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Barn on a New Day

What an honor it is to receive the “Best of the Bunch” award. There are always such amazing photos at AMS and it is quite humbling to be recognized among such talent.

Erin Worrell

Although it is hard to visualize from the blue sky and white clouds in the photo, dark storm clouds were building all around the park this particular morning. A long thick set of clouds blocked the direct sunrise light for about 20 minutes. I was with a small group of fellow photographers and we kept hoping (yet doubting) we would have the direct light needed to really warm up the scene. The sun eventually rose just over the clouds to light the barn as you see it, although it was about 15 minutes after I would have preferred it.

It is difficult to plan around the weather for ideal landscape photography, especially when traveling, so I try to be flexible in what I can do with the scene as I’m taking the photo and options for post processing. This photo is straight out of the camera with no enhancements, but as we were standing there, waiting for the clouds to clear behind us, I thought of how I could add warmth if we didn’t get sunlight or convert the image to black and white and really play with the moodiness of it.

I happen to love barns and would have willingly photographed this one on a day with no clouds and likely would have been pleased with the result. But I was with a small group and they wanted to wait one more day and hope for just the right amount of clouds. The two mornings prior had clear blue skies and the two mornings after, fog, mist and clouds blocked the view of the Tetons behind. So the risk paid off!

I try to do a photo workshop every year because it challenges me to try something different and allows the time to focus and learn from exceptional photographers. This group was more of a tour and did not offer any classroom instruction or post processing assistance. However, I was still able to share ideas and learn new techniques from others.

Interesting notes about the T.A. Moulton barn and the nearby John Moulton barn:

  • They are not marked on the National Park Service map of Grand Teton National Park (but they were on the map from the renal car company!). The NPS map only shows the road they are on: “Mormon Row,” which is easy to find.
  • The barns are a major attraction for groups, so if you’d like to photograph them without tourists, get there early. On the days I was there, buses started arriving soon after 8am.
  • In peak season expect to stand among several photographers. If you want the view with the cottonwood tree in the foreground plan to arrive well before sunrise to claim your space.

Erin Worrell's photo was named overall winner in this year's Best of the Bunch Photo Contest at Ag Media Summit.

 

For those interested in the technical details, here you go:

Camera body: Canon 5d Mark III, mounted on a tripod

Lens: Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L II USM

Settings: 28mm, 1/200 sec at f/6.3, ISO 100

In the words of Ansel Adams, “The single most important component of a camera is the twelve inches behind it.” So apply what you know, learn something new and share the amazing story of agriculture through photos every chance you get.

-Erin Worrell

 

 

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Rave reviews for LPC intern

 

Each year summer proves to be a busy time at Hereford Publications Inc. as the editorial team is in full swing producing the Hereford World’s annual Herd Bull and Reference edition and the creative services group is planning for fall sale catalogs and marketing pieces.

In May we were excited to welcome our LPC student intern, Kayla Wilkins from Texas Tech University, because, well, we needed the help!

Kayla on the job, interviewing the National Junior Hereford Association board chairman for a story.

While the internship provides many learning opportunities, we have high expectations of our students to output quality work, interact warmly and professionally with our members and Hereford breeders and have a great attitude along the way.

Hosting the LPC internship program gave us a more diverse pool of qualified, hard-working applicants which was both wonderful and challenging…it made our task of selecting an intern that much more difficult!

Kayla fits in great with our team and brings many fresh ideas — which is just another perk of having an intern.

Kayla has easily made friends around the office, doesn’t know a stranger and has this positive outlook on life that is contagious. However, my favorite part about having her in the office is she’s always suggesting a stop for ice cream…and who can argue with that?

Looking forward to what the rest of the summer brings!

Julie White

Editor, Hereford World

p.s.—LPC members: If getting more summer help (on us!) while supporting a budding ag communicator sounds like something you’re interested in for 2017, be sure to fill out the host application ASAP. It’s due July 15.

