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Dec 15, 2009

Issue 09-22

H1N1 flu off the Top Ten news story list again. After being on the Top Ten list of news stories in U. S. media during parts of 2009, H1N1 flu dropped off it during November and early December. We are referring here to the News Coverage Index of the Project for Excellence in Journalism, supported by the Pew Research Center.

  • H1N1 (identified as swine flu in these reports) ranked first in the Top Ten list during late April and early May, accounting for as much as 31 percent of the newshole.
  • It appeared again during October - ranking fourth or fifth - and accounting for five percent of the newshole.
  • It was not among the Top Ten topics for news coverage during November or early December.

View these lists and trends online here


A pioneer in getting information to small-scale farmers around the world. George Atkins, founder of Farm Radio International, died November 30 in Ontario, Canada, in his 93rd year. A farm and gardening host on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation during the 1950s and 1960s, he established the Developing Countries Farm Radio Network in 1979. An obituary we are adding to the ACDC collection explains that this service collects advice from farmers and farming experts, produces radio scripts based on the information and distributes them to other broadcasters who reach millions of Third World farmers every month.

You can learn more at the FRI home page here.
Also, from that site you can view a You Tube video (8:53) in which he reflects on his 30 years of experience in developing the network.


"Twittering from the tractor" was the title of a CNN article we have added to the ACDC collection. Internet-enabled phones are making their way into rural America slowly, reporter John Sutter explained, "because it's difficult to send Internet data over cellular networks in some sparsely populated areas where wireless service is spotty." Even so, his article highlighted the growth of smart phones on the farm and some ways producers are using them.

Citation: Twittering from the tractor
View the article online here.


Listeners turn up in droves when this radio soap opera hits the road. "The crowd is quiet in the town of Masaka [ Rwanda] as hundreds of faces peer up at a scene unfolding on the stage in front of them." That statement introduced a feature posted on allAfrica.com about what happened earlier this year when a health-oriented radio drama, "Urunana," was aired out of studio. Many of those watching this edu-tainment program had arrived hours earlier, hoping to see their favorite actors.

Patterned after the popular "The Archers" program in the United Kingdom, "Urunana" has been aired on BBC and Radio Rwanda for 10 years. By 2004, an estimated 60 percent of Rwanda's population tuned in. Two documents we have added to the ACDC collection describe this program, including how producers use continuing feedback from listeners to guide program content.

Citation: Urunana goes to the village and people turn up in droves
View this report online here.

Citation: Health soap opera: country life
View this report online here.


How Europeans view animal cloning. We have added to the ACDC collection an October 2008 report of research conducted among more than 25,000 citizens in the 27 European Union Member States. Among the findings:

  • Nearly all (93 percent) had heard of animal cloning and most (81 percent) knew the meaning of the term.
  • Faced with several statements regarding the ethics of animal cloning, most respondents agreed that animal cloning was morally wrong (61 percent), the long-term effects of animal cloning on nature were unknown (81 percent), animal cloning might lead to human cloning (77 percent) and cloning might decrease the genetic diversity within livestock populations (63 percent).
  • Fifty-eight percent said that animal cloning for food production purposes should never be justified.
  • Most (86 percent) felt that the food industry would benefit from animal cloning for food production purposes. They were more in doubt about the possible benefit for farmers and consumers.
  • Most (70 percent) doubted that using cloning for food production would improve efficiency in the long run and lower the cost of food products for consumers.

View this report online here.


Communicator activities approaching

January 25, 2010
Deadline for submitting research papers, research proposals and theses/dissertations for the 2010 Conference of the Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Life and Human Sciences (ACE). The conference takes place June 14-17 in St. Louis, Missouri.
Information: Emily Rhoades at rhoades.100@cfaes.osu.edu

April 17-21, 2010
"Between passion & pressure" 54th Annual Congress, International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) hosted by the Belgian Association of Agricultural Journalists at Ostend, Belgium.
Information: http://www.ifaj2010.org

April 21-23, 2010
"Celebrating success in America's heartland" 2010 Agri-Marketing Conference sponsored by the National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA) in Kansas City, Missouri USA
Information: www.nama.org

April 26-29, 2010
XIIIth World Congress of the International Association of Agricultural Information Specialists (IAALD) in Montpellier, France. Organized by Agropolis International.
Information: http://iaald2010.agropolis.fr


On communicator trust. We close this issue of ACDC News - and our reports for 2009 - with a comment by Jeff Jarvis in What would Google do?

"Trust is earned with difficulty and lost with ease."


Best regards and good searching. Please pass along your reactions, suggestions and ideas for the Agricultural Communications Documentation Center. Feel free to invite our help as you search for information. And please suggest (or send) agricultural communications documents we might add to this unique collection. We welcome them in hard copy (sent to Ag Com Documentation Center, 510 LIAC, 1101 S. Goodwin Avenue, Urbana, IL 61801) or in electronic format sent to docctr@library.uiuc.edu.

Get in touch with us when you see interesting items in the ACDC collection and can't gain full-text access through information in the citation, or through online searching. We will help you gain access.