Monday, April 16, 2007

What do ag journalists need to know?

The Capital Press news staff, which is scattered in four Western states, will converge on Salem, Ore., next week for its annual spring gathering.

For two days, April 26 and 27, reporters and editors will meet to discuss what we do, how we do it and get some hands-on training.

Our staff members, collectively, has many years of experience using words and pictures to tell stories about agriculture. But in one of the sessions we will also discusses the explosion of other story-telling devices that the Internet now makes possible, including audio and video.

To be honest, I'm not sure what I want to share with the staff during my portion of that presentation. We don't have a budget to go out and do statistically valid studies of farmers, ranchers and other agriculture professionals, or folks who turn to the Internet for news about what's happening in agriculture. So, I'm hoping maybe you folks who have stumbled on this blog can share with us some information about what brought you here and how you use the Internet for information or entertainment.

When you read printed publications, do you look for information in stories you are interested in about how to get more information on that topic online? If so, what types of information will take you to a website to read more? Is it fill the full text of reports, legislation? Video of the story? Audio? Interactive maps?

How often do you go online? How much of your online time is spent looking for information on agriculture-related topics? What brought you here? Are you looking for information about specific crops? Livestock? Horses? Land conservation? Land use? Sustainability? Pesticides and herbicides? Outdoor recreation? Rural living? Rural property?

If you feel like sharing any information about what you look for online and why, it would be appreciated. You can just post a comment to this post.

If you had an opportunity to talk to agriculture journalists covering farm and ranch news in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and California, what would you want them to know? What would you tell these people about what you want to see online or in a print publication?

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