Educating a city about farming

I met an amazing chap this morning called Orion Samuelson. Think an American version of ‘Big Dog’ David Richardson and you wouldn’t be far wrong. He’s an agricultural journalist who, for the last 50 years, has reported on farm news and market prices to the 800,000+ people who to listen to Chicago’s WGN radio.

In the couple of hours I spent with him he kept dashing off to file reports that followed the main news bulletins, meaning Chicago’s urban population thinks nothing of hearing farm news and it isn’t marginalised as a niche subject.

Apparently Chicago and Illinois always comes out on top in surveys on how much people in the US know about farming and food production. I think Orion’s daily programming probably has a great deal to do with that.

WGN radio is part of the Chicago Tribune newspaper group. It’s housed in this rather fancy pad on the right, built after the newspaper ran a competition to see who could fit the most turrets, scrolls and fleur-de-lys on a building (I think those were the rules, anyway):


Inside the main reception it has a series of quotes carved into the walls about how brilliant journalists are and what an important function they perform in society. I spent a few minutes reading them to boost my ego and spotted this:


Crappy picture aside (it was 6am, my photography skills don’t kick in until 9.35am), you can see the ‘s’ has been squeezed in as an afterthought. I love the irony of a newspaper group, home to probably hundreds of people who are insufferably anal about spelling, hiring a stone carver who managed to create a literal.

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1 Response to “Educating a city about farming”

  1. David Richardson

    Glad you’re having fun, Caroline. For the record, I have met Orion Samuelson a few times, both in the US and the UK when he has been this side of the pond on speaking/reporting engagements. I even saw him at a Royal Show many years ago – when there was one.

    Thankyou for comparing me with him. I am flattered. I just hope he’s not too upset. Anyway, please give him my best wishes and kind regards if you see him again.