ACDC News – Issue 09-15

H1N1 Flu? Swine Flu? – Appealing to a media ombudsman. Here is one method being used to help clear the confusion. A concerned resident in Ontario, Canada, is appealing to the ombudsman of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) for help in addressing this internationally pesky issue of terminology. Owen Roberts, University of Guelph, describes the effort in his blog, “Urban Cowboy.” The resident argues that use of the term “swine flu” leads to unjust bias against pork and harm to the swine industry.

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“Ethical food shopping is now mainstream in Europe ,” according to research from IGD, an international food and grocery firm. “Until recently, ethical food shoppers were seen as niche. Now as many as seven out of ten Europeans we surveyed buy ethically at least some of the time.”

What are the dimensions of ethical shopping? Priorities vary in countries and cultures across Europe, but here are some aspects of it in the minds of consumers:

  • Environmentally friendly
  • Organic, sustainable
  • Fair Trade
  • Local sourcing
  • Animal welfare

The report we added to the ACDC collection emphasized how food products with ethical credentials offer immense growth potential.

Citation: British shoppers lead the way
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“Celebrity chefs – the new demagogues.” That is the title of a commentary we added recently to the ACDC collection from the International Public Relations Association. Pointing to the popularity of celebrity chefs in the United Kingdom, the author expressed concern about:

  • The dip in credibility of scientific experts producing nutrition-related reports that often contradict one another.
  • A growing relationship between the exultation of food (from chefs) and fear (from news of the day).

“Clearly the days of activist celebrity chefs are with us. Good luck to them, but for those of us charged with the challenge of communicating on behalf of the rest of the food industry, let’s try that bit harder.”

Citation: Celebrity chefs
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Public image of U. S. farming and agriculture shown slipping . We recently assembled for the ACDC collection a six-year trend analysis of this “image” matter. Results are based on results of seven Gallup Polls among U. S. adults between 2001 and 2008. Respondents in each survey were asked to say whether their overall view of farming and agriculture is very positive, somewhat positive, neutral, somewhat negative or very negative.

  • The share of “very positive” responses dropped from 23% in 2001 to 13% in 2008
  • The combined share of “very positive” and “somewhat positive” responses dropped from 59% in 2001 to 50% in 2008

Citation: Gallup Poll: views about farming and agriculture, 2001-2008
Check with us by return e-note if you are interested in seeing the detailed results.

A widening view of agricultural communications research . The broad and scattered nature of research literature about agricultural communications became more apparent through a recent analysis by researchers Eric Abbott, Jennifer Scharpe and Jim Evans. They presented findings at the Association for Communication Excellence (ACE) conference in Des Moines, Iowa, during June. Here is some of what they learned in examining such literature published between 2000 and 2008:

  • “By any measure, the literature of agricultural communication is widely scattered…” Researchers identified articles in more than 100 journals and concluded: “Databases such as Communication Abstracts, Agricola, and CABabstracts are missing most of the relevant literature.”
  • “The 391 articles/books/dissertations collected in the current database from 2000 to 2008 represent only a portion of the total, yet certainly demonstrate a large amount of research activity in this area.”
  • “The problem, and thus opportunity, is how to help network the diverse group of researchers from 132 universities/institutions who are active researchers in agricultural communications.”

Citation : Trends in agricultural communication research: 2000-2008
Contact the lead author at to inquire about access to the full report.

Tainted milk in China: struggles in coverage. A report that we added recently to the ACDC collection suggested that in early 2009 “the traditional media still had not managed to investigate and report the magnitude” of allegations regarding melamine-tainted milk powder in that country. A China-based journalist, writing under the pseudonym of Robert Chang, described in the Global Journalist how government media, “netizens,” marketers, public relations firms and other parties responded. He emphasized the impact of online forums in this matter.

“Typically Chinese Internet users view cyberspace as a freer place to voice their angers, lodge complaints and expose corrupted officials,” Chang reported. He said China Internet Network Center reported in July 2008 that China has 253 million Internet users, the biggest online population in the world.

Citation: Tainted
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Communicator activities approaching

September 10-12, 2009
“Shaping the future marketplace: the opportunity hunters.” Annual conference of the Canadian Farm Writers’ Federation in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

September 15-19, 2009
“Theory and practice: advisory work in a time of turbulence.” 19th European Seminar on Extension Education in Assisi, Italy.

October 15, 2009
Deadline for submission of abstracts of papers and posters to be presented at the International Association of Agricultural Information Specialists (IAALD) XIIIth World Congress, Montpellier, France, April 26-29, 2010. Theme: “Scientific and technical information and rural development: highlights of innovative practices.”

October 15-18, 2009
Annual conference of the Association of Food Journalists in Houston, Texas USA.

October 18-25, 2009
“The state of forestry information worldwide.” Special session at the XIII World Forestry Congress 2009 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

November 11-13, 2009
“Connecting: 2010 and beyond.” Annual convention of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB) in Kansas City, Missouri USA.

Aiming to be agri-pellucid. We close this issue of ACDC News with a little spice for the menu of agricultural writers. “Pellucid” is among the words MSN Encarta insists everyone simply should know – to fertilize the vocabulary. The term describes expression that is easy to understand, clear in meaning or transparent. What fresh term(s) might we use to describe the opposite?

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.