 

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More Bang for your Editorial Buck

 

Maximizing content and telling the best story in all the right places can be a never-ending battle in the editorial world. Holly Spangler, Prairie Farmer editor, is here to help you figure out how to tell a story across different platforms. Join Holly on June 14 in Manhattan, Kansas, at the LPC Regional Workshop and learn how to get “More Bang for your Editorial Buck.” Holly will kick off the regional workshop at 9 a.m.

She will highlight ways to tell a story using several mediums: Print, online, blog, podcast and video. If on a daily basis you edit, write or produce content of any kind, then this is the place for you to learn and explore new ideas. The session will also help marketers and public relations professionals who pitch story ideas to content producers.

“We’ll sort through different ways to divide up a story and how to decide what should go where. We’ll also invite examples from the audience – bring your story topic and potential sources, and we’ll talk through a plan to execute that story,” Holly says.

Holly is no stranger to the world of agriculture or the world of news. She grew up on farm in southern Illinois, raising corn, soybeans and purebred Shorthorn cattle. Today she, her husband and three kids live in western Illinois where they farm with her husband’s parents, raising corn and soybeans, and operating a commercial cattle herd.

“I think growing up on a farm and being currently involved in producing food and fiber helps me to filter what our readers want and need to know, and when they need to know it,” Holly says.

It’s simple to see that Holly has the know-how, the expertise and the excitement to help you get “more bang for your editorial buck.”

Join LPC at the regional workshop and hear from Holly and many other agricultural professionals. If you are unable to attend Holly’s session, she will be happy to share her presentation. Please contact her at holly.spangler@penton.com.

-Jeralyn Novak, Communications Coordinator, Beefmaster Breeders United

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Join us in Manhattan!

 

Make plans to be in Manhattan, Kansas, June 14 for the LPC Regional Workshop! Zoetis is the major sponsor of this educational event, which is being held just prior to the start of the Beef Improvement Federation Annual Convention.

Highlighting the program for the LPC workshop will be a session on how to get the biggest bang for your editorial buck. Prairie Farmer Editor Holly Spangler will discuss how she utilizes all media outlets to get the most out of every story she writes. She will provide tips on how to take a topic and make it fit various formats, including a publication, blog, podcast, etc.

Attendees also will hear from experts on how to simplify complex subject matter. Kent Andersen, Zoetis Director of Genetics Technical Services, will discuss the importance of choosing your words wisely, knowing your audience and communicating key takeaways when explaining technical subject matter. A panel of professional journalists will explain how they take highly technical topics and transform them into understandable and educational articles for ranchers, farmers and the consuming public. The panel will consist of Greg Henderson, Farm Journal Media/Drovers editorial director; Miranda Reiman, Certified Angus Beef assistant director industry relations; and Sarah Hancock, technical writer, Office of the Vice President for Research at Kansas State University.

If you have questions about video equipment/editing software, writing for social media, creating digital graphics or media analytics, you will not want to miss the roundtable portion of the workshop. In addition, a progress report on the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility will be provided by Marty Vanier and Angus Genetics Inc. President Dan Moser will explain how ranchers are incorporating genomic information into genetic evaluation of beef cattle.

The regional workshop is set to begin with registration at 8:30 a.m. at the International Grains Program Conference Center and end with Call Hall ice cream at 3:45 p.m. Register today by emailing dianej@flash.net!

-Scarlett Hagins, LPC Vice President

 

 

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Student Section: Millennials: 5 Tips for Working with Baby Boomers and Gen-X

 

I am a proud member of Generation Y, not ashamed that I grew up using computers and the internet. If you’re a college student reading this, you are most likely a member of Gen-Y, too, so go ahead and work your “Millennial” label to your advantage.

Generally speaking, as you enter the workforce, you may be at an advantage because our generation is more tech-savvy than previous ones. But even though you have fresh ideas and can work Photoshop like a pro, that doesn’t mean you will (or should try to) take over the business in one week. You have to build and maintain relationships with your managers, coworkers and mentors who are Gen-X and Boomers, and that takes time. You can’t Google yourself out of this problem, no matter how hard you try.

