UK journalist aims to improve how rural issues are reported

Rural Exchange 06/10/2018
Anna Jones.

A British journalist is visiting New Zealand to help improve the way agriculture is reported in the media.

Nuffield Scholar and journo Anna Jones, who was a keynote speaker at the NZ Guild of Agricultural Journalists, says the challenge is that media is inherently urban.

“The media, by its very nature, can sometimes be very much of that urban world. There are not many broadcasters or newspapers that are based in rural areas.”

New Zealand still has that cultural connection to agriculture.

Because of this, rural issues are often looked at through “an urban lens” which can lead to a lack of understanding complex issues facing the primary industries.

But compared to the UK, Ms Jones reckons New Zealand still has a cultural connection to agriculture.

“New Zealand is still very much dependent on agriculture for its economy.  So there’s still an interest there,” Ms Jones said, adding that the connection is still not as strong as it is in developing countries.

Ms Jones hopes to see mainstream media outlets use rural journalists as a resource for better reporting.

Reporters with a rural background can help better cover issues in a balanced and impartial way, she said.

On Friday, Ms Jones spoke about bridging rural and urban matters at the 60th anniversary of the NZ Guild of Agricultural Journalists and Communicators.

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