Pinakin Desai of Naperville is a member of the the Illinois Agriculture Leadership Program class of 2014. Read the full press release below:
The Illinois Agricultural Leadership Program (IALP) Class of 2014 participants received a first-hand look at how to reach mass and social media outlets with effective messages during its recent three-day seminar on media relations in Chicago. The seminar included presentations by 14 speakers, including one-on-one interview training. Included in the class is Pinakin Desai of Naperville, senior executive with Memes Associates, Ltd.
Over a two-year period the group is attending 14 seminars covering current social, political and economic issues in the agriculture industry. The class heard from John Lavine, Professor and Founder of the Media Management Center at the Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University, about the changing media landscape. Veteran news writer and now consultant Charlie Meyerson addressed effective message distribution, especially using social and electronic media. Bob Coyne, Senior Account Executive, Tribune Media Group, talked about “Digital Advertising: How to Reach Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere, on Any Device!”
On the second full day, the class was taught about the importance of branding by Michael Turley, CEO of the St. Louis public relations firm Osborn-Barr, and a graduate of the IALP. Two Osborn-Barr staff members, Susan Luke and Erin Davis, talked about message development and interviewing techniques.
Hall of Fame broadcaster and Illinois Agricultural Leadership Foundation board member emeritus Orion Samuelson had the class members put their interview skills to work, calling each participant aside for a five-minute one-on-one interview. The class then watched the interviews and learned from constructive points about making the best impression and developing answers.
During the one-on-one sessions, the class enjoyed hearing from Max Armstrong, Broadcast Director for Farm Progress America, talk about his experiences communicating the message of agriculture to the broad range of agricultural and public audiences. Amy Roady, Director of Communications for the Illinois Soybean Association, talked with the class about delivering the message of agriculture to the public. She focused on the highly-successful “Illinois Farm Families” program.
The class traveled to historic Wagner Farm in Glenview for an evening meal. The farm has more than 100,000 visitors each year—telling the story of agriculture through a real production farm in an urban environment. Todd Price, Wagner Farm Director, is a member of the IALP Class of 2014. Following the dinner, Katie Pratt, a spokesperson for the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance, told of her experiences being a representative of agriculture to mostly social media audiences for the past year. She has addressed anti-agriculture sentiment through blogging, Facebook and Twitter.
The final day of the Media Relations Seminar featured Matthew Vander Laan, Executive Vice President, and Matt Coldagelli, Account Supervisor, from Edelman Public Relations in Chicago. They provided information on public perceptions of agriculture, and gave tips on how to interview with the mass media by showing examples of good and bad answers to difficult questions.
Kevin Daugherty from the Illinois Farm Bureau “Ag In the Classroom” program showed examples of how agriculture is communicated to classroom students in the state with nationally-recognized materials that are available for class members to utilize in their outreach efforts.
The final speaker of the seminar was Trent Loos, author and producer of “Loos Tales” who pointed out the misconceptions and misinformation that abounds in the media. His talk was entitled “Too Much of What They Know Isn’t So.”
“Our Media Relations Seminar provided important lessons in how to get the real story of agriculture heard,” said IALF President & CEO Don Norton. “The sessions involved mass and social media techniques and provided an excellent understanding of how the media functions in society today.”
The Illinois Agricultural Leadership Foundation provides a two-year seminar series that develops knowledgeable and effective leaders to become policy and decision makers for the agricultural industry. It is a non-profit educational corporation under Illinois law. A board of directors, comprised of recognized leaders in agriculture and business, oversees the program. Candidates for the leadership program are selected during a competitive application process. Men and women 25 to 49 years of age working full-time in production agriculture or agri-related occupations are encouraged to apply. More information is available at www.agleadership.org.