The world of agricultural communications is filled with opportunity, but more than that it is a community of people who all share the same passion. In my experience, writing for a newspaper, discussing general issues versus writing for an agricultural audience is completely different. While I enjoy writing for the newspaper covering different news stories, I really enjoy writing about agricultural issues targeted towards the agricultural community. I feel they are so much more appreciative of your work. I’m sure anyone working in agricultural communications can relate to this as they find themselves dealing with similar issues. One such journalist, Josh Flint, who is the editor of Prairie Farmer will be honored at the Illinois Commodity Conference on November 22 as he will receive the ‘Excellence in Media Award’ distributed by the Illinois Corn Growers Association.
Flint grew up in Rolla, Missouri which is about 100 miles southwest of St. Louis. Growing up in an agricultural environment, he wasn’t expecting to end up with a career in agricultural communications. He graduated from Truman State University with a degree in journalism. Flint had dreams of writing for a large daily newspaper, but as time went on he realized he wanted to write for a more tailored audience. Farm publications seemed to be a natural place forFlintto be as he grew up around agriculture and the values/morals of that particular community have been instilled within him.
Flint really enjoys the writing and photography aspect of his job. To take a story, to interview multiple sources, to discover the different entry points for the reader, and to take the photographs to go along with it is what Flint truly enjoys about his job. He explained how he fits right into the agriculture community.
“When I got into this industry I knew it was a great opportunity, but I have really been overwhelmed with just how tremendous, not just the farmers, but everyone in this industry is. It is one big group and whether it is a seed company, commodity group, a farmer, an equipment manufacturer, everyone is so nice. There is just a sense of community. Once you get into ag communications, I can see why people have stayed in the industry for 30 years because it is hard to leave. You feel like these are your friends, they’re not just your co-worker. In news writing, you worry about burning bridges with sources, but I have never once thought about that because everyone is so nice and friendly that you’d hate to do that because you’re friends with them. It really is a great community,” Flint said.
Flint also said, for all you future journalists out there, that publications are expecting you to be able to do everything. What you’re told in class is true, editors want you to know how to write, edit, take pictures, shoot video, and utilize social media. This isn’t so much true for the larger publications as it is for smaller staffed publications, but it is still important to have experience with every aspect of communication.
Josh and his wife, Tiffany, currently live in St. Clair County. He covers the entire state of Illinois talking with farmers and attending agricultural conferences.
Listen to my interview with Josh here!