Janie Gabbett - Agriculture’s Voice in Today’s Media


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Agriculture’s Voice in Today’s Media - Janie Gabbett, Meatingplace Executive Editor, from the 2012 Animal Ag Alliance Stakeholders Summit, Real Farmers Real Food, Celebrating Tradition and Technology, May 2-3, Arlington, VA, USA.

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  • I see this concept looming large over the animal agriculture industryYou’ve got industry distrust at very high levels and LFTB was both victim of and part of the reason they distrust. You’ve also got an overall distrust for “big” anything – banks, brokerage houses, government…
  • A CNN producer called me the other day looking for some information on BSE. He said he reads Meatingplace every day.
  • Getting news on the internet is risky business, but it is a reality Readers do NOT make a distinction between “news” and “blogs”
  • NINE years after the first BSE case – Mad Cow was used in 9 out of 10 headlines
  • Left: Blog photosRight: BPI executive at a news conferenceRight: Iowa Governor Terry Branstad at a news conference
  • BTW – She used the wrong photo! If you are not using the same tools as everyone else is, then you have already lost the battle of hearts and minds.
  • Click, click, click – BOOM!
  • You’ve got an image problem here to start with
  • While LFTB was MEDIA driven, Gestation stalls was ACTIVIST driven
  • THESE ARE ALL NEWS HOOKS! I do not believe the pork industry got out in front of this issue. I believe it is still behind on this one. This train has already left the station. Temple Grandin “xxxxxThe industry was out in front on this, but in actions, not words….HSUS is winning the war of words.
  • Within 40 minutes a Google search pulled up 540 stories on the BSE cow in California
  • Janie Gabbett - Agriculture’s Voice in Today’s Media

