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Swedish Guild Supports Forestry Journalism Course

By Lena Johansson

Association for Forestry and Agicultural Journalists (FSLJ)

In the currently strained financial situation for media, very few Swedish newspapers and radio stations have reporters who are specialised in agriculture or forestry. Yet, both are sectors that are important for the country’s national economy.

”Very few Swedish journalists have a connection to agriculture nowadays, says Linda Grimstedt, president of the Swedish guild of agriculture journalists, FSLJ. We wanted to offer all kind of journalists, both guild members and others, an opportunity to broaden their knowledge about the subject, and so far it has been very popular.”

The education program started a year ago with a seminar about the European Union’s common agriculture policy, CAP. The Main speaker during the day was Roger Waite, former EU reporter and spokesperson for EU’s agriculture commissioner. Roger Waite has worked with agriculture policy, in different positions, for more than 20 years and talked about both the history and the future of the CAP. About 20 journalists, both from specialised agriculture press and daily media, learned a lot about agriculture politics. They also listened to a farmer who told them about how he benefits from the EU support system and a regional civil servant who spoked about how the authorities work with consultations for and controls of the EU subsidies.

All the participants in the course on agriculture and forestry journalism were very satisfied with what they were able to learn.
Course participant Ylva Carlsson and farmer Hans Blackert examine some canola plants in his fields.

Next step in the training was a practical agriculture course for journalists, mainly from regional daily media. They met farmers, visited farms, tried to drive a tractor and listened to both agricultural experts and farmers who taught them about modern agriculture. It was a two day course and the participants stayed at a farm.

”They were very positive and particularly appreciative of the stay at the farm and to meet with real farmers,” said Grimstedt, one of the course leaders.
The last step, which will be held in May 2017, will be a two day course in forestry journalism. The participants will learn more about both family forestry operations and the forestry industry.

They will also get to know which are today’s hot forestry topics and learn more about forestry politics.