I graduated from college five years ago and since then I have learned first-hand what it takes to build relationships across different generations within a workplace. For each year I have been learning, I will provide a tip to you, my fellow Millennial, on how to work alongside Boomers and Gen-X.

1. Gen-X and Boomers had to “learn the hard way.” Do not be discouraged if you feel your manager is holding back information. They want you to experience learning the way they did. Be resourceful. Today we can all gain quality information quickly, with the world at our fingertips. They had to talk to peers, use trial and error or go to a library.

2. Boomers appreciate real live conversations. I have been guilty of communicating all too often via email or text, but nothing can replace what happens when you are face-to-face or having a real conversation with someone. Do more of this and think before you send that next email. Ask yourself, would this be more effective if discussed live?

3. Boomers do not always adapt well to change. Many of the Boomers have stayed in the same role most of their lives. Remember this when you spring on that new idea to completely change a process that has been in place for several years. One, they may actually have valid reasons to resist change and two, even if you are totally on target it may take more time and information for your manager to come around.

4. Gen-X and Boomers may not be as used to collaboration as are Millennials. Millennials are on the “we” team and generally prefer to solve problems and work in teams whereas some Boomers and Gen-Xers are used to doing much on their own. I’ve experienced push back in the past when scheduling a team meeting to talk about solving a client problem. In hindsight, I realize they did not understand why I couldn’t solve that on my own. Also, a Gen-X or Boomer manager is not going to act like a helicopter parent. They tend to be entrepreneurial thinkers and results-oriented, so they may not tell you how to do every step of the job.

5. For many Boomers and Gen-Xers, work has been/is their number one priority. Do not be upset if you aren’t greeted with excitement when you ask to take that two-week vacation to clear your head. They built their career with the mindset that work comes first.

Lastly, as more Boomers work past retirement age, and tech-savvy millennials continue to graduate and enter the workforce, differences in values, communication styles and work habits of each generation are becoming increasingly pronounced. However, it is important to remember that each generation brings their own set of work skills and knowledge to the table. A successful team should be a melting pot of different generations working towards a common goal. While you are proud to be a member of Gen-Y, make sure you build those relationships with others and you will be surprised at what other generations will teach you.

-Jeralyn Novak, Communications Coordinator, Beefmaster Breeders United

 

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Hereford, here I come

 

Summer cannot come soon enough for me this year. I will have Lubbock, Texas, in my rear view mirror as I begin a new adventure with Hereford Publications Inc. in Kansas City, Missouri. To say I am excited is an understatement.

My story is similar to that of many in our industry as I grew up showing livestock and heavily active in 4-H and FFA in my hometown, Poteet, Texas. After graduating high school in 2013, I was anxious to leave South Texas and start my agricultural communications degree at Texas Tech University.

I am now a junior at Tech and keep busy between student organizations on campus, writing for our college’s news center and internship opportunities. I have gained experience in many facets of the communications field with my internships thus far at the Sorghum Checkoff and the State Fair of Texas.

In those roles I wrote articles for print and online platforms, designed graphics, explored photography and videography, and worked toward increasing our social media presence. I am grateful to have worked with such talented professionals and learned as much as I have about the agriculture industry and effective communication strategy.

I have yet to gain experience working in the cattle industry, so that is what I am most looking forward to this summer. Beyond that, I am eager to learn from a talented group of individuals at Hereford and pair that with my current knowledge to be a valuable asset to the team.

Upon graduation in May 2017, I hope to attend graduate school in agricultural communications and ultimately pursuing a career in this field. I have a vested interest in the agriculture industry and a passion for using my story to more effectively communicate our industry to others. Needless to say, this new adventure with Hereford will only aid in reaching that goal.

See you in May, Kansas City!

-Kayla Wilkins, 2016 LPC summer intern for Hereford Publications Inc.

 

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The gal behind the e-mail

 

If you don’t know Grace Taylor, she doesn’t mind.

