ACDC News – Issue 11-09

How new mobile media are fitting into schedules and activities . Results of a recent diary-based study help reveal how U.S. adults are using their mobile communications devices.  Among the findings reported:

  • Newer mobile communications media and traditional news media “occupy different niches within the news domain.”
  • Traditional media exhibit a familiar time-space pattern – newspapers in the morning, radio during morning and afternoon drive time, and television or cable news in the evening.
  • Multimedia mobile and cell phones serve needs of consumers “for news and information when they are on the move in space and time.”

Authors encouraged research involving audiences living in urban and rural areas.

You can read the abstract of this New Media and Society article here .  Check with us at for help in gaining full-text access.

What?  Buy advertising to announce Extension programming? Tight budgets make that idea sound unworkable.  However, a team of extension educators in Idaho tested the approach and found that paid advertising can be a good value for increasing a return to their invested time and effort.  Among the findings of their research, using comparison pairs:

  • Enrollments in programs that were promoted using free outlets only: 4.5 persons
  • Enrollments in programs promoted by paid advertising: 31.8 persons

“A particularly striking contrast was a program on osteoporosis, which was canceled for lack of enrollment without paid advertising, but drew 64 attendees when it was advertised in the newspaper.” More .

India tackles language challenges in using the Internet. Access to the Internet often falls far short of serving rural residents.  A recent research report, “Role of ICTs in India rural communities,” emphasized that most people in developing countries cannot read and understand most of the English-centric Internet content. Author Siriginidi Subba Rao reported that the adult literacy rate in India is about 59 percent, with the female literacy rate at about 47 percent.  India officially recognizes 18 languages, each having a different character set.  About two-thirds of India residents speak Hindi and less than 5 percent understand English. Lack of standardization of software code for major Indian languages creates interoperability problems between programs involving distinct codes.

You can read about challenges and current efforts to address them in this 2009 report.

Signs of “general confusion” about functional foods. In a survey reported recently, young adults in southern Italy revealed what researchers described as general confusion about the term “functional food.” One-third of the sampled young consumers said they had never heard the term used.  After researchers explained what functional food was, 12 percent of the respondents with science backgrounds were enthusiastic about the capabilities of such foods, 78 percent were trusting and 10 percent mistrustful.  Among those with humanities backgrounds, 2 percent were enthusiastic, 38 percent were trusting, 46 percent mistrustful and 10 percent incredulous.

Findings also revealed how the channels through which these young consumers learned about functional foods appeared to influence willingness to accept them.

Two routes – two outcomes – in constructing rural identity. Two case studies in rural Queensland, Australia, examined efforts to use rural mythologies (“The Outback,” in this case) for economic or social benefit.

  • One project involved an online discussion group, welink , for rural women.  It grew on the basis of grassroots interaction and shared stories (somewhat along the line of the party-line telephone system) and proactive solutions to isolation.
  • The “Bushlink Internet Café” involved a small community in remote western Queensland. It was launched with high visibility as a collaboration of state government, private enterprise and a proactive, energetic community. However, within two years the café had closed, “mired in controversy and argument.”

Check with us at if you are interested in gaining access to this conference paper.

Why consumers hesitate to buy meat and poultry at farmers markets. Researchers Lauren Gwin and Larry Lev used Rapid Market Assessment “dot” surveys among more than 1,100 consumers in Oregon to address this matter.  They found that 49 percent of all respondents had never purchased any meat or poultry at any farmers market.  Responses identified seven main reasons, topped by “price” (28 percent), “don’t eat it” (19 percent) and “inconvenient” (17 percent).  They also revealed the price premium those shoppers would pay for meat and poultry at the market versus “non-local” meat and poultry at the supermarket.  Authors of the report suggested four ways to encourage more meat and poultry sales at farmers markets.

Communicator activities approaching

  • June 10-14, 2011
    Joint meeting of the National Extension Technology Conference (NETC) and the Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Life and Human Sciences (ACE) in Denver, Colorado USA. Information:
  • June 19-22, 2011
    “Caliente!  Hot ideas for cooperative communicators.”  Cooperative Communicators Association Institute in San Antonio, Texas USA. Information:
  • July 3-7, 2011
    “Sustainable value chain agriculture for food security and economic development.”  2011 World Conference of the Association for International Agricultural and Extension Education (AIAEE) in Windhoek, Namibia. Information:
  • July 23-27, 2011
    “Jazz it up!”  Agricultural Media Summit involving the American Agricultural Editors’ Association, Livestock Publications Council, Agri Council of American Business Media and Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow in New Orleans, Louisiana USA. Information:
  • August 30-September 3, 2011
    20th European Seminar on Extension Education in Helsinki, Finland. Information:
  • September 14-18, 2011
    “Experience new world agriculture.”  2011 Congress of the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists in Guelph, Canada, and Niagara Falls. Information:

Always a close call. We end this issue of ACDC News with a Spanish proverb that came to our attention recently. It helps express the mission of communicators in agriculture:

“Civilization and anarchy are only seven meals apart.”

Best regards and good searching.

Please pass along your reactions, suggestions and ideas. 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 .