I’m from the News and I would like to ask you some questions…

These few words can can spawn many different reactions, intimidation, fear, anger maybe even terror. We are intimidated and fear saying the wrong thing, of being misquoted and taken out of context. We have these reservations even in the friendliest of interviews with reporters. So often the topic is contentious and there is much controversy, making the need to be informed on the issue and be clear and concise in presenting the message of agriculture.

As “Advocates in Training” the VALOR Fellows continue to learn about communicating the industry of agriculture. It was an experience participating in “Video Interview Strategies – Ideas & Practice” – Presented by Virginia Farm Bureau Communications Department – Norm Hyde, Video Production Supervisor and Sherri McKinney, Senior Video Producer – The interview topic was related to cost-share funding for environmental stewardship issues. A hot topic issue for Virginia Farmers and Soil & Water Conservation Districts all across the commonwealth.

Oh my!!! What a barrage of questions, accusations, misinformation, redirection, trickery and a couple of things that were just downright “wrong”. It was a struggle to provide a clear concise message while maintaining composure while being grilled by these two reporters. It was like stopping a buzzsaw with a marshmellow without damaging the marshmellow. I haven’t been under that much pressure since I had to explain why the hinge was broken on the barn door which also sported a brand new hole and the loader had splinters on it. (Disclaimer: I was only ten and I didn’t mean to.)

The point is, sometimes it may be difficult for us to convey our message but it is important for us to be informed, to stay focused and communicate those agricultural values we believe in. With those principles in mind we can turn that fear and apprehension of being interviewed into an opportunity to inform.

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