    1. 1. Working with the media:It can be a slimy business { Rita Jane Gabbett, executive editor, Meatingplace
    2. 2. “Never let the truth stand in the way ofa good story.” – Mark Twain
    3. 3. Accuracy, balance, ethics
    4. 4. Any idiot with a keyboard
    5. 5. A tale of three stories
    6. 6. Marketing and Technology Group
    7. 7. Meatingplace Blogs include:Activist Watch by Sarah Hubbart Blog topics:  Food safety  Worker safety  Animal activism  Animal handling  Legal issues  Product development
    8. 8. Meatingplace In-Person Events  200+ participants at the 2012 Protein Innovation Summit April 16-17  Very distinguished speakers like Kay Johnson-Smith  Mark your calendars for April 2013
    9. 9. Who reads Meatingplace?  55,000 registered readers (print and online)  36,000 work for processors or their foodservice and retail customers.  Names you know – executives, legislators and heads of government agencies.
    10. 10. Who else reads Meatingplace? Journalists from:  New York Times  Wall Street Journal  Washington Post  CNN  USA Today  Reuters  Bloomberg  Dow Jones
    11. 11. Meatingplace Online coverage  AM Newsletter: midnight EDT  PM Newsletter: 3:00 EDT  breaking news, interviews, exclusives  Accuracy, balance, ethics  Help us help you
    12. 12. Meatingplace In Print coverage  December: Antibiotics  May: LFTB  June: Gestation stalls
    13. 13. Pew Research Center January 2011:• 41% of Americans say they get most of their news from the internet, up 17 points since 2007.• 66% say television is their main source of news – but that is down from 74% three years ago and 82% in 2002.
    14. 14. Any idiot with a keyboard
    15. 15. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart beat the entire Fox News network interms of total viewers in May 2011. Stewart averaged 2.3 millionviewers; Fox News averaged 1.85 million viewers. -- Neilson ratings
    16. 16. Word wars Mad Cow Factory Farm Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy Indoor Production Facilities Swine Flu Pink Slime H1N1 Lean Finely Textured Beef
    17. 17. Image wars
    18. 18. The “yuck” factor based on aninaccurate image
    19. 19. AMI alerted media about wrong image March 29.Which one did Detroit Free Press use on April 9?
    20. 20. Ratings WarsMarch 7 – ABC report
    21. 21. Traffic wars:March 8 traffic increases
    22. 22. March 8 -- Google searches for“pink slime” peak
    23. 23. Celebrity Chefs as pundits(They are looking for ratings, too.)
    24. 24. American Meat Institute & BPI effortsOct. 17 2011 -- AMI MeatMythCrushers video on LFTBMarch 8, 2012-- AMI news release saying LFTB is safe and wholesome
March 15 – AMI responds to USDA School Lunch statement 
March 19 – BPI launches Beefisbeef websiteMarch 26 --- AMI statement on impact of “Pink Slime scare campaign”
March 29 – AMI urges media to stop using “pink slime” term & inaccurate photoMarch 29 – BPI, governors hold plant tour and news conference
    25. 25. March 6:The Lunch Tray blogger Bettina Siegelstarted a petition on Change.org to get LFTB removedfrom school lunch. She got 100,000 signatures in ONEDAY and 250,000 in two weeks.
    26. 26. Why so fast? 170 million bloggers vs. 70 million in2008; 140 million Twitter and 1 billion Facebookusers.
    27. 27. By April 2, Harris Poll shows 88% of U.S. adults areaware of “pink slime” and 76% are concerned.
    28. 28.  People evaluate new information based on their beliefs. Misperceptions seem to generally reflect sincere beliefs. Information that challenges these beliefs is unwelcome and can prompt a variety of compensatory responses. As a result, corrections can be ineffective and even backfire.– research by Brendan Nyhan and Jason ReiflerWhy is this story so hard to fix?
    29. 29. BELIEF: The meat industry is not trustworthy  First round: It’s got ammonia in it!  Second round: It’s from pathogenic scraps!  Third round: Well, it may be beef and it may be safe, but you should have told us anyway!Outrage evolution
    30. 30. What can be done?
    31. 31. Yvonne Thaxton’s recent Meatingplace Blog makes these points:  Make sure you can defend your practices scientifically  Choose your words: Is it a factory farm or an indoor production facility?Choose words carefully
    32. 32. Gestation stalls
    33. 33. Jan. 5 – HSUS announces it purchased shares of CKE Restaurants and plansto lean on management to stop buying pork for its Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’schains from suppliers who use gestation stalls.Jan. 31 -- HSUS releases two undercover videos it says document abuseassociated with gestation stall use at facilities owned by Seaboard Foodsand Prestage Farms.Jan. 31 -- Hormel Foods Chairman Jeffrey Ettinger says Hormel would stopbuying hogs from farms that use sow gestation stalls by 2017.Feb. 13 -- McDonald’s – in a joint news release with HSUS – announcesplans to require pork suppliers to outline plans to phase out gestation stalls.Feb. 16 -- The group Compassion Over Killing releases a video of gestationstall use at Hormel supplier Hawkeye Sow Center.Feb. 21 -- Bon Appetit Management/HSUS joint press release on phasing outusing pork products from hogs housed in gestation crates by 2015.
    34. 34. March 5 -- The National Pork Board announces it plans to donate $1 million tothe proposed Fair Oaks Pig Adventure Center in Indiana to increasetransparency on hog production.March 8 -- Compass Group, the worlds largest food and support servicescompany, announces it will stop buying pork that comes from animals bredusing gestation crates in its U.S. supply chain by 2017.March 20 – HSUS files its third SEC complaint against Seaboard Foods relatedto gestation stall use.March 22 – Wendy’s announces it will require U.S. and Canadian suppliers toprovide their plans to phase out gestation stall use.April 25 – HSUS’s shareholder resolution at the Domino’s Pizza annualmeeting on ensuring its pepperoni and ham comes from producers who don’tuse gestation stalls. (It doesn’t pass, but still got a news cycle)April 25 -- Burger King announces that by 2017 it will purchase pork onlyfrom suppliers that can prove they don’t use gestation crates.
    35. 35. Belstra Milling and the Fair Oaks Pig Adventure project. Buildings will be wired with cameras for distance learningBe transparent, be proactive
    36. 36. “The truth is always somewhere in the middle. It’s not the horror that { HSUS says it is and it’s not a bed of roses either. I think the industry has not been smart about the way it deals with the public. People are just curious.”Temple Grandin
    37. 37. BSE Redux
    38. 38. HEADLINES TELL THE STORYWashington Post: Beleaguered beef industry avoids widespreadmarket scare over mad cow case with quick responseAssociated Press: Of food supply risks, mad cows not high on listUSA TODAY: USDA: Calif. mad cow case poses no human threatBLOOMBERG: Mad cow disease discovery not likely to threaten beefindustryBLOOMBERG: Quick response averts market scare in mad cow caseCBS News: Worried about mad cow? Other foodborne illnesses abigger threatSarah Klein, food safety attorney for the Center for Science in thePublic Interest: There is no need for consumers to take precautionsbased on this case.
    39. 39. LFTB vs. BSE: Janet Riley  Journalists around in 2003 were already educated on BSE  USDA came out faster; background info already there  BSE seen as happening TO the industry; LFTB seen as BECAUSE OF the industry  No appearance of “hiding something” with new BSE case  LFTB in food supply; BSE was not
    40. 40. USDA did a lot right the first day BSE information center  News release gave enough webpage with tons of info and answered enough background questions to make a story Video of Dr. John Clifford for  Agriculture Secretary Vilsack broadcaster use went on CNN the same day
    41. 41. In conclusion  Know your science  Be able to tell your story  Same day response  Know who to tell it to  Know where to tell it  Offer images  Offer experts  Be transparent  Help us help you
    42. 42. “Actions speak louder than words, butnot nearly as often.” – Mark Twain