ACDC News – Issue 10-10

Winning Pulitzer Prizes on the agrifood beat . Food, land use and rural music were among the topics addressed by some of the 2010 Pulitzer Prize winning journalists who were recognized recently. Winners included:

  • Michael Moss and members of the New York Times staff for “relentless reporting on contaminated hamburger and other food safety issues that, in print and online, spotlighted defects in federal regulation and led to improved practices.” (explanatory reporting)
  • Bristol (VA) Herald Courier for the work of Daniel Gilbert in “illuminating the murky mismanagement of natural-gas royalties owed to thousands of land owners in southwest Virginia, spurring remedial action by state lawmakers.” (public service reporting)
  • Hank Williams, honored posthumously for his “craftsmanship as a songwriter who expressed universal feelings with a poignant simplicity and played a pivotal role in transforming country music into a major musical and cultural force in American life.” (special citation)

You can learn more about these and other Pulitzer Prize winners here .

Extension services and sticky knowledge. “In the context of providing extension services for farming communities, knowledge transfer is inherently ‘sticky’.” That is how authors put it in a 2009 issue of the Extension Farming Systems Journal . They said the stickiness was due to:

  • Number of stakeholders involved
  • Complexity of farming practices
  • Uncertainty relating to seasonal patterns and market signals

“Those involved in knowledge transfer processes require a highly competent understanding of not only the technical issues, but also the social processes involving multiple network stakeholders.”

You may have come across the term “sticky knowledge” in descriptions of moving information – and being aware of information – within organizations. It is used as a conceptual model based on integration of communication theory and knowledge transfer.

You can read an agricultural application of it here .

“Top Ten Tips” for entering agricultural communications. What does it take to find challenging work you feel passionate about doing as a professional communicator in agriculture? Lisa Cassady Jayne, senior account executive of Osborn & Barr Communications, shared her “Top Ten Tips” recently with agricultural communications students from the University of Illinois. These members of Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow (ACT) visited the firm in St. Louis, Missouri, during April to learn more about the career field they are preparing to enter.

Thanks to Lisa for her thoughtful career suggestions. You can read them here .

Agricultural journalism has never been more relevant. Mike Wilson, president of the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists, emphasized that point during an interview with Chuck Zimmerman of ZimmComm New Media following the recent IFAJ Congress in Belgium. Reviewing the state of agricultural journalism around the world, he pointed to some of the driving forces for continued growth in this field, and in agricultural communications more broadly:

  • Food production needs to double, globally, in the next 40 years
  • More than half of that added production will come from “developing” countries
  • Effective journalism and communications will be central to success of the mission

At the same time, he said, the work of agricultural journalists, internationally, is challenged by a trend toward fewer countries that provide freedom of the press.

Gaining their MBAs (Masters of Beef Advocacy) . Cindy Zimmerman of ZimmComm New Media recently interviewed several University of Missouri students and their instructor who had earned these special MBAs. Some 50 students completed six learning modules through a consumer information initiative of the Missouri Beef Council.

You can listen to the interview (4:55) here .

Past the 35,000 mark . Graduate Assistant Anna Pederson passes along the good news that the ACDC collection now contains more 35,000 documents. Thanks to all who have generously contributed documents, leads and encouragement to make this milestone possible. Most exciting is the fact that we are only scratching the surface of literature about the communications aspects of agriculture.

Welcome to a new ACDC associate . We are delighted to welcome Professor Joyce Wright as the new head of the Center within the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences Library. Her part-time appointment began on May 3. An Associate Professor of Library Administration, Joyce brings to the Center 25 years of experience in the University of Illinois Library. They include 13 years as head of the Undergraduate Library, assistant undergraduate librarian for Reference and Instructional Services and acting head of the Information Resource Retrieval Center and Library Advancement. All of these experiences will help her contribute to the global ACDC mission.

“I am excited about working in the field of agriculture,” Joyce reports, “and I look forward to introducing the Center to the academic and professional community through various outreach programs and services.”

Joyce Wright

Communicator activities approaching

June 17-19, 2010
40th Anniversary Seminar, American Horse Publications in Lexington, Kentucky 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.

August 26-29, 2010
Annual Conference of the National Market News Association in Portland, Oregon USA.

September 1-3, 2010
Annual Conference of the Association of Food Journalists in Santa Fe, New Mexico USA.

Attention, writers with innovative ideas about food progress in Africa . The National Peace Corps Association (NPCA) and World Policy Journal have launched an essay contest with that goal in mind. They invite essays that help “identify the most innovative solutions to the problem of food insecurity in the rural regions of Africa.” Essays can focus on ideas for African governments, private organizations or individuals in the international community. Recognized entries will be featured in the Journal or on websites of these partnering organizations. Entries are due by July 31.

See further information at

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.