By Christy Couch Lee
AAEA board member Josh Flint vividly remembers his first Ag Media Summit. Fondly? Well, maybe not so much.
“I broke my foot the week before and flew to Texas in a boot,” he says with a laugh. “It was a hot week of lugging a broken leg around. That was not a lot of fun!”
Fortunately, his experience with AAEA – The Ag Communicators Network members was enough for Flint to see he had found “his people.” And he’s been involved ever since.
Flint graduated from Truman State University in 2004 and began his career with the Suburban Journals group. Two years later, he moved on to the Grain Journal. He then spent seven years at Prairie Farmer before taking on his current position of associate director of communications, talent acquisition and retention with The Maschhoffs in 2015.
How he got started in the agricultural communications industry? Flint says he somewhat fell into it.
“My first job was a traditional reporter and writer position at a local paper,” Flint says. “I then found a job with a trade publication that covered grain storage. Once I got into the routine of working with those in the ag industry, I didn’t want to leave. These are some of the most honest, hardworking folks I’ve met. They’re truly my kind of people.”
Flint credits his previous boss, Frank Holdmeyer, and his longtime mentor, Mike Wilson, for bringing him into the organization.
“I can thank Mike and Frank for all of the friendships I’ve formed from AAEA,” he says. “And the people and friendships are the most fun aspect of my involvement in the organization. The networking and learning are the most valuable aspects from a professional and career standpoint.”
Market consolidation is a concern within the agricultural communications industry, Flint says.
“Maintaining high-quality, objective journalism can be challenging when market consolidation is extensive. We’re seeing the same thing in the general media too,” he says.
As for the future of AAEA, Flint says, he foresees a slightly broadened membership definition.
“Electronic publishing has made it easier than ever to disseminate quality content,” he says. “As we look toward the future, we need to be accommodating with these new media platforms.”
Also looking to the future, Flint says, member involvement is critical. And the best way to get started is to simply give it a try.
“Find someone who is currently volunteering so they can expose you to what the workload is like,” he says. “That can help you determine if it’s something you want to take on. If you determine it’s for you, find a committee you’d like to be a part of and introduce yourself to the chairperson and tell them. Speaking of, if you have an interest in the Digital Social Media Committee, come find me at AMS.”