The Texas Tech University grad, mother of three, works for LPC Executive Director Diane Johnson. She’s the e-mail list organizer and the contest entry collector. She’s the question answerer and problem solver.

If you’re in LPC, I guarantee Grace has helped you out.

As Diane puts a face to the organization, Grace is her behind-the-scenes support. In a two-person office, teamwork like theirs is both a necessity and a treasure, but it might have never happened if not for the “magic of the universe,” Grace says.

After a stint as the city/county editor at a small-town daily newspaper, Grace landed a job working on the magazine at the Texas Longhorn Breeders Association. It was the kind of job she dreamed of, growing up the youngest of four on her family’s Hereford ranch near Comanche, Texas.

Grace’s three older brothers and nine cousins were vying for their place on that operation.

“I always thought communications was my niche to continue being involved,” she says.

Grace may have stayed if not for twins, who arrived 11 weeks early.

That time of her life is both a poignant memory and a blur. Her 2 lb. 2 oz. son Reid and 2 lb. 10 oz. daughter Ella Grace were in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) for seven weeks. They joined big brother Landon at home.  She doesn’t regret a moment of staying home to care for them, but as they headed off to school a few years ago Grace wanted something more.

It turns out, Diane Johnson was thinking the same thing.

The two clicked. Grace technically works for Details by Design, but her main assignment is all things LPC. She enjoys the flexibility of the position and when asked about her favorite part, “Working with Diane,” is the instant reply.

That’s quickly followed by a deep appreciation for the organization. We’re her people.

“Everyone wants to make it better. Everyone is really positive and passionate about ag communications,” she says.

If you need help with your Ag Media Summit registration or call to change your directory listing, chances are you might get Grace. And you’ll be glad you did.

I truly believe there is no one else who means it more when than Grace when she says, “I am always happy to do whatever because I love LPC!”

–Miranda Reiman, LPC board member and Student Development Committee chair

 

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Student Section: Tips for stronger writing

 

As an editor, I get to see a lot of great writing. I like noticing certain writers’ styles, and even taking bits here and there to enhance my own style. I’m still pretty new to this, having been at Angus Media for only four years, but that’s been enough time to learn some tools of the trade. If you keep these tips in mind, it will certainly help you stand out to editors and look more professional in your writing.

1. Clarity — Write to make your reader understand your point, not just so you sound important.

2. Concise — Don’t use five words when you can use three. Your reader will appreciate not having to wade through all the flowery verbiage. A big example one of my professors gave was using and instead of as well as. Using and gets to your point quicker. A similar example is utilize and use. Utilize sounds “important,” but I suggest using it sparingly. Remember that synonyms do not always mean the same things, so make sure you’re using the word that should really be used.

3. Punctuation — Understand that correct punctuation makes your writing easier to read. Too many or too few commas (two of the most mistakes I see as an editor) can confuse your reader. Take the time to understand correct punctuation.

4. Don’t write like you speak — Writing should be more formal than speaking. It doesn’t have to read like a master’s thesis, but it should have complete sentences. It’s really easy to think a long sentence (most often a list) counts as a complete sentence, but that’s not always true. Size does not negate structure. Granted, you can still have some of your “voice” in the writing as long as the structure is correct.

5. Don’t start a sentence with a conjunction — When we speak, we use conjunctions to start sentences to finish our previous thoughts. However, writing should be more formal than speaking, so do not start your written sentences with “and,” “but” or “or.” Yes, I know, technically, AP Style allows it now. However, if you choose to use them to start your sentence, do it sparingly. Excessive conjunction-starting sentences just look sloppy, because most the time, they aren’t actually complete sentences.

6. Punctuation goes inside quotations — When you are quoting your source, just remember that the punctuation of the last sentence still goes inside the quotation mark. For example: “Wow, the sky is really blue today,” she said. It just looks weird if you write: “today”, she said.

7. Don’t be afraid to ask more questions during an interview — Asking “off-the-wall” questions during an interview can still bring up useful information for your story. Don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions.

