ACDC News – Issue 10-08

A “hole rent in the fabric of the community.” That’s how Marc Haddock of the Deseret News described the demise of five community weekly newspapers in Utah during early 2009.

“The history of Utah’s cities and towns – as it has been written week after week in the pages of their hometown papers – captures the day-to-day life of the community in more depth and detail than could ever be compiled in a single book. It is an unparalleled record of births and deaths, weddings and funerals, major news events and small-town happenings. Anyone who has subscribed to one of Utah’s more than 50 weekly or biweekly newspapers will recognize the hole that will be rent in the fabric of the community when these papers cease to exist.”

You can read the article here .

Media training boosts confidence of producers. Evidence came recently from a study reported by agricultural communications researchers at Texas Tech University. Results of a one-day, interactive media workshop among Texas cotton producers revealed significant positive change between the pre-test and post-test in their:

  • attitude and perception toward the news media
  • confidence about presenting an accurate view of an agriculture-related topic
  • comfort level in being interviewed by media

You can read this research report here .

Development journalism – giving soul to media. “As issues facing the developing world grow ever more complex and difficult, the task of good journalism should be to throw light on them.” A recent feature by Sue George in The Guardian ( UK) addressed this challenge and included some “how to.”

  • Development journalism is especially complex – and under threat – because “international development is complex, slow, non-prescriptive and uncertain. It requires the reporter to appreciate and explore the interplay of diverse realms such as health, education, environment, governance, local and national economics, and culture.”
  • It is not “an entirely uncritical publicity vehicle for any organization or institution.”
  • It is not “making people into victims by treating them without dignity or sensationalizing their lives.”
  • “We are looking at big policies affecting developing countries,” a cited reporter explained, “and looking at how this relates on the ground to those who expect to be benefiting.” Another cited reporter put it this way: Development journalism “gives soul to media, it gives it a human face.”

You can read this article here .
Also, here is another perspective on development journalism that we added recently to the ACDC collection.

New Chickens magazine hits the newsstands. “How much more basic can you get than providing your family with food from right outside your backdoor?” asked Roger Sipe, editor of the new Chickens magazine, in a recent news release. We received word of it via the AgriMarketing weekly update. Published by BowTie, Inc., this periodical will focus on the common backyard chicken. It will feature products and services, breed profiles, poultry keeping tips and other information for the novice or experienced poultry keeper.

You can read the news release here .

Remarkable international portfolio of water photos. World Water Day on March 22 inspired the Boston Globe to arrange for an online set of 43 remarkable photos “all of water, here at home – Earth.” The National Geographic Society shared some of them.

You can review them here .

Here’s another response when friends ask, “Do you talk to animals?” You can affirm it – and explain that animals also are talking to you, using social media.

“Even cows are tweeting now,” announced reporter Sharon Hill in a recent issue of the Windsor Star ( Ontario, Canada). She was reporting on an innovative experiment by the Critical Media Lab, University of Waterloo. Staff members teamed up with the Buttermine Farms in Brant, Ontario, to make this possible. How?

  • The farm uses a volunteer milking system, in which cows “volunteer” when they wish to be milked
  • A robotic milker does the milking
  • Each cow wears a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tag that coordinates her activities with a computer
  • Staff members prepared a Twitter profile for 12 cows and created a “voice” for each.

So, for example, a Holstein cow named Frosty Lace tweets online:

“Thought I would sneak in for some good feed. No way.”
“All this milking makes me hungry. Ate 1254 kg.”
“Fastest teat is my left back which milked in 2:50 secs”

Want to read some of the reports about this project?

“About ‘teat tweet'”
“Tweets reveal an udder world”
“Teats and tweets”

Communicator activities approaching

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

May 5-6, 2010
“Desert Discoveries.” Annual meeting of the Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA) in Tucson, Arizona USA.

June 14-17, 2010
“Meet us in St. Louis.” Annual conference of the Association of Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Life and Human Sciences (ACE) in St. Louis, Missouri USA.

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

Insight from Pootwattle, the Virtual Academic ™. We close this issue of ACDC news with a key communications insight. It falls outside our agricultural focus, but seems profound enough for us to think you will appreciate it. And we pass it along with thanks to the University of Chicago Writing Program for use of its random sentence generator. Virtual Academic uses words and phrases pervading academic journals these days. Here it is:

The sublimation of narrative communication is homologous with the teleology of unsituated knowledge.

Yes, you can create your own impressive insights through the Virtual Academic .

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