By Lena Johansson
IFAJ has invested in one of these web-based services, GoToMeeting, which makes it possible to have worldwide conferences without any travelling. In January IFAJ’s Executive Committee held its first committee meeting with this tool and 23 guild representatives, five presidium members and the Global Office team attended the meeting.
The technique worked very well and it was easy to follow the discussions. It is also possible to share documents like powerpoint presentations between the participants.
“This is an easy and cost effective way to organise long distance meetings without travelling, says IFAJ President Owen Roberts. But it shouldn’t completely replace physical meetings, we still need to meet regularly face-to-face.”
GoToMeeting is also available for every member guild which wants to use it. If you need to have a conference with members from different parts of your country, a jury or committee meeting, you can use the digital conference software free of charge.
You just need to contact IFAJ’s global office some weeks in advance, so they can check that nobody else has booked it before you. They will also give you a link to the meeting. Send an email ot firstname.lastname@example.org with information about when you need to use the tool and how many participants you are expecting.
You need to have a good internet connection and a computer, smartphone or tablet. Just download the GoToMeeting programme, which is almost self instructing and very easy to use. But the global office can also give you support on how to use GoToMeeting.
Examples of IFAJ guilds using GTM
The Guinean guild, Association Media & Agriculture pour le Developpement Rural (AMEDAR), held its annual Master Class/Award Program in January 2017 and they invited Hugh Maynard, IFAJ Global Manager to make a presentation (in French) to talk about IFAJ, agricultural journalism, and rural development (especially opportunities for youth). There were 26 participants and the session lasted 90 minutes with lots of questions.
The Danish guild, Dansk Fodevare- og Landbrugsjournalister, held its board meeting via GTM in March 2017. They had “a great meeting,” according to Per Henrik Hansen, IFAJ Executive member. There were six participants, and five had their video camera’s turned on for the ‘visual connection’, and the meeting went very well.
The Eastern Canadian Farm Writers Federation (ECFWA) are collaborating with the Association des communicateurs et rédacteurs de l’agroalimentaire (ACRA) to organize the Canadian Farm Writers’ Federation (CFWF) annual conference in Quebec City (September 2017). With committee members spread out over 1,000 km in distance, GTM is a very handy tool for holding their organizing meetings and showing documents and budgets on the screen at the same time.