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ACDC News
Dec 8, 2014

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Oct 13, 2014

ACDC News

Jul 20, 2011

Issue 11-12

Creating fear about climate change.  It cuts both ways.  UK researchers Saffron O'Neill and Sophie Nicholson-Cole demonstrated that in a recent Science Communication article, "Fear won't do it."  Using Q-methodology and focus groups, they explored the influence of visual and iconic representations of climate change on people's senses of engagement with the issue.  Among the findings:

  • On a stand-alone basis fear, shock or sensationalism may promote verbal expressions and general feelings of concern.
  • However, shock and sensationalism overwhelmingly have a negative impact on active engagement with climate change.  They tend to disempower and distance people from it.
  • That is, unless representations are set in a context within which individuals are situated and to which they can relate.

You can read the paper here.


Creative way to educate about nature, feature public art and boost tourism.  We have added to the ACDC collection a report from the Journal of Extension about an award-winning scavenger hunt that combines science education, public art and tourism.  It's called the "Clam Trail," an Extension Service effort in support of the Barnegat Bay Shellfish Restoration Program in New Jersey. This sample of "edutainment" helps capture public attention and involve families, residents and visitors of all ages, businesses and civic organizations in enjoyable ways as they learn and interact.


Research reports recently made available online, in full text.  Here are four agricultural communications articles that are now available online from the Journal of Applied Communications.  This journal is published by the Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Life and Human Sciences (ACE). It changed recently from print to electronic format with open access:

  • "'The stuff you need out here': a semiotic case study analysis of an agricultural company's advertisements" by Emily B. Rhoades and Tracy Irani
  • "Photo-elicitation as a method of assessing village needs for extension planning" by Lulu Rodriguez and Denise Bjelland
  • "Penchant for print; media strategies in communicating agricultural information" by Amanda Ruth-McSwain
  • "To bother or not to bother?  Media relationship development strategies of agricultural communication professionals" by Amanda Ruth-McSwain and Ricky Telg

You can read these articles in Issue 3/4 of Volume 92.


Claude Gifford Collection now processed.  Many agricultural journalists and communicators throughout the U.S, and beyond, are acquainted with Claude Gifford.  Recipient of the 2008 Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Agricultural Editors' Association, this farm boy from a poor hill farm in northern Illinois contributed to his profession with distinction for a half century.  Among other parts of his career, he served on the editorial staff of Farm Journal for 23 years, including responsibilities for the editorial page.  In 1971 he became Director of Information for the U. S. Department of Agriculture where he served for more than 20 years on a personal level with nine Secretaries of Agriculture.

Claude's extensive professional collection is now part of the University of Illinois Archives. Materials in it extend broadly across the work and role of journalism and communications in agriculture during the 20th century. His personal reports range from "What it's like to be ignored" to "The spy who lives next door."   These materials represent a valuable resource during the years ahead for students, teachers, researchers, professionals and others interested in effective agricultural journalism and communications. Online, you can view the detailed finding aid that describes contents of the Gifford Collection.      


Historical view of "soft" and "hard" networks in New Zealand.  For 20 years Janet Toland of Victoria University has examined the interplay between the soft networks created by social capital and the hard networks created by information and communications technologies. She studied this relationship in one urban and one rural region of New Zealand between 1985 and 2005.

Findings reported in a recent research paper show a clear linear progression in terms of hard networks. For example, organizations became more interconnected through mechanisms such as alliances, mergers, clusters and trade networks. However, no clear linear development could be seen during the 20 years, in terms of soft networks. The author noted a circular pattern in which the same issues may be revisited a number of times over the years.  Some rural-urban differences were apparent regarding both types of networks.


Really speaking up for agriculture (125 years ago).  The National Farmers' Alliance attracted some thundering advocates during the 1890s, according to Clarence Poe in his book, My first 80 years.  Among the most picturesque and sensational, he said, was Mary Ellen Lease, an Irish-born lawyer in Kansas. 

"Her slogan, 'Farmers must raise less corn and more hell,' caught on and spread like a forest fire. With a powerful voice, deep and resonant, its effect startling and compelling, as was said at that time, 'she hurls sentences as Jove hurls thunderbolts.'"

Let us know at docctr@library.illinois.edu if you would like to learn more and don't have access to the book.


Communicator activities approaching.

  • August 15, 2011
    Deadline for entries: print and electronic journalists and media specialists of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States.  "Innovations and Advisory Services," in Nairobi, Kenya, during November. Information: http://extensionconference2011.cta.int/sites/default/files/Journalist-Call-for-Submissions-Ext-Conf.pdf
  • August 30-September 3, 2011
    20th European Seminar on Extension Education in Helsinki, Finland. Information:  http://esee-2011.blogspot.com/
  • September 14-18, 2011
    "Experience new world agriculture."  2011 Congress of the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists in Guelph, Canada, and Niagara Falls. Information: http://www.ifaj2011.com
  • November 9-11, 2011
    "Insight for agriculture…every day."  Annual convention of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB) in Kansas City, Missouri. Information: www.nafb.com
  • November 9-12, 2011
    "Innovative approaches for agricultural knowledge management: global extension experiences."  Conference of the International Society of Extension Education, New Delhi, India. Information:  http://inseeworld.com/conference.htm
  • November 15-18, 2011
    "Innovations in extension and advisory services."  International conference in Nairobi, Kenya.  Sponsored by a variety of national, regional and international partners. Information:  http://extensionconference2011.cta.int

Yes, better left unsaid.  We close this issue of ACDC News nodding in agreement with rural writer Lee Pitts who recently described in Progressive Cattleman what happened during a livestock auction in Utah. 

Bidding was slow on a particular horse. A friend of the owner stood up in the crowd and said, "You're just penalizing this horse because of the way he acted in the preview.  He's not that way normally."  The auctioneer was unable to get another bid.


Best regards and good searching.

Please pass along your reactions, suggestions and ideas. 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 Comm Documentation Center, 510 LIAC, 1101 S. Goodwin Avenue, Urbana, IL 61801) or in electronic format sent to docctr@library.illinois.edu.