ACDC News – Issue 10-09

International excellence in agricultural broadcasting . The International Federation of Agricultural Journalists recently presented the inaugural IFAJ Star Prize for Agricultural Broadcasting to Kerry Staight for her television feature aired on ABC-TV. Based in South Australia, this Australian Broadcasting Corporation journalist did an exceptional job of addressing the sensitive issue of succession planning by farm families. She drew upon the insights and experiences of families and consultants that cooperated with her.

You can view this Star Prize program, “All in the Family,” here .

Top radio honor. Click here to listen to the award-winning radio entry by Sarina Locke, an ABC rural journalist based in Canberra, Australia. “Surprising developments in West Timor, Indonesia” is the title of this program. You will find that it features an engaging topic, a strong human touch and especially effective use of functional sounds.

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

You can review them here .

Digitizing agricultural weeklies . Something approaching 15,000 issues of 12 U. S. agricultural weeklies have been digitized to date by the History, Philosophy and Newspaper Library here at the University of Illinois. As a group, they involve a time span between 1841 and 1939 – and the project continues.

Anyone with access to the Internet can browse these farm papers by date or search by keyword across articles, advertisements and photo captions, according to an article we are adding to the ACDC collection. Access to the repository is free. “The University of Illinois Library houses one of the world’s premier collections of agricultural newspapers,” the article reported. “The collection is valuable not only for students and scholars researching the history of agriculture or agricultural economics, communications and technology, but also for historians of education, historical sociologists, environmental historians, and social and cultural historians.”

You can visit the “Farm, Field and Fireside” repository h ere .

Why care about small town newspapers? Professor Terry Besser of Iowa State University offered nearly a dozen reasons in a commentary we added recently to the ACDC collection. For example, he argued that small town papers can:

  • Reflect, affirm and help build a positive community atmosphere
  • Help local citizens define what it means to be a member of the local community
  • Remind communities of their history
  • Report the important events in common peoples’ lives
  • Identify local needs, highlight local talent and recognize local achievements
  • Reveal deviant and unacceptable behavior as well as exemplary behavior in the community
  • Create forums for discussion of local policies and issues; encourage participation
  • Dispel rumors

“Let people chuckle about the kind of news covered,” he concluded. “Perhaps [laughter] is another contribution of small town papers in community life.”

You can read the commentary here , via The Hometown Weekly.

Chinese farmers calling for more useful information. That is the theme of feedback from farmers who took part in a recent training course. Writing in the Rural21 journal, Wang Dehai of China Agricultural University reported challenges such as:

  • Information too theoretical and not adapted to producers’ local conditions
  • Extension personnel – few in number, limited qualifications, overloaded with administrative work
  • Commercial trainers – accessible, but seen as holding conflict of interest

“Training need assessment is a fundamental tool to improve rural training to suit Chinese farmers’ needs and change the trainers’ mentality, perceptions and capabilities,” the author concluded.

Read this brief journal article here .

Condolences to the families of Hal Taylor and Don Gomery. The recent passing of these two professional agricultural journalists/communicators holds special meaning for us in the Agricultural Communications Documentation Center, as for many others.

  • Hal was a long-time mentor, associate and friend through his activities as an effective, highly respected communications leader in the U. S. Department of Agriculture. During retirement he contributed valued documents to the ACDC collection, including materials from the influential National Project in Agricultural Communications (NPAC) during the 1950s and 1960s. Learn more about Hal’s career here .
  • Don associated with the Center during the past five years through his service on the executive committee of the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists. As chair of the IFAJ Professional Development and Education Committee, he helped establish a productive IFAJ/ACDC partnership. We valued his friendship and, with many others, respected his farm journalism career in the UK and 26-year service as honorary secretary of the Guild of Agricultural Journalists of Great Britain. Learn more about Don’s career here .

Communicator activities approaching

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.

June 22-26, 2010
60th Annual Conference of the International Communication Association in Singapore.

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

Yes, talkative hair . We close this issue of ACDC News with another “Sentence of the Week” from the University of Chicago Writing Program:

Head teacher Nigel Pott said the school had been trying to resolve the issue of Chloe’s hair since before Christmas. Despite liaising with Chloe and her parents, her hair had stayed a pink colour, Mr. Pott said.

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.