By Mike Wilson
The Ag Comm Network’s Special Interest Groups are under new leadership – along with a new broader plan for the Editor SIG to help serve more members.
Former SIG coordinator Gil Gullickson, with Meredith AgriMedia, serves as AAEA vice president/president elect. Nebraska Farmer editor Tyler Harris has taken on the position of SIG coordinator.
“The SIGs provide a place where people sharing the same passions can get together and discuss certain issues and challenges within their respective beats,” he says.
Tyler encourages each SIG to host more educational webinars. “I’m hoping that two per year for each SIG is manageable, but I’m always open to suggestions, and am available for any tips or help needed for planning these,” he says. Reach Tyler at: Tyler.email@example.com.
At last fall’s AAEA board meeting the group agreed to broaden the Editor SIG to include both associate and editorial members. This means exciting opportunities for editors to meet as a whole or in smaller groups, as needed. The Editor SIG will be co-chaired by Meredith executive editor Betsy Freese and Shauna Hermel, editor at Angus Media.
The ‘commercial’ editor SIG subgroup will serve those who work for publications that take paid advertising or subscriptions, says Betsy. “This will be a place where editors can talk about advertising pressures, reader needs, profit demands, publisher issues, journalism ethics, and other relevant topics.”
For associate members, explains Shauna, “we can address what our allegiance to a breed, brand or cause means to our role and the way we do our jobs. Many of our associate members work for entities that are association-owned and work in smaller shops. We can talk about how that compares to corporate ownership and what it means to perspective.”
The SIGs are designed to provide professional development opportunities, not to define where people work, notes AAEA past president and Seed World media editor Julie Deering.
“As an editor, I could and should be a member of multiple SIGs,” she says. “I need to improve my skills and discuss or hear issues of editors, writers, photographers, etc. Who knows, maybe as a member of the freelance SIG, I’ll pick up a few ideas on how to better work with them, that would set me apart from other publications. “The skills and issues we face in both editor SIG groups are much more similar than different,” adds Julie. “The key to success is making sure we allow time at AMS for a face-to-face meeting of all the SIGs to openly talk about issues of today and how to navigate them.”