It almost sounds too good to be true, with farmers often feeling the general public is uninformed and uninterested in agriculture, but urban media outlets are realizing stories about farming and food resonate with their audiences.
Whether it’s the ‘wow’ factor, interesting personal stories, great visuals, or top-of-mind topics related to our own health or the environment, agriculture has plenty to offer.
“A lot of times it’s telling the story through food,” says Ed Cassavoy, director of reader engagement for the Toronto Star and its Metro newspapers, in this interview filmed at CropConnect in Winnipeg.
Hang on. What was a Toronto-based manager at Canada’s largest daily newspaper doing at a farm show on the Prairies?
Cassavoy was in Winnipeg together with University of Guelph research communications director (and RealAg contributor) Owen Roberts, taking in CropConnect and speaking to students in the University of Manitoba’s agriculture faculty.
“We have a partnership where we’re really trying to get ag journalism, ag writing and the ag world into the mainstream, urban markets,” Roberts says. “We’re speaking to urban, younger, Millennial audiences and trying to get them to connect with the world of agriculture, which is sometimes right outside their doorstep…”
They both stopped by our little ‘studio’ at CropConnect to chat about why urban/mainstream media outlets are interested in farming, what they’re looking for, and how farmers can help foster increased coverage of farm-related issues:
- If farmers are advocates for agriculture, should the media follow suit?
- Exhibit A: How Far Agriculture Has to Go to Reconnect with Consumers
- Outreach and a History Lesson: The BSE Crisis, the Local Food Movement & Telling Our Story