ACDC News – Issue 09-04

“Be persistent and have a thick skin.” As livestock editor of Successful Farming magazine (U.S.), Betsy Freese has provided an interesting example of enterprise journalism. A feature posted recently on the web site of the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) explained how she used her initiative to establish a highly read, nationally valued annual series known as “Pork Powerhouses.” Information that she gathered and reported came from sources she identified, established and has maintained across the years.

You can learn how she came upon the idea and developed it, what challenges she faced, what satisfactions she found and what advice she offers for this entrepreneurial kind of agricultural reporting.

Posted at

Scientists listen to talking plants. Here’s another response you can use when friends ask if you, as an agricultural communicator, talk to plants or animals. We spotted it recently while searching for agricultural communications literature.

According to an article in the Jerusalem Post , Bar-Ilan University scientists have developed a way to detect and measure contamination in a body of water by “listening” to the sound that microscopic algae plants release into it.

“A plant suffering from lead poisoning for example, which comes from waste released by battery and paint manufacturing plants into water sources, will produce a different resonance than that of a healthy plant. The method enables early detection of penetrating contaminants and toxins that harm flora and fauna.”

Citation: Talking plants tell scientists their water is contaminated
Posted at > Site search: “talking plants”

Using local media creatively in rural areas . Montana Journalism Review recently tackled the issue of rural coverage, using this theme: “The Challenges of Rural Journalism.” Here are titles of the articles featured:

  • “The truth and other howlers: In the West’s environmental wars, truth is often the first casualty”
  • “Cowflops and cowtowns: Urban journalist remembers rural stories and sagebrush survival”
  • “Peaks and valleys: Geography keeps the news away from rural Kyrgyzstan”
  • “Creating a news network: A team of University of Montana students and professors are building a new kind of journalism in the rural communities of Montana”
  • “Kids, cattle, grain, minerals and journalism: Community support keeping the signal alive at rural radio station”
  • “Introducing the nonprofit newspaper hybrid: The Corporation for Public Community Newspapers creates a new business model for hometown papers”

Citation: Challenges of rural journalism
You can read these articles posted at

And for you music lovers, we would call attention to an online vocal performance that accompanied these articles about challenges in rural journalism.

You can hear the staff members of Montana Journalism Review sing “I’ve read every sheet” to a familiar tune, “I’ve been everywhere” by Geoff Mack. The poem, written “late one night” by Dennis Swibold of the journalism faculty, cites nearly 100 titles of newspapers in Montana.

“We were a little off,” says a voice in the background after the song ends. Perhaps, but we think you may enjoy listening to it.

Posted at

Thanks for your thoughts about career preparation – and we welcome more . Thanks to those who have kindly offered thoughts and suggestions about how to design an undergraduate agricultural journalism/communications program for the 21st Century. We welcome other suggestions as well about these and other aspects of such a program:

  • Communications skills in which undergraduate students in agricultural journalism/communications need to be most proficient.
  • Particular agricultural areas, if any, in which they need more schooling.
  • Whether they need to be educated in communications theory and research.

Please pass along your reactions and suggestions. Send them to . They will contribute to progress in this field of professional interest. Thank you.

Communicator activities approaching

March 12-14, 2009
“Return. Rebuild. Renew.” Spring meeting of the Agricultural Relations Council (ARC) in New Orleans, Louisiana USA.

April 15-17, 2009
“Hot ideas and sizzling solutions.” 2009 Agri-Marketing Conference sponsored by the National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA) in Atlanta, Georgia USA.

May 17-19, 2009
“Parlez-vouz marketing?” Seminar of the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) in Montreal, Canada.

June 6-10, 2009
“When tillage begins, other arts follow.” ACE.NETC.09 sponsored by the National Extension Technology Conference (NETC) and the Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Life and Human Sciences (ACE), in Des Moines, Iowa USA.

June 13-16, 2009
“Branding communications with a kick.” Annual Institute of the Cooperative Communicators Association (CCA) in Kansas City, Missouri USA.

Just what the doctor ordered. We close this issue of ACDC News with a printer’s tale from the Agricultural Publishers Association Archives housed here at the University of Illinois. We are reviewing this APA collection, in search of information about trends, progress and issues in agricultural publishing across the decades.

Do you sense a kindred spirit here? In 1926, APA Executive Secretary V. F. Hayden reported:

“A printer received an inquiry from a surgeon who wanted bids on several thousand letterheads, different sizes, grades and colors, and he wanted the form held standing.

“The printer replied: ‘Am in the market for one operation for appendicitis, one, two, or five inch incision, with or without ether; also with or without nurse. Quotations must include putting appendix back and canceling the order if found sound. Successful bidder is expected to hold incision open for sixty days, as I expect to be in the market for an operation for gall-stones, and I want to save the extra cost of cutting.'”

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.