ACDC News – Issue 08-18

Helping close a black hole in communications for development. Sometimes, as we scout for information, we come across fresh insights about our mission in the Agricultural Communications Documentation Center. Here is an insight from two communications faculty members in Peru.  They were writing in the Communication for Social Change Report :

“We have found that there is an insurmountable void, a kind of black hole that the rationality of communicational diagnosis has actually prevented from closing:  the creative connection between research in the form of diagnosis and/or baselines, and the communication strategies derived from such research.”

We hope that, through this Center, we are helping strengthen connections between research and practice in the world of agriculture-related journalism and communications.

Title: Developing a unique proposal for communication for development in Latin America

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Food safety more worrying than national security .  Results of a survey during May among 42,000 Korean adults revealed more concern about food safety than about war, nuclear risks and other national security issues.

  • Worry about contaminated food and food poisoning topped the list of food safety concerns. “Public awareness of food safety has grown since the resumption of U.S. beef imports became a social issue…Given the melamine scare, however, Korean concern over food safety is expected to remain high.”
  • Increasing dependence on food imports also ranked high.  Eighty-seven percent said they were worried about imported farm produce, compared with only 40 percent concerned over the safety of domestic farm produce.

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How the “frankenfood” metaphor has been used on the Web. You can find an informative analysis of this metaphor in an article by Iina Hellsten in the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication. Hellsten followed the development of “frankenfood” over time (beginning in 1992), then mapped ways in which the term was used on various Web sites.

“The Frankenstein food metaphor is interesting because of its clear life-cycle on the Web,” the author concluded.  Also, it served different functions for different discourses:

  • It was useful in evoking emotions that could be transformed into action against genetic manipulation in food production.
  • For participants in the newsgroups it effectively gave a name to these concerns.
  • In the newspaper, it provided a catchy and concise way of talking about the politicized issue.

Title: Focus on metaphors: the case of “Frankenfood” on the Web

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Fish communicating – by glowing bright red .  Certain fish are capable of glowing red, according to research reported recently in BMC Ecology .  Nico Michiels, from the University of Tübingen, Germany, and associates identified at least 32 reef fish species that fluoresced visibly in red.

“We believe red fluorescence may be part of a private communication system in fish,” the authors speculate.

Title: Fantastic photographs of fluorescent fish

You can see a summary of the report, along with sample photos, at:

Much room for improvement in farm safety photography .  That’s the message from results of an analysis of safety-related photographs in three popular U.S. farm periodicals.  According to findings reported earlier this year in the Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health :

  • Only 56.7 percent of the published photos illustrated best practices for safety.
  • Among the photos that included children, only 18.5 percent depicted best practices.
  • Photographs in advertisements illustrated best practices 56.5 percent of the time.

“Editors, photo-journalists, and advertisers should take every opportunity to promote safety in this high-risk industry through portrayal of safe work practices and safe work environments in photographs that are used in farm periodicals,” the authors concluded.

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Check with us at for help in gaining full-text access.

Honored rural columnist tells how she writes for metro audiences. Angela Goode of South Australia recently offered 27 years of tips and perspectives on her efforts to improve public understanding of agriculture. Based on a rural property, Angela has written a popular weekly column for The Advertiser newspaper, Adelaide. She was honored earlier this year as the inaugural Rural Icon by Rural Media South Australia.

You can read her report and some of her recent columns in a feature she provided to the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ).

Title: Reporting on agriculture in metropolitan media

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Communicator activities approaching

November 12-14, 2008
“Making waves, lifting tides.”  Annual conference of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB) in Kansas City, Missouri USA.
January 20-22, 2009
Knowledge “Share Fair” to showcase examples of good knowledge sharing practices in agricultural development and food security.  Hosted by five international agencies and held at the headquarters of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Rome, Italy.

Another model headline for livestock editors .  We close this issue of ACDC News with another supposedly-actual headline that has been floating around the internet.  At least it touches on matters that livestock journalists might cover. Thanks to Burt Swanson for alerting us to it:

“Panda mating fails; veterinarian takes over”

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 .

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.

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