Maintaining media interest in a pandemic

February 28, 2022

With tentative travel plans in the pipeline, the Fund is about to launch its Food Security Journalist award (stay tuned) but in the meantime, we are pleased to look back over 2021 at a few highlights of what we achieved in both traditional and social media coverage around food and nutrition security issues, our work and that of our partners.

We were extremely lucky, on the third attempt, to host our Annual Conference between COVID outbreaks in Canberra in December which allowed us to finish our year on a high. Food & Nutrition Security – The Biosecurity, Health, Trade Nexus was a very timely hybrid conference topic, exploring the specific risks to plant, animal, and human health; how these factors put global food and nutrition security in peril; and some of the emerging technological and management solutions available to overcome these threats. National and regional print and radio journalists interviewed a variety of speakers and a sample of coverage includes rural weekly papers, Grain Central, and National Commercial Rural News. The social media report for the event, shows some great reach and impressions.

We also received great interest in our hybrid event held in March, What Can Farmers Do? Farmer-led, science-based greenhouse gas mitigation strategies for Australia and abroad, attracting an online audience of around 400 from 25 overseas countries and from all over Australia, as well as key stakeholders involved in climate and agriculture policy and R&D. The workshop highlighted innovative farmer practices to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. Coverage in Beef and Grain CentralNational Commercial Rural NewsThe Wire on the national community radio network and on ABC Country Hour.

Once again, our outreach efforts involved a strong focus on our boosted NextGen program, and it resulted in a number of our past young scholars, student awardees and RAID members gaining critical media and communication exposure for their research and achievements in agricultural research for development. Hear or read about:

  • Our partnership with Generation Ag featuring our Career Pathways initiative
  • David, an ex-soldier taking a new path towards seaweed science
  • Valentin, a Crawford Fund Student Awardee and Scholar, working to improving the immune response of farmed fish by adding powdered seaweed to their diet.

Working with our international partners, we successfully promoted the links between millet consumption and reduced risk of diabetes – valuable research undertaken as part of the Smart Food Initiative led by the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT). Media coverage was achieved across the national rural weekly papers and in The Weekly Times, as well as the ABC, Devex, and radio outlets including 2GB.

We also worked to promote the work of Australia’s Dr Alison Bentley who took up the position of director of the Global Wheat Program at CIMMYT and the CGIAR Research Program on Wheat (WHEAT). News about the promise of germplasm research to help create better wheat varieties for farmers globally achieved coverage across Australia’s rural and regional networks including ABC Country Hour, National Commercial Rural News, Grain Central and rural weekly papers.

Our annual social media report shows growth across all our platforms in new followers, engagement, and reach.

We look forward to improving our impact in 2022 as we get back to having training overseas and journalist visits underway – spreading good news stories about agriculture for development and sharing our impact in training, mentoring, volunteering and outreach activities with you.

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