ACDC News – Issue 09-18

Sharp pains – and how health words matter in the public mind. Producers in the U. S. pork industry feel a sharp pain from this insight that is supported by research from the United Kingdom. A team of researchers in the Economic and Social Research Council has been examining the public interpretation of terminology used in policy documents and media coverage of health issues such as the bird flu scare and the foot and mouth outbreak.

“We found that the way people communicate about a threat largely determines how they understand it and behave towards it,” said lead researcher Brigitte Nerlich. Some terms can make people sit up and listen, she reported, but they can also lead to panic or cynicism. She did not report research about how terminology may affect buying behavior.

“Recent advice on [H1N1] flu has centred on basic hygiene, which makes people feel they can do something practical, instead of being mere victims of so-called ‘superbugs’ or ‘killer viruses.’ But obviously this is easier to do when a disease is relatively benign.”

Citation: Words matter in public health
Posted at > conduct a site search on the document title

We extend anniversary congratulations to the University of the Philippines at Los Baños and the College of Development Communication within it. This month marks the Centennial observance of the founding of UPLB. Also, this year marks the 55th anniversary of the College, which was formed in 1954 as the Office of Extension and Publications within what was then the UP College of Agriculture.

Today the UPLB College of Development Communication is the only academic institution in the world that offers Bachelor of Science, Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy programs in Development Communication. Faculty members within it have pioneered in teaching, research and outreach related to this field.

Visit the UPLB College of Development Communication web site at:

Rural economies benefit from broadband access . Digital divide remains. Evidence of economic benefit is available in an August 2009 report from the Economic Research Service of the U. S. Department of Agriculture. Researchers cited relatively higher growth in employment and nonfarm private earnings in counties that had broadband access by 2000.

Rural-urban differences continue at the household level, researchers found. “By 2007, most households (82 percent) with in-home Internet access had a broadband connection. A marked difference exists, however, between urban and rural broadband use – only 70 percent of rural households with in-home Internet access had a broadband connection in 2007, compared with 84 percent of urban households.”

Citation: Broadband value for rural America
Posted at

Where livestock producers turn for animal and herd health information. A survey reported in a recent issue of the Journal of Extension tracked the information sources of more than 1,700 Tennessee livestock producers. Among the findings:

  • The most commonly used source of animal or herd health information was the local veterinarian, followed by media sources, such as magazines, and the Extension Service.
  • About one in four used information from animal health companies.
  • One in 14 used the College of Veterinary Medicine.
  • About one in five used the Internet for such information.
  • More than 60 percent used more than one information source.
  • Multiple livestock enterprises seemed to invite use of more sources.

Citation: Use of animal or herd health information sources
Posted at

Pop radio program makes donkeys more productive, boys more attractive. Creative media selection has provided greater productivity and better lives for some working donkeys in Kenya. It also has added self-esteem and popularity among the teenage boys who handle them.

A report we have added to the ACDC collection explains how several health and animal protection agencies teamed up with an FM radio station. The station aired a series of programs aimed to change how the teenage donkey handlers saw themselves and how to care for and manage their donkeys. Helpful information, soap-style dramas, prize T-shirts and presence on a pop music channel at a specific time of day proved a winning combination – for the boys and their donkeys.

Citation: Communications success stories
Posted at

Seeking directions in the global biotech adventure. Lori Weaver, publisher and editor of Feeding the Globe , has revealed some recent discussion about the need for, and value of, genetically modified crops. A commentary we added recently to the ACDC collection presented some of the recent dialogue among scientists and interest groups about the role of biotechnology in global food security.

“Maybe the solution means we don’t necessarily choose one way at the exclusion of all others,” she observed.

Citation: Stopping for directions
Posted at

Communicator activities approaching

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

October 30, 2009
Deadline for research and professional papers to be presented in the Agricultural Communications Section of the Southern Association of Agricultural Scientists (SAAS) conference on February 6-9, 2010, in Orlando, Florida.
Information: > “Call for Papers for 2010 Meeting”

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

Fire away, Smedley. Do you champion coordinated approaches to agricultural communicating? Are you impatient with piecemeal approaches? If so, you may appreciate this image from veteran communicator Bob Kern. A long-time advocate of the “consulting communicator” role, Bob recalls attending the first regional meeting of the American Association of Agricultural College Editors (AAACE) in 1951 or 1952.

After a discussion that ranged widely and lacked much significance, one of the editors stood up and recalled a cartoon set on the bridge of a weathered-in Coast Guard cutter, shrouded in thick fog. The caption could be a motto for communicators who remain satisfied with fragmented, blind and short-cut approaches to agricultural communicating:

“Fire into the fog, Smedley. There may be a rum-runner there.”

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.