ACDC News – Issue 10-03

“Why hyperlocal journalism is easier – and harder – in rural areas.” That is the title of a blog by Mark Coddington, reporter for the Grand Island Independent (Nebraska USA). He noted that such coverage is easier in rural areas because you are starting off with a clearly defined community that already identifies itself as such. However, coverage is more difficult because in most cases “you don’t own the conversation around your news, and people aren’t used to going online to talk about it.”

Read more from this commentary.

An idea for responding rapidly to bad agricultural reporting . “How long will the PR beatings continue?” asks Rich Jefferson, senior director of public relations for the Association of Equipment Manufacturers. “As long as Ag lets them,” he answers. Writing in Ag Executive Advisor , he recently described a possible model that would involve:

  • A “smart, disciplined spokesperson, based in a city possessing studies of all TV networks” and monitoring news and commentary that involves agriculture.
  • Rapid responses by the spokesperson, geared to critical talking points that provide balance against incomplete, inaccurate or biased media reports.

“There are other models that could prove even better,” he emphasized, “but if Ag is going to replenish the reservoir of good will toward producers, quickly and satisfactorily, it’s time to pick a model and get to work.”

Read the article on page 9 of this issue .

“How (not) to write about Africa” is the title of an article from Granta magazine (via Developments ) offering dozens of cautionary tips about how non-African writers can avoid clichés and stereotypes. Author Binyavanga Wainana used a tongue-in-cheek (but frontal) approach that agricultural journalists and others can use to try to move beyond the stereotypes.

Citation: How (not) to write about Africa
View the article online here .

Does generic advertising help – or hurt – brand advertising? It depends, according to an analysis reported at the 2009 annual meeting of the American Agricultural Economics Association. Using an analytic model they developed, researchers concluded that:

  • Brand advertising would benefit when generic advertising focuses on differentiating attributes of products.
  • Effectiveness of brand advertising would decrease when generic advertising emphasizes undifferentiated attributes of products.

Read the paper by visiting this web site , then searching on the title: “Does generic advertising help or hurt brand advertising?”

Recognizing innovative rural radio in Canada . Thanks to Brad Schneller for alerting us to several resources that document an innovative multi-media, distance education effort in Canada. This series, the “The National Farm Radio Forum,” came into planning during the late 1930s, when radio was young. Issue-oriented programs began on CBC stations in eastern Canada by 1941. They featured listening groups that discussed rural issues explored through the programs. This series was aired nationally by 1943 and involved as many as 1,600 listening groups. It continued until 1965.

You can learn more here about the “Farm Radio Forum.”
Also, you can listen to an early program in the series. Other documents about the Forum are in the ACDC collection as well.

Valuable information lost. Many documents from the past that could provide helpful expertise and advice today about “water for agriculture” are no longer available. Artur Vallentin of Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ), Germany, emphasized that information loss in a 2009 issue of Rural21 , international journal for rural development. He argued that systematic knowledge management should be used to harness both past and current knowledge as efficiently as possible.

We observe that his point applies to documents about agricultural communications as well as those about water for agriculture and food. The ACDC mission serves knowledge management by locating, preserving and making available the agricultural communications information that is enduringly helpful, across the years and miles.

You can read his commentary here .

Communicator activities approaching

April 17-21, 2010
“Between passion & press ure” 54th Annual Congress, International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) hosted by the Belgian Association of Agricultural Journalists at Ostend, Belgium.

April 21-23, 2010
“From America’s Heartland to the Rest of the World.” 2010 Agri-Marketing Conference sponsored by the National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA) 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.

May 4, 2010
Midwest Regional Design and Writing Workshop for members of the American Agricultural Editors’ Association (AAEA), Livestock Publications Council (LPC) and Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow (ACT). Takes place in West Des Moines, Iowa USA.
Information: Jennifer Bremer at

July 24-28, 2010
“Rolling on the River, AMS Style.” Ag Media Summit in St. Paul, Minnesota USA.

Yes, we’re still enjoying rural humor – from any place or era. Unabashed, we turn to it with the same enthusiasm we find in the latest agricultural news. Here’s an example from a 1928 “Farm Gossip” column in Prairie Farmer. It appeared during a period when chicken thieves were active in rural Illinois.

Old farmer Steinkraus
went to the henhouse
to get his wife a fat pullet.

When he got there
the henhouse was bare,
but the thief was stopped dead
by a bullet.

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.

And please let us know if you would rather not receive ACDC News . As Year 2010 gets under way, we want to tell you how much we appreciate your interest in this complimentary electronic newsletter. We hope it is helpful, interesting and convenient for you. However, we do not want to send something that you would rather not receive. So at any time please let us know if you would like to be removed from the list. You can do so by contacting us at the Documentation Center: . Also, please let us know if your e-mail address changes.