8. “Have I missed anything?” — This is a great wrap-up question and it often brings up a useful summary quote or a nugget of information that hasn’t come up yet in the interview.

9. Send a source check if you can — If you have time, send your article to your source before you submit your article. This gives them a chance to correct any information or make sure that you wrote the quotes accurately. It’s also a goodwill gesture because you want them to be happy with the way you portray them in the article.

10. Have fun! — Journalism gives you the chance to meet a lot of new people and learn a lot of new things. Have fun with it!

—Kasey Brown, associate editor for the Angus Journal

 

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Coffee, anyone?

 

Do you ever get bored with interviewing? Do you struggle to get your source to open up? How do you get to the “good stuff” quickly and make the most of your interview time? What do you do when the source gets off track?

If you’d like to know more about “Structuring your interview to get to the ‘good stuff’ right away,” then join us for LPC’s first Coffee & Collaboration on Wed., Feb. 17, from 10 to 10:45 a.m. CST. All you need to do is grab a cup of coffee (or pick your poison), settle down at your computer, and dial in!

Award-winning writers Doug Rich of High Plains Journal, Angie Denton of the American Hereford Association, and Miranda Reiman of Certified Angus Beef will share ways to set up your interviews to get to the heart of the matter quickly and more easily. Ultimately, we’ll learn ways to make our interviews more successful – whether they are for print or broadcast or social media.

We will chat on Skype for Business so you can follow along with their presentation, share your questions over chat, and more. This is a great way to engage your colleagues and staff – if they conduct interviews, encourage them to join in as we explore ways to make our interviews even more successful! We know it’s not possible for all LPC members to attend AMS or regional workshops each year, so we hope our Coffee & Collaboration chats can be an opportunity to engage more members and ultimately provide even more benefits for our awesome members.

Now, I’ll continue praying the technology works…

-Jennifer Shike, LPC board member

 

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Student Section: What newbies need to know

 

As a new recruit to an organization, the learning curve can be steep.  We’ve all been there — the first day can just seem like a blur of new faces and paperwork.

Here’s a few tips to keep in mind as you start a new gig:

Be confident.  As the new kid on the block, it can be overwhelming and intimidating to be working with people who may have been in the business longer than you’ve been alive. But, look at your colleagues as people you can learn from — they have valuable experience to share, if you’re willing to listen and apply their shared knowledge.

Your company, boss and colleagues wouldn’t have hired you if they didn’t think you had potential, so live up to — or exceed — their expectations.  Don’t be afraid to offer your opinions. Act maturely in everything you do and say, but don’t come across as a know-it-all. Being humble and willing to learn is an asset.

Be open to constructive criticism. In the first few years of your career, you’re probably going to make some mistakes. Lots of them. Better just go on and get used to it now.

When you do receive feedback on your performance, work to not take it personally. Usually, your colleague or boss isn’t trying to hurt your feelings as a person — they’re trying to help you grow and do/be better.


Pay attention to details. Like it or not, we work in a details business. From details in a story to emails to even how you dress, details are important! If you constantly come to work looking sloppy, that says a lot about your performance on the job. If you don’t proofread copy before sending it to your boss, it says you get in a hurry. If you use text speak in your emails, it says you aren’t mature enough to handle the job.

Find ways to add value. Anything that comes across your desk or email — or even ideas — should be enhanced after you’ve touched it. Ask yourself, how can I make this better? And then do it.

Mind your manners — especially with cell phones. Cell phones are a wonderful tool, but they can get you into trouble. If your organization doesn’t have a policy on cell phones, err on the side of caution and professionalism. Keep your phone on silent and don’t answer personal calls or texts while you’re at work unless it’s an emergency. Don’t take your phone with you to meetings or keep it in your pocket — it will be too much of a temptation to look at it if you know it’s there or feel it vibrate during the meeting. And don’t waste time on social media unless it’s work-related.

-Sarah Hill, editor, DairyBusiness East and DairyBusiness West

 

 

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