline Adamson, Photojournalist, The Scottish Farmer, 200 Renfield Street, Glasgow G2 3QB. Tel: 0141 302 7723 Email

Chris Lockwood, Freelance, Kimberley House, Blacksmith Road, Cotton, Stowmarket, Suffolk IP14 4QN. Mobile: 07845 701127 Email

Rhian Price, Reporter, Farmers Weekly / Poultry World, Quadrant House, The Quadrant, Sutton, Surry SM2 5AS. Tel: 0208 652 4927 Mobile: 07771 358446 Email

David Williams, Features Editor, Farmers Guide, Parkside, London Road, Ipswich, Suffolk IP2 0SS. Tel: 01473 691888 Email

Past members

News has emerged of the deaths of two past members of the Guild.

Alfred Hall, who died last September aged 97, was a freelance radio and television broadcaster and writer on rural topics for 25 years. He contributed under the pen name Countryman to the West Cumberland Times. He wrote a book about farm life in Cumbria, as well as two on the art of ploughing, and worked on the production of country life films.

Robin Corbett, who died in February aged 78, worked in several posts on Farmers Weekly in the late 60s and early 1970s, including political correspondent. He was later elected Labour MP for Hemel Hempstead and campaigned on animal welfare, and later became life peer, as Lord Corbett of Castle Vale. A full obituary was published in The Guardian.

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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