By Ryan Tipps, AgDaily.com, 2019 Cultivating Young Ag Journalist by Alltech Recipient
The people, the expo, the workshops –no two Ag Media Summits are going to look or feel the same. Factor in a missed year, like I had in 2018, and the 2019 AMS ushered in a refreshing energy and a new perspective on agriculture and the communicators who make up our industry.
This past July marked the third time I have attended the AMS, but never before had I connected with so many people or hauled home so many notes and insights from booths at the expo. My years at AMS put me in just the right place to navigate AMS and to know what to expect, but also still new enough to ag communication on a national scale to be curious about how the individual writers, editors and visual journalists approach their craft.
There are a diverse number of offerings at AMS, yet year after year, the workshops emerge as the most engaging element of the week. Two standouts that I attended this past July were:
- In Need of a Lifeline: Today’s Farmer Emotional Health Issues: A panel discussion that highlighted the fact that “You are not alone” in crisis and, more importantly, that this is a health message that needs to reach more in the agricultural community — not just the farmers, but also people such as bankers, veterinarians and others connected to us.
- Video Power in Your Pocket: A forward-looking workshop that showed just how versatile and capable smartphone video storytelling can be, and how social media and other digital platforms are incorporating more video production into their daily work.
These kinds of sessions are what make AMS a particularly valuable draw for a broad range of journalists — from college-age communicators to editors with 20-years’ experience and beyond.
Every one of us is rooted to this industry of ours, and it’s easy to feel relatively isolated 51 weeks out of the year, as we move forward telling agriculture’s story and trying to give a voice to rural America. We do it through our perspectives and based in our experiences and the story ideas of our colleagues. But then along comes that Week 52, where we see the breadth of many of us are contributing to that voice. We may use different platforms, different editorial tones, and different budgets, but we are that one voice that rural America needs to have. AMS gives us the opportunity to feel and come together as one.