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Apr 24, 2012

Issue 12-07

What "digital divide" means. And so what? One of the most thorough analyses we have seen about the digital divide appeared in the September 2011 issue of the journal Telecommunications Policy. Martin Hilbert used network analysis to view the main approaches researchers have taken to conceptualize the digital divide. He found many diverse actors with dissimilar goals are involved in confronting it.

Beyond that, will efforts toward a single definition, coherent national strategy, and common outlook on digital development do better than others? Not really, he said. Instead, he suggested shifting focus to identifying desired impacts, which then determine ways to solve a particular problem and reach a desired goal. "The ends should determine the means, not the other way around."

You can review a permitted scholarly posting of this article, "The end justifies the definition," online at: http://www.martinhilbert.net/ManifoldDigitalDivide_Hilbert_AAM.pdf


How U.S. agri-businesses address the triple bottom line. A recent article in the International Food and Agribusiness Management Review examined sustainability strategies that U.S. agribusinesses use to integrate environmental and social responsibilities with economic goals. Researchers gathered responses from a sample of 165 agribusiness professionals representing U.S. firms participating in management seminars.

Results indicated that "although U.S. agribusiness companies tend to adopt broad sustainability views which are driven by management pressures, they primarily develop actions at the lower sustainability levels which are driven by external pressures such as customers, suppliers and the media."

You can read this journal article at http://purl.umn.edu/117601


More courageous rural reporting. Recently we added to the ACDC collection several reports about honors for courageous rural reporting. Here is a sobering example:

Reporter Vicky Ntetema received the 2010 Courage in Journalism Award from the International Women's Media Foundation for bravery in covering an issue in rural Tanzania. Her investigation shed light on brutal killings of albinos, as arranged by witchdoctors for use in traditional "remedies." Her life was threatened, she was forced twice to leave Tanzania for her safety, and at the time of the honor she was operating under cover. According to the BBC, for which she reports, some 170 witchdoctors have been arrested for albino killings.

You can learn more about Vicky Ntetema's reporting efforts at: http://iwmf.org/archive/articletype/articleview/articleid/1217/vicky-ntetema-tanzania.aspx


Contributing valued historic documents. Thanks to Eldon Fredericks, emeritus faculty member at Purdue University, for contributing 75 historic documents to the ACDC collection. Most of them include reports, newsletters and training materials from the National Project in Agricultural Communications during the latter 1950s. NPAC is one of the most effective professional development programs so far for extension and research communicators in land-grant universities and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It was funded by the Kellogg Foundation.

Contributions such as this are helping ACDC assemble a complete set of NPAC resources for future reference. You can learn more about the project and the materials by visiting the ACDC search page: http://web.library.uiuc.edu/asp/agx/acdc/search.html. Conduct a Subject search on "npac"


Food issues in the minds of UK residents: a 2011 update. We added recently to the ACDC collection a 2011 report, "Biannual Public Attitudes Tracker," from the UK Food Standards Agency. Based on a probability sampling of more than 2,000 adults, the survey identified these top six total concerns about food:

Food prices                           61 percent

Amount of salt in food           50

Amount of fat in food            44

Date labels                            27

Foods aimed at children,        26

  including school meals

BSE                                      18

All six concerns had increased significantly since November 2010.

You can read the full report at: http://www.food.gov.uk/multimedia/pdfs/biannualpublicattitudestrack.pdf


A challenge for land-grant universities. We appreciate a heads-up from ACDC Associate Steve Shenton about a case study that argues for stronger public engagement in land-grant universities. This report in the Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement suggests that scholars increasingly need to embrace and pursue a view of scholarship as a public rather than a private craft. It tells of a natural resources faculty member who built up a large research and extension education program at Cornell University addressing the human dimensions of wildlife management.

"Dan and his colleagues…have demonstrated that it is possible for academic professionals to pursue their scholarship through a stance of deep engagement, leading to products of both public and academic value. Crucially, they have shown that deep public engagement does not require the sacrifice of academic values. … these forms of value can feed and build upon each other."

You can read "The craft of public scholarship in land-grant education" at http://openjournals.libs.uga.edu/index.php/jheoe/article/view/493

We welcome your thoughts and experiences. Reach us at docctr@library.illinois.edu.


Communications - key to new EC action plan for welfare of animals. Early this year the European Commission posted a 2012-2015 action plan in this arena. Livestock farming in the EU represents an annual value of 149 billion euros. The Commission cited communications is a major factor in this strategy because:

  • Consumers and many other stakeholders lack appropriate information on important aspects of animal welfare.
  • Principles of animal welfare need to be simplified

According to the report, strategic actions for communications will begin with research. It will map out the current animal welfare education and information activities directed at the general public and consumers.

You can read the report at: http://ec.europa.eu/food/animal/welfare/actionplan/docs/aw_strategy_19012012_en.pdf


Communicator activities approaching.

  • May 21-24, 2012
    "East Meets West for Sustainable Development." 2012 conference of the Association for International Agricultural and Extension Education (AEAEE) in Nakhon Pathom Province, Thailand. Information: http://www.aiaee.org/images/stories/AIAEE/2012Conference/flyer.pdf
  • May 28-June 1, 2012
    26th annual National Extension Technology Conference (NETC) in New Orleans, Louisiana USA. Information: http://www.netc2012.org
  • June 2-5, 2012
    "Adventures in Communications." Annual institute of the Cooperative Communicators Association (CCA) in Tucson, Arizona USA. Information: http://www.communicators.coop
  • June 11-14, 2012
    "Charting a New Course." Annual conference of the Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Life and Human Sciences (ACE) in Annapolis, Maryland USA.

Eye-opening testimonials in agricultural advertising. We close this issue of ACDC News with an eye-opening claim by a company wanting to buy advertising space in farm papers during 1922. The marketer of Ditto Egg Tablets claimed that more than 100,000 poultry raisers testified to the value of this egg tonic.

In reporting the claim to member publications, the Agricultural Publishers Association urged them to scrutinize advertising copy carefully. APA energetically fought fraudulent advertising across the decades.


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