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Jan 30, 2012

Issue 12-02

New ways to connect organizations and agencies that focus on climate, agriculture, and water.

New forms of media provide new opportunities for global outreach, Andrew C. Revkin emphasized recently in WMO Bulletin, journal of the World Meteorological Organization.

He observed that societies rich and poor need reliable and timely information on the weather and, increasingly, on the causes and consequences of grander-scale shifts in the climate system itself. On that front, "an enormous gap persists between what is possible and what is happening." Part of it can be narrowed, he suggested, if scientists and scholars—and their institutions—think creatively about how to expand their communication circles and pathways. Among the examples he described:

  • National Atmospheric Space Administration's use of Twitter to "bat down rumors and provide a swift source of updates."
  • A "station scientist" program by the American Meteorological Society to help those who deliver weather forecasts on television.
  • A "Climate Q&A Service" to reporters from the American Geophysical Union.
  • A "singing climatologist" at Pennsylvania State University

You can read the article online at: http://www.wmo.int/pages/publications/bulletin_en/60_1_revkin_en.html


A new agricultural communications text.

Two faculty members at the University of Florida have written a new book about skills and concepts in agricultural communications:

Ricky Telg and Tracy Anne Irani, Agricultural Communications in Action: a Hands-On Approach. Cengage Learning, Florence, Kentucky.  368 pages. 2011

"Current communication trends are integrated throughout this practical, 'how-to' text. It also includes insight from real professionals in various agriculture-related industries, illustrating how they tackle communication issues and problems." It is tailored to help students and professionals become better equipped to serve as effective communicators in this field.

You can read the publisher's description here: http://www.cengage.com/search/productOverview.do?Ntt=agricultural+communications||9781111317140&N=11&Ntk=all||P_Isbn13


How farmers prefer to be identified

Results of the recent Iowa Farm Poll suggest that in Iowa they think the term "farmers" best describes them. 

Here are preferences among five terms that respondents were asked to consider:

Farmer             60 percent

Producer          18

Farm operator  18

Grower              3

Rancher             1

You can read a news brief about this survey at: http://www.agrimarketing.com/s/71892


Who's got the phone? A five-country gender comparison. This question formed the basis of a study in New Media and Society about the use of the telephone by men and women at the "bottom of the pyramid." Researchers used face-to-face interviews based on probability sampling in rural and urban centers of India, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Thailand. Telephone usage involved household fixed phones and respondents' own mobile phones. Among the findings:

  • A significant gender divide appeared in Pakistan and India, and to a lesser extent in Sri Lanka. A divide was absent in Thailand and the Philippines.
  • Male and female respondents in India, Sri Lanka, the Philippines and Thailand did not differ much in their use of telephones.   
  • The core cause of the gender problem "appears to lie outside the realm of telecom, in the subordination of women in economic decision-making within families."
  • Authors recommended policies that will enable wider telephone uptake, especially mobiles and among women.

You can read the abstract of this New Media and Society article here: http://nms.sagepub.com/content/12/4/549.short

Check with us at docctr@library.illinois.edu for help in gaining full-text access.


Photographing the fading of rural community. Thanks to Prof. Kenneth Tunnell of Eastern Kentucky University for alerting us to his new book, Once Upon a Place, that pays visual attention to the fading of community in rural Kentucky. It's packed with photos that reveal "the downturn in family farming and to the closing of local businesses, schools, post offices, and churches; to the influx of big-box retailers; to symbols of community awash in change; and to indications of social disorganization played out as social problems."

You can learn more about the book at: http://onceuponaplacexlibris.com/index.htm


Wondering what to do with your professional materials? Wanting to find a home for professional references and resources you've gathered and used—even created—during a career in agricultural journalism and communications? If so, please check with us about the possibility of using the Agricultural Communications Documentation Center as a forever home for them and as a way to help them serve others during the years ahead. Perhaps you are aware (through the Contributors section of the ACDC website) that we value private collections. Across the years, they can be an important resource for professionals, students, teachers, researchers, and others interested in agricultural journalism and communications.

You can get acquainted here with ACDC contributors and the varied kinds of resources they have provided. Get in touch with Joyce Wright at jcwright@illinois.edu or Jim Evans at evansj@illinois.edu if you wish to consider this approach.


Communicator activities approaching.

  • February 5-6, 2012
    Agricultural Communications Research Meeting at the Southern Association of Agricultural Scientists Conference, Birmingham, Alabama USA. Registration online at: https://store.lsuagcenter.com/p-94-saas-registration-2012.aspx
  • February 17, 2012
    "Food and Agricultural Communications - The Next Frontier." Industry-wide symposium hosted by the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences and the College of Media at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Information: http://www.agcommevent.com
  • March 22-23, 2012
    Annual meeting of the Agricultural Relations Council (ARC) in Charleston, South Carolina. Information: http://www.agrelationscouncil.org

Guideline for agricultural issue managers and risk communicators. We close this issue of ACDC News with a story we noted in the archives of the Agricultural Publishers Association. Executive Secretary Victor Hayden reported it in 1932 when he spoke to staff members in the USDA Office of Information:

An enthusiastic courtier said to the king: "May your subjects all die before you."

He was ordered beheaded by the angered king.

Another courtier with a flair for diplomacy phrased the sentiment in these words:

"May your Majesty outlive all his subjects."

He was knighted.


Best wishes 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