Charting the course: From veterinary nurse to rural journalism trailblazer

Charting the course: From veterinary nurse to rural journalism trailblazer

Sandra Taylor is a former veterinary nurse who made a significant career transition to become a prominent rural journalist, a career that has now spanned for over two decades.

Taylor pays homage to the late Terry Brosnahan, a key figure in rural journalism and her former boss at Country-Wide Magazine. Brosnahan's legacy of quality, science-based reporting and his role as a mentor to Taylor is deeply reflected upon. 

"He really set a really high standard... everything we wrote, had to be science-based," Taylor fondly recalls, emphasising the standards he upheld and his insistence on factual, evidence-backed reporting. 

The discussion navigates the evolution of agricultural journalism, observing the shift from intimate, on-farm reporting to the rapid pace of digital media.

"We just don't have the luxury of going out and spending a day on a farm... most of our work is done over the phone." 

Despite these changes, Taylor stresses the vital importance of maintaining the quality and connection that characterises traditional rural reporting, and the need to effectively communicate farming's narrative to a wider, often urban audience.

"We really need to get good information out to farmers," Taylor insists, also highlighting the importance of extending this reach to the general public to improve understanding and appreciation of agriculture. 

Taylor's anecdotes from her travels in South America, particularly her experience at the Buenos Aires cattle market, showcase the vibrant celebration of local agriculture and the contrast with New Zealand's approach to promoting its produce.

"They celebrate what they produce... I just wanted so many people to come out and see this," she remarks, pointing out a missed opportunity in New Zealand for greater public appreciation of locally produced meats. 

Lastly, the conversation includes a personal note as Taylor shares the story of her nephew, Ben Taylor, an Olympic hopeful in rowing. His work ethic and determination are highlighted, and the family's excitement and support for his sporting journey are palpable. 

"He's... a really nice kid or young man and yeah, [I'm] so incredibly proud of him." 

Throughout the conversation, Taylor's passion for agriculture and storytelling shines through, offering listeners a deep dive into the multifaceted world of agricultural journalism and the personal stories that shape it.

Listen to the full chat between Sandra Taylor and Dominic George above.

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