South Australian reporter Eliza Berlage has represented Australia as part of an international delegation of young leaders in agricultural reporting in Canada.
Ms Berlage was one of 10 recipients from across the globe of the IFAJ/Alltech Young Leaders Award, joining peers from Austria, Sweden, USA, Spain, South Africa, Ghana, Argentina, Canada and Switzerland.
Attending a bootcamp ahead of the 2023 IFAJ World Congress in Olds, Alberta, she said the award gave them the opportunity to put their knowledge and skills in a global context.
“I have been able to share information about pay transparency and trauma support for our industry with the other participants, which is important for the sustainability of media,” they said.
“I have learnt that while Australia can feel very far away from the rest of the world, the challenges we face are not unique.”
“I have gained a global network of colleagues and collaborators, and feel empowered to continue my service in connecting those who work in agriculture to an increasingly urbanised audience.”
A member of Rural Media & Communicators SA/NT, Eliza has worked in radio in Sydney, the federal press gallery, and newspapers in Victoria and South Australia and is currently based in Renmark for ABC Rural.
Selected by an international jury from among the IFAJs 60 member nations, ACAJ President Kallee Buchanan said they continued Australia’s unbroken record of having a candidate selected for the program.
“Eliza represents not only the future of Agricultural reporting in our country but also globally, where young people are embracing new platforms to tell the story of food and fibre production to new audiences,” she said.
“But more than just leadership on stories, they are also the best of what being a good colleague in journalism can be – collaborative, supportive, innovative and creative.
“I am excited to watch her career, and her involvement in IFAJ activities, continue.
“I’d also like to thank Liz Harfull, who again coordinated our selection process and has worked hard to ensure Australia is well represented in this program.”
The Young Leaders program was established in 2006 to identify and develop emerging leaders in agricultural journalism and communications around the world.
IFAJ Secretary General Adalberto Rossi said the goal was to focus on a new generation of leaders for member guilds, like the ACAJ.
“It is an honor to be at the forefront of such an important challenge that has the unique privilege of bringing together young and talented professionals from all over the world, who will return to their countries with new tools and knowledge,” he said.
Sponsored by Alltech, President and CEO Mark Lyons said the importance of strong journalism in communicating agriculture’s truth in today’s world cannot be overstated.
“We are proud to support the next generation of journalists who are passionate about sharing the real stories of the farm and field, and the men and women who work tirelessly to feed our planet,” he said.
“I’d encourage all eligible communicators telling the story of Agriculture to get in touch with their state’s guild and consider being a part of this unique opportunity,” Ms Buchanan said.
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