Telling our stories while conveying a positive image of agriculture to the media and the general public should be a goal of every Farm Bureau member. Is it a challenging goal? Absolutely. Getting the media interested in and listening to the stories of agriculture requires skills and experience beyond just living or working on a farm.
It is because of this challenging goal that the INFB marketing team has launched a media training series that is exclusive to Farm Bureau members.
Chief marketing director Debra DeCourcy and public relations manager Molly Zentz hosted their first training in February 2018 for INFB’s District 3 counties. Since then they’ve hosted media trainings for Farm Bureau members in Fulton, Kosciusko and Marshall counties, as well as a custom training for the 2018 graduating class of Purdue University veterinary medicine students. The two women are skilled and experienced in working with media – they each hold degrees in communications and have worked for several PR agencies throughout their careers.
The training session, titled “Media Training 101,” is focused on providing participants with two main takeaways: an understanding of how the media work, and the tools needed to give a successful media interview. Participants are instructed on everything from how to “pitch” a story idea to a reporter to ensuring their key message is relayed when being quoted. Participants begin by doing a mock interview on camera and then finish by watching the recording of that interview and are provided with useful tips to help them improve their delivery.
“In a mock interview setting, I always tell people it’s less about exactly what you say when practicing and more about the manner in which you say it,” Zentz explained. “That’s what we practice in the training – how to prepare for and conduct a successful interview. The actual topic of each interview will vary, but if you have the skills down, you’ll be one step ahead.”
DeCourcy and Zentz have already started planning more media trainings for 2019. The sessions are typically held for entire districts or for multiple counties at once. Participants are often county Farm Bureau board members, but any member who is passionate about being a spokesperson for agriculture is encouraged to take part.
For more information or to request this training in your area, contact your regional manager. A full list of regional managers is available online or by calling your county office.