Choice Words

What you say can change someone’s perspective on life. What matters even more is how you say it.

 

A professor of mine, who actually falls in my college which is the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources here at MU, had some advice to share with our class today. As we were adjourned for class he had a few words of “wisdom” from which I was taken aback.  He said, “Don’t eat red meat! It’s bad for you!”

 

Now, little miss beef girl over here thought it was pretty hard to sit still in her seat. Good thing we had the opportunity to leave. What I do regret is not correcting him.

 

In Monday’s lecture, we had guest speakers which were a select group of students who presented about the effectiveness of social media. They reminded us about the power it has and how it is to remove things that may have an impact on your career life in the future. I feel like this is drilled into our heads as students very frequently. However, they have a very valid point.

 

In agriculture, we are outnumbered by the amount of bad advertising through social media. It is very overwhelming how many different activists express their opinion. These strong opinions range from animal rights to GMO’s, and from CO2 to runoff. It is hard for people in ag to monitor and correct these different opinionated posts. So as an “agvocate” myself I strongly regret not taking the final step, especially in person, to discuss and correct his misconceptions about red meat.

 

Remind you, this professor is old. I would guess around the age of 85. Despite his age, he is one fiery old man who loves to express his opinion. His class is composed of multiple presentations from every student in the class and they have to choose a controversial topic and make their case to him. Sadly, I didn’t hear any presentations about beef today but somehow he felt compelled to tell us that red meat was bad.

 

SO! for any of you readers, or journalism professors by golly… here are the FACTS about red meat and why it is important to a balanced diet. 

Let’s just say my professor will be hearing from me very soon, perhaps receiving an email filled with beef nutritional facts will help him keep his opinionated mouth closed, especially at a university setting. The proper research has been done about beef and red meat for health in general and I find it hard personally not to take these facts into consideration.

 

Beef is a great source of zinc, iron and protein as well as a lean choice! Here are some more facts about the nutrients one can get from incorporating beef into your daily diet.

 

Well, till next time. Meanwhile, I expect all of you to eat a big juicy steak.

 

-TAL

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Communicating With A Purpose

Strategic. Decisive. Pivotal. Urgent.

 

To be all of these words, you need to know where you’re going. Perhaps even have a game plan on how to get there. In lecture on Monday in my Multimedia Journalism class we had a few guest speakers on different tracks we can follow for our studies in the J School. One of them was the Strategic Communications track.

 

I decided on this track to be the one I follow after understanding what a strategic communicator does, which is to communicate over a short or long span of time with goals, strategies and an idea which they can manipulate to serve their audience or client to reach their ideal audience. Basically, we want to make sure everyone is on the same page.

 

Now how does the start comm track relate to my major, science and agricultural journalism? –It relates perfectly.

 

In agriculture and science, we have menu controversial topics hitting the news at all times. We often get bashed by consumer reports and critics, who enjoy telling us how to do our job. We are bashed by criticism by those who do not support our industry and questioned by those who are unsure. We need a strategic communications plan in the agriculture industry. We have to analyze our audience, develop a purpose to communicate, and ensure that our audience understands what we are talking about.

 

Our audience is often lost by the jargon and terms we use and different practices they misunderstand. My goal as a future strategic communicator is to 1.) tell our story (as if you haven’t heard this one ;] ) 2.) and tell this story with clarity so it is transparent for any consumer to understand. I completely understand the importance of slowing down and taking the time to help others grasp the purpose of our industry.

 

Honestly, I feel like we lack support because we are not willing to slow down and take the time to explain what we do and how we do it, especially the most important one WHY we do these things we do here in ag! We would have many more supporters of our products and our industry if we took the time to share our love and passion with them and slow our roll to help them grasp our complicated tasks and responsibilities.

 

In reality, they don’t understand. In reality, it’s mostly our fault.

 

Thank goodness for strat comm. Strategtic Communications is the most important track here in the Missouri School of Journalism. That means we will have many students willing to work to communicate effectively to consumers all around the world–now the hard part–helping them understand agriculture too and trusting them to tell our story. Many of my ag journalism friends are strat comm because they recognize the need and importance of this track. I look forward to starting these classes in the fall and hope to prepare myself to tell the world about agriculture in the future.

 

-TAL

 

Check out Buzzard’s Beat Blog for some cool agricultural topics going on!

http://buzzardsbeat.blogspot.com/2013/03/chipotle-not-that-natural.html

Convergence Journalism

I am just about snowed out. I don’t know about you… but three days off of school REALLY messes up my schedule. However, I am not complaining about the lazy snow days here at MU. Now, if I was at home it would be a different story.

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Credit: University of Illinois Extension

But aside from me missing my cattle at home, I have found a new love while here at MU–convergence journalism. As we discussed in my Multimedia Journalism class lecture on Monday, it is an up-beat, fast-paced version of the class I am taking right now.

 

What does “convergence” mean? Well, convergence is the use of media with video and audio. In these pieces, we combine good sound bites with voice overs and pair it with broil and maybe even music to make a well-rounded piece that is easy for viewers to understand.

 

I work for MU Extension Cooperative Media Group and we produce about two convergence pieces per week about current topics in agriculture, MU or extension here in Missouri. I find these fun and fascinating to do because when you are through with all the editing and the shooting of interviews and broil–this convergence piece is something to be proud of.

 

These are great for social media and they are shared on Facebook, Twitter and Youtube all the time. Many agriculture communications firms compile these videos because they are a great way to share stories in agriculture. In the future, I hope to incorporate convergence journalism into my career and utilize it, whether it be about a client I am serving at an ag communications firm, or about my life at home on the farm or ranch.

 

These are the simplest ways to share our story-why not take advantage of this opportunity!?

 

-TAL