Celebrity still rules in the quest for truth about food

I wrote a few weeks ago in this column about not confusing popularity with expertise in social media. Last week, Manitoba reporter Robert Arnason offered a shining example of this unfortunate phenomenon. It all began in January when Jillian Harris, former star on the popular TV show The Bachelorette and native of Peace River, Alta., […] Read more

Anonymous online comments draw fire

I’ve been around the internet and newspapers long enough to remember what a fundamental shift it was when we began to foster conversations both with and among our readers about the stories we produce. Seems at least some of those conversations weren’t all they were cracked up to be. Recently, a number of media outlets […] Read more

Social media plays role in fanning food fear

A story by Western Producer reporter Sean Pratt on page 63 of this week’s paper holds some good lessons for those of us who work, or spend any time, in the world of social media. Pratt’s story talks about how the Saskatchewan Canola Development Commission intends to use social media to help dispel some common […] Read more

Busy time for reporters at Producer online

The second week in January is a busy time at The Western Producer, and this is especially the case in the online world as the annual Cropsphere/Crop Production Week kicks off. I thought I’d give our readers a bit of a look behind the scenes to see just what’s involved with covering an event of […] Read more

Great farm stories still a good read online years later

An interesting thing happened last week. A story from more than two years ago was suddenly back among the most popular stories on our site. This is no small feat, considering stories on Bill 6 and glyphosate have been dominant and driving record traffic to our site in recent weeks. The story in question, and […] Read more

Some thoughtful comments on the controversial Bill 6

The outcry over the Alberta government’s proposals to change farm labour standards continues to rile our readers online. However, the knee-jerk reactions that were so prominent when Bill 6 was first introduced have given way to more reasoned thought. A reader named Paul writes: “(I) was able to attend the meeting held in Bassano. One […] Read more

Alberta’s Bill 6 drawing ire, and some support

Few subjects in recent memory appear to have pushed our readers’ buttons like Alberta’s proposed farm and ranch workplace legislation, Bill 6. Last week’s public consultation meeting in Grande Prairie was the government’s first concrete opportunity to hear the public’s thoughts on the matter. And did they get an earful. “The idea that we cannot […] Read more

Keep nasty personal comments out of online posts

Calling something a “fact” does not make it so. As a way of insuring we would always use the correct units in our equations, my old high school physics teacher, Dwight Kaytor, was fond of telling us, “if you call a cow a horse, then surely you will try to ride it.” Aside from the […] Read more

Genetically modified opinion article gets readers riled and writing

Two items in this past week’s Western Producer really captured the attention of our readers online. Both were about genetically modified crops. The first was a lecture delivered by Agri-Trend chief executive officer Rob Saik in support of his upcoming documentary movie, Know GMO. “There’s so much disinformation, so much misinformation out there, it’s important […] Read more

Readers react to chiropractors providing nutrition advice

One of the stories generating quite a response from our readers online lately has been Robert Arnason’s piece about whether consumers should accept nutritional advice from a chiropractor. “Chiropractors are known as doctors who specialize in the spine, but that isn’t stopping some from offering advice on the dangers of pesticides and genetically modified food,” […] Read more