USDA launches storytelling campaign on Medium

The federal agency posted chapter one of Results - stories of Americans living in rural areas - on the platform this month.

The USDA rolled out the Results page on Medium this week.
The USDA rolled out the Results page on Medium this week.

WASHINGTON: The US Department of Agriculture is leveraging Medium and its growing reach to share its constituents’ stories.

The agency launched USDA Results this week, which it described as a "progressive year-long storytelling effort of the Obama administration’s work on behalf of those living, working, and raising families in rural America."

Matthew Herrick, director of communications at the USDA, noted the agency’s scope – it plays a role in everything from school-lunch programs to veterans’ affairs. He said the federal agency was "trying to find a platform to help tell that story, but do it from the eyes of the individuals we impacted and worked with through the years."

Medium gave the USDA a "dynamic" approach that also fosters a "deeper engagement with stakeholders and gets them involved in the conversation," added Herrick. The federal agency created all content in-house.

Chapter one, authored by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, is live on the platform, with plans for a new chapter to debut monthly, Herrick said.   

Medium’s inclusiveness, such as how it gives users the ability to comment on a story, was also attractive to the USDA, said Peter Rhee, director of digital communications.

"It’s an ever-evolving feature set, and we’re not limited to the current tech we have in-house," he added.

The agency’s goal is to grow its traditional stakeholder base and have an inclusive conversation with both its new and old audiences, said Herrick.

The Obama administration is no stranger to Medium. Last year, it placed the full text of President Obama’s State of the Union address online as his speech began.

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