Archive for the 'Radio' Category

They’re not clones, okay?

If I read one more headline about cloned cows being in the food chain, I think I’m going to scream.

Let’s get this straight, people. You haven’t eaten a clone. You haven’t drunk the milk produced by a cloned cow. Even if you had, it wouldn’t kill you, cause you to grow an extra arm or make your head spin in an Exorcist kinda way.

The cattle that have caused this week’s initial national media, storm-in-a-tea-cup are progeny of a cloned cow from the US (a cow, incidentally, created using the same genetics that creates identical twins in humans – nothing scarier than that). That means they are the children of a cloned animal, not clones themselves.

cows in lane(In case you’re worried, these are ‘normal’ cows, not the ones related to the Yankie clone. I just thought you’d get bored and click away if I didn’t put a picutre on here)

The story then moved on when it was discovered 96 cattle have been bred from those initial eight imported progeny. This makes them the grandchildren of a clone – again, they are not clones.

I initially got wound up about this story because it was published by my favourite chip wrapper, the D*ily M*il, and any story in there tends makes my blood pressure go off the scale. But it was also written in such a ridiculous, dangerously scare-mongering way that I wanted to find the journalist who wrote it and belt him about the head.

The saga has brought up some interesting questions about our role as journalists at Farmers Weekly. We reported on the story as it broke and unfolded, but we did it in a way that was (I hope) measured and rational.

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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):

Tribune

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:

Typo

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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