Is this going in the magazine?

Without exception, conversations with young farmers at this weekend’s AGM in Torquay ran like this:

Tipsy young farmer: Are you that woman from Farmers Weekly?
Caroline: Yes.
TYF: Can I have your Farmers Weekly t-shirt?
C: No.
TYF: Will you take my photo then?
C: Yes.
TYF: Will it go in the magazine?
C: It’ll definitely go on the website…
TYF: Yeah, but will it go in the magazine?
C: Possibly, but I promise it’ll be online in a bit.
TYF: Whatever, I want to be in the magazine.

Actually, I lie when I say that’s how conversations went without exception. That last line in the exchange can also¬† be interchanged with: “I don’t go online”; “I don’t have a computer”; “We don’t have the internet” and, most over-dramatically: “If you don’t put me in the magazine I’m going to cancel my subscription”.

While the last example was slurred at me by a young gentleman who was wearing a fake turkey on his head, topped-off with a Barbie-pink Stetson, it’d be wrong to dismiss the sentiment.

There’s an assumption out there that young people are completely au fait with the interweb, that they use it every day, glean all of their information from it and that magazines and other dead tree press are a waste of time for the next generation of readers.

Perhaps this is the case for other markets and agriculture is an anomaly, but every time I speak to young farmers I’ve been left with the feeling that it’d be wrong to think we can write-off the print version of FW when we consider readers of the future.

The lack of high-speed rural broadband obviously plays a part in some not accessing news online, but even those that said they used the FW website attached more worth to featuring in the magazine than on the web.

Maybe it’s the history of the FW brand that makes the magazine seem more important (lots of them mentioned their dads, grandads, uncles got the magazine and had done every week for decades), or having a physical news source that appeals more to them. After all, I’ve been told before that portability plays a big part in what people read.

Hopefully I’ll find out during my Nuffield travels, but it’ll be interesting to find out if young farmers in other countries think this way about printed press, or whether it’s unique to the UK.

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4 Responses to “Is this going in the magazine?”

  1. Mike

    Did others impress you, or were they all as you report above?

  2. Organic duck

    Agriculture is definitely an anomaly! Glad you enjoyed Torquay!!

  3. Caroline

    Mike: Do you mean with regards to their internet-use? I think Facebook and other social networking sites are used a fair bit, but I didn’t get the feeling from any of the YFs I spoke to about it that they were particularly internet-savvy.
    I was impressed that even though they were a bit tipsy they still wanted to chat about farming and the upcoming elections though – I didn’t expect to have a debate about tactical voting at midnight with three YFs dressed as zebras!

  4. Matty

    We did our muck marathon and for the whole weekend all I got was…..

    “Mind, if i’m doing this, you better get me in the farmers weekly!!!”