Online publishing for a farm audience throws
up a particular challenge. While urban-based journalists may be contemplating
the virtues of using social networks such as Twitter to research and report
stories, our readers may even lack access to reliable cell phone service or
struggle to get cost-effective access to broadband. The infrastructure is patchy
in many parts of rural Ontario, even within an easy drive of Toronto.
there’s the challenge of reaching readers of a certain age. According to figures
gathered by Statistics Canada from its census, the average farmer in Ontario is
somewhere between 50 and 60 years old and aging. The person filling out the
census form is likely the decision-maker farm publishers want to reach. If your
readers don’t have broadband, is there any use in publishing online?
not, but again, maybe.
While we at Better Farming magazine published
an award winning magazine article on the Pigeon King International in December,
2007, we continued coverage of the issues involved on our website. We found we
had widespread uptake, even in those Mennonite and Amish communities where there
is no Internet access and technology is frozen in time somewhere before rural
We found that because of keen interest our stories were
circulated widely via printouts and fax access available through more
technologically driven neighbours. The result: Our stories got out there, often
faster than daily newspapers could cover the same breaking news.
Now that is satisfying.
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