Published on Thursday, July 31, 2014
“The media” is a hot topic in most of my classes and lectures throughout the school year. On a daily basis, professors teach students how to interact and work with the media.
But no matter though how much students prepare for media interaction and events in class, nothing compares to actually learning in the field. This past week I had the opportunity to join Beck's at the 2014 Ag Media Summit held in Indianapolis, IN.
The Ag Media Summit is the largest, annual meeting held in the United States of agriculture’s top writers, editors, photographers, publishers, and ag communicator specialists. This conference is unique in the fact that it is not only educational, but also allows for networking during the the conference's InfoExpo. During this expo, communicators not only have the opportunity to visit with businesses, but also interview and write stories on the latest news in agriculture.
So how does a seed company like Beck’s fit into a conference like this? As Beck’s continues to expand and grow as a company, more and more newsworthy information needs to be presented to the media. And what better way to present this information than at an agriculture media conference!
This year’s expo was even more important, as Beck’s debuted its new precision ag tool, FARMserver™. In my case, this was the first time I've interacted with the media. Sure I have interviewed and written stories before, but I had never been the liaison between the media and those being interviewed.
The few weeks prior to Ag Media Summit were very busy preparing for the launch of FARMserver. When releasing a new product, I learned that you not only have to think about what the media wants to know, but also what is of interest to consumers. Because of this, Ashley and I spent many hours preparing materials such as question and answer sheets, expert bios, and media kits.
The team working hard to finish the final preparations for our Beck's display.
The day before the InfoExpo, Ashley, Brent (FARMserver field manager), and I traveled down to Indy to set up the booth. With some determination and a lot of elbow grease, we managed to transport all the booth materials up to the expo area and get everything ready for the next day.
I had the advantage of attending the conference as both a student and an exhibitor. I was able to attend the welcome festivities and informative sessions throughout Ag Media Summit. I also met up with quite a few other CFAES students from Ohio State, as well as my adviser. Like I said, this conference is a great time to network with both colleagues, and new acquaintances.
As the clock was ticking closer to the start of the InfoExpo, you could feel a bit of anxiousness in the air, at least from my end. I was envisioning a paparazzi style scene: Lights. Camera. Action. Ok, so maybe that’s a bit dramatic, but I did have a knot in my stomach. This knot made me think of a sign hanging up in Ashley’s office—Keep Calm: It’s Just the Media.
This sign is one of the first things I noticed when I started working at Beck’s. I remember thinking it was funny and probably true in some circumstances. It quickly became my mantra once the InfoExpo started.
For a while I just observed the scene. Quite a few people from the media were coming up to ask our FARMserver experts questions. Ashley quickly made the introductions and listened as the questions were being asked and answered. If she was nervous, you could never tell. She was simply there to support our guys, with lots of laughs, smiles and encouragement.
Here are the pros in action. The media was eager to learn about Beck's new precision ag tool, FARMserver.
I think this was the moment I had my epiphany. I liked this atmosphere—stress and all. So what if it makes me nervous? That might even be a good thing. It was awesome to get to network with the media and learn from both them and Ashley.
We even had a moment to smile for the camera!
Just because something is new and you are inexperienced does not mean that it isn’t for you. In fact, in the end it just might be the experience that makes all those hours of class work and exams worth it.
Author: Meghan Bennett
Categories: Intern Avenue
Tags: Beck's Blog, intern avenue, Internship Experience, Ag Media Summit 2014, Media Relations
Marketing Associate Intern at Beck’s Hybrids, Student at The Ohio State University, Small town girl from Southwest Ohio, AGvocate, Lover of Livestock.
8/1/2014 4:56 PM
Great job Meghan! It was awesome to meet you and I KNOW that you will go far. You were very professional and you're mighty lucky to be learning from one of the best!
Beck's Hybrids seed company provides high yield corn, soybeans, wheat and elite alfalfa. All seed products are protected by the Escalate™ yield enhancement system delivering higher yields, insect protection, improved stand, and seedling health. We give you access to every major supplier in the world, so you get the genetic diversity and trait protection you need from one company – Beck’s. A heritage built upon the hard work, faith and innovation of our family and family of employees.
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