ACDC News – Issue 12-05

Reputations, framing, exhibits, students, and more featured in JAC . You can read new research about these and other dimensions of agricultural communications in the second 2011 issue of the Journal of Applied Communications :

  • Mark Tucker, Jon Bricker, and Alexandria Huerta, “An approach to measuring the impact and effectiveness of educational science exhibits”
  • Rebecca McGovney-Ingram, Tracy Rutherford, and Alvin Larke, Jr., “The voices of minority students in an agricultural communications and journalism program: a case study”
  • Leslie Edgar and Tracy Rutherford, “Citation structure: an analysis of the literature cited in the Journal of Applied Communications from 1997 to 2006″
  • Erica Goss Irlbeck, Cindy Akers and Ashley Palmer, “A nutty study: a framing analysis of the 2009 Salmonella outbreak in peanut products”
  • Lauri M. Baker, Katie Abrams, Tracy Irani, and Courtney Meyers, “Managing media relations: determining the reputation of a land grant institution from perspective of media professionals”

View them at

Ag story tips for general media reporters. The Reynolds Center for Business Journalism, Arizona State University, provides a continuing stream of ideas to help news reporters find local stories related to agriculture. Here are samples of recent tips:

  • What is happening locally in government-supported conservation reserve program (CRP) contracts and rural development projects
  • Local impacts of rising commodity prices and farmland values
  • How hunting seasons affect local businesses and communities
  • Keeping tabs on influences of new leases of land for drilling shale gas wells
  • Local angles in cases of food recalls and outbreaks of food-borne diseases
  • How a mild winter may influence local food and agriculture interests

You can follow such leads by visiting the Reynolds Center website at and reviewing information on the Agriculture beat.

How selling farm products locally affects farming operations. The practice increased on-farm biodiversity in an exploratory case study in Sweden. The vegetable farmers in this study gained personal satisfaction—and a great deal of positive feedback—from their contact with consumers. In the process, they found increased motivation to grow a greater variety of crops.

Authors of this article in the Journal of Sustainable Agriculture reported: “Important driving forces for increasing the diversity of crops were that they attracted more customers and gave more income per consumer visiting the market, which led to better income for participating farmers. Positive feedback from customers appreciating the abundance of variety was also significant.”

You can read the publisher’s abstract of the article at

Or check with us at for help in gaining full-text access.

Worries about losing photos. Reader Gordon Collie of AgriProse, Brisbane, Australia, voiced his concern about losing his digital photos. Gordon is immediate past president of the Australian Council of Agricultural Journalists. In response to our recent note in ACDC News about “when digital data die” he says:

“[I’m worried,] not just my own extensive collection, but the vast gatherings of all newspaper and magazine photos now being archived on digital systems. Will they even exist 50 or 100 years? I’m told the digital storage has an uncertain life, let alone the issue you raise of whole systems becoming redundant every few years. I make back-ups of back-ups and now have two external hard drives which I alternate. One lives in the shed to guard against fire/theft in my home office. Of course a portable hard drive is such a small, insignificant thing it could easily get thrown out in the trash by someone not realizing what’s on it. (My son is just doing a big shed clean up, heaven forbid!)”

Gordon reports he has “just started putting my toe into the water with cloud computing and have some photos on Flickr. Is that a solution, perhaps?”

Thanks for your thoughts, Gordon. We welcome other experiences, views and ideas about preserving digital information, especially for the wellbeing of agriculture. Please send them to us at

Innovative news model serves “a fragmented rural landscape.” That is the goal of NewsShed. It is 2011 recipient of a “Women Entrepreneurs in the Global Digital News Frontier” grant from the International Women’s Media Foundation. Co-founders Julie Reischel and Lissa Harris are establishing NewsShed in rural Catskills communities of upstate New York.

About 400,000 residents are scattered throughout the countryside involving about 75 small towns and hamlets, according to a report we are entering into the ACDC collection. At least half of the towns have no news coverage. Through NewsShed, residents of a particular town can post local information on “Town Pages” and link it to a regional online hub. As well, these micro sites will offer local businesses opportunities for more targeted advertising.

You can learn about NewsShed at:

How agricultural employers assess communications skills of college graduates. We added recently to the ACDC collection a journal article that shed light on this matter. Researchers Brian C. Briggeman and F. Bailey Norwood used an internet survey of agribusinesses and others that employ college graduates in the U.S. Here (ranked) are the most useful ways the responding employers said they assess the communications skills of an agricultural science graduate:

  1. Personal interview
  2. Leadership positions
  3. Software knowledge
  4. Grades
  5. References
  6. Courses taken

You can review the abstract of this 2011 article in the Journal of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Education here:

Or get in touch with us at for help in gaining full-text access.

Communicator activities approaching.

  • April 16-18, 2012
    “Sustainable Human Development.” The World Information Technology Forum (WITFOR) in New Delhi, India. Organized by the International Federation for Information Processing. Will focus on four key areas: agriculture, education, health and e-governance. Information:
  • April 18-20, 2012
    “Acres of Innovation.” 2012 conference of the National Agri-Marketing Association in Kansas City, Missouri USA. Information:
  • May 21-24, 2012
    “East Meets West for Sustainable Development.” 2012 conference of the Association for International Agricultural and Extension Education (AEAEE) in Nakhon Pathom Province, Thailand. Information:
  • May 28-June 1, 2012
    “That Voodo You Do.” 26th annual National Extension Technology Conference (NETC) in New Orleans, Louisiana USA. Information:
  • June 2-5, 2012
    “Adventures in Communications.” Annual institute of the Cooperative Communicators Association (CCA) in Tucson, Arizona USA. Information:
  • June 11-14, 2012
    “Charting a New Course.” Annual conference of the Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Life and Human Sciences (ACE) in Annapolis, Maryland USA.

Losing something in preparing agricultural journalists? We close this issue of ACDC News with words of a U.S. agricultural editor in 1916. He was responding to a national survey conducted by an industrial journalism faculty member at Kansas State Agricultural College.

“The great objection that I have to the college trained man of the present time is that the real sympathy and poetry of life have been mostly trained out of him.”

Gender aspect aside, today do you observe the tendency he mentioned? If so, to what extent? In what ways? For what reasons? With what results? Share your thoughts with us at . And let us know if you would like to read this research report. (N. A. Crawford, Preparation for editorial work on farm papers )

Best wishes 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 Comm Documentation Center, 510 LIAC, 1101 S. Goodwin Avenue, Urbana, IL 61801) or in electronic format sent to