The American Agricultural Editors’ Association usually holds its annual conference in the middle of summer.
This also coincides with the time when farmers typically have the least amount of time to spend with the publications.
The Western Producer is an exception to that rule because producers seem to spend a lot of time with every edition — about 2.5 hours per week on average, per reader. And readers typically come in twos or threes.
The summer convention of the AAEA is typically an event where farm journalists can get together for a few days of tours, professional development, board meetings and the all-important awards ceremony.
As well as individual awards for writing, photography, internet site offerings and design, we also award points from competition and when those add up, often over a long career, one can be classified as an expert, or a Master, in this case.
We had some big wins last week at the AAEA’s virtual event, delayed several months. We actually entered the work from 2019 more than six months ago.
Michelle Houlden heads up the design and production team at the WP and I am proud to say that she swept the overall design award category this year, with a first, second and third place. First was for our new agrologists’ magazine, GrowPro, second was for the WP’s last edition of the year, what we at the paper call Issue 52, and third was for the Saskatchewan Yield magazine, which outlines the data from that province’s crop insurance program, highlighting the yields from varieties and hybrids from the 2018-19 crop, as well as providing some great information about risk management from our reporters. Each was a great read and, for this award, that also meant great to read.
Houlden also took top honours for using graphics to tell a story for a piece about phosphorus and for two-page design for a livestock feature.
Former WP journalist Jeremy Simes, who left us for television, won second place for a personality profile of an Alberta rural photographer and documentary of life with her kids on the farm.
As well, one WP journalist received his Masters certification, his second. William DeKay of our Saskatoon newsroom now holds a pair of Master certificates from the AAEA — one for photography and a new one for writing.
It’s a great team we have at the WP. And it’s almost time to start entering their work for next year.