ACDC News – Issue 09-19

“Effective communication with wide cross sections of society is probably more important now than it’s ever been.” This statement came recently from Dietram Scheufele, a life sciences communication faculty member at the University of Wisconsin. He expressed it in a conversation involving his research on communications about nanotechnology.

“The tricky part,” he added, “is that, while scientists generally realize how important it is to connect with the public, many people have taken the approach that it will be enough if we just put sound science out there. But unfortunately that’s not really supported by our research.”

Note: Many documents in the ACDC collection reinforce his point – that in the public arena, “sound science” is not enough.

Citation: Professor provides analysis of work on nanotechnology research
Posted at

Five tips for helping groups approach complex, value-laden issues. We have added to the ACDC collection a “how to” article in which Extension professionals describe five simple communications techniques for approaching tough issues in group sessions. These techniques are designed to reduce tensions, define real issues, address underlying values, break out of the usual brain patterns, involve different learning styles and discover unanticipated opportunities.

Citation: Communication techniques for initiating discussion
Posted at

Who is responsible for ensuring basic food needs? The government should be responsible, according to results of a recent worldwide poll in 21 nations. This survey by the Program on International Policy Attitudes, University of Maryland, indicated:

  • Majorities of 70-97 percent in all 21 countries said government should be responsible for meeting their basic need for food. The average was 87 percent.
  • The most universal support for government responsibility was found in eight nations: Indonesia (97 percent), China (96 percent), Jordan (96 percent), Kenya (96 percent), Argentina (94 percent), Azerbaijan (93 percent), Germany (93 percent) and Italy (92 percent).
  • Respondents in the following nations expressed least inclination toward that view: India (70 percent), U. S. (74 percent) and Russia (77 percent).

Posted at

Miscommunicating with pets . So you think you can recognize when your dog has misbehaved? You think you see a “guilty look?” If so, findings of a study reported recently in Behavioural Processes might prompt you to reconsider. Experimentation by researcher Alexandra Horowitz revealed that the human tendency to attribute a “guilty look” to a dog was not due to whether the dog was indeed guilty.

“Instead, people see ‘guilt’ in a dog’s body language when they believe the dog has done something it shouldn’t have – even if the dog is in fact completely innocent of any offense.”

Citation: What really prompts the guilty look
News release posted at:

Impact of classic rural photography . A new documentary focuses on perhaps the most influential rural photography effort in U. S. history. “Documenting the face of America: Roy Stryker and the FSA/OWI Photographers” is the title of this film which premiered during August on national public television. It “brings to life the remarkable stories behind the legendary group of New Deal-sponsored photographers who traversed the country in the 1930s and early 1940s to capture some of the most iconic images in history,” explained an announcement. Experiences and photos of Dorothea Lange, Russell Lee, Walker Evans, Gordon Parks and other respected photographers are featured through their work with the Farm Security Administration and Office of War Information.

You can learn more about the documentary and the work of those featured in it at:

ICT – more than computers and the internet. Kimberly Clarke emphasized that point about information and communications technologies in an article we added recently to the ACDC collection.

She noted an international report that mentioned only Morse code, the telephone, wireless transmission, television, and satellite, mobile and fiber optic telecommunications in a timeline of ITC milestones. “There was no mention of the invention or evolution of papermaking, the printing press, or basic writing instruments such as pens and pencils. Relatively cheap technologies such as cameras, typewriters, tape records, VCRs and fax machines are ignored, as are the services and transport technologies that have revolutionized communications: the postal system, bicycles, cars, trains and aeroplanes, to name a few.” She argued that “for the vast majority of poor people in developing countries, the best solutions will continue to be the ones that they are already relying on now: other people in their social network, radio, and in some cases printed materials. There is huge room for improvement in many of these ‘old’ ICTs.”

Citation: ICT – what does it all mean?

Communicator activities approaching

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.

April 26-29, 2010
XIIIth World Congress of the International Association of Agricultural Information Specialists (IAALD) in Montpellier, France. Organized by Agropolis International.

Tapping into livestock courting skills . We close with a limerick that sheds important light on communications skills of pigs.

There once was a pig called Norton,
Who attracted his wife by snortin’.
You may think this crude,
But to a pig it’s not rude.
‘Cause that’s how pigs go a-courtin’.

“I wrote this in my 11th grade English class at Pennridge High School, Perkasie, Pa. back when I was an FFA student,” Jim Phillips explained to us recently. Do you suppose his early signs of creative rural writing help account for his becoming a senior editor of Progressive Farmer magazine?

Thanks to Jim for this contribution. Do we have other writers or collectors of limericks that touch on the communications aspects of agriculture? If so, please send them to us by return e-note.

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.