Getting Our Story Straight

November 5, 2012

If we’ve learned anything from this election cycle it’s that constant repetition of message and content will do one of two things: Either turn off the audience or reinforce the message to a near rote state. Neither approach is perhaps the best one to enhance understanding and stimulate conversation.

In Paulsen’s latest thought paper, “Digital Media’s Evolution and Impact on Telling Agriculture’s Story,” we look at ways that agriculture has told its story well, and ways to tell it better. One of the takeaways discovered was that innovations in mobile technology will allow media to deliver information instantaneously and meet the demands of audiences. That access is important, as long as it is treated ethically and with an understanding of who the reader/listener is.

And that brings to mind another important takeaway:

Traditional media forms will continue to provide a trusted, tangible source of reliable news, information and advertising.

All forms of media that have served agriculture and consumers are still in place; their forms are just changing. But the level of trust and openness that is enjoyed by publications and broadcasts can be put in danger when ethical journalism is replaced by unsourced speculation and distortion.

Charlie Arnot of the Center for Food Integrity said it well, “Both trust and mistrust can move at an irrational speed on social media.”

As ag communicators it’s more important than ever to tell compelling stories that connect agriculture and consumers in a higher level of understanding. It is equally important to make sure that the stories we tell are responsible and fact-driven, not driven by the need for speed that can distort judgment and lead to trouble. That’s the best way to make sure we’re getting our story straight.

Read the complete thought paper.

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