ACDC News – Issue 12-08

Metaphors that farm magazines use about climate change . Researcher Therese Asplund recently identified three metaphors used by the two largest Swedish farm magazines during 2000-2009:

  • Greenhouse metaphor. Highlights temperature and radiation in the atmosphere. Neglects other meteorological aspects (such as precipitation, clouds, snow) and impacts of climate change on natural and social systems.
  • Game metaphor. Highlights positive impacts such as higher yields and increased income) and as winning through mitigation. Neglects negative impacts such as more insect outbreaks, warmer and drier conditions, shorter growing season.
  • War metaphor. Highlights negative impacts (such as crop damage, higher taxes and negative image) and combat/battling for mitigation.

These findings prompted the author to observe that the inconsistent and confusing messages may result in conflicts and disputes. At the same time, she noted, multiple metaphors may “open up new perspectives on the issue of climate change” and allow readers to talk about it from several angles.

You can review this Journal of Science Communication article (Volume 10, December 2011) through open access at

Rural community coverage earns Pulitzer recognition. Editorial staff members of a weekly newspaper serving a small rural community in Maine were named finalists recently in the 2012 Pulitzer Prize program. Editor A. M. Sheehan and Assistant Editor Matt Hongoltz-Hetling of the Advertiser Democrat (Norway, Maine) earned finalist honors in the local reporting category. They were recognized for their “tenacious exposure of disgraceful conditions in federally-supported housing in a small rural community.” Within hours, the coverage sparked state investigation.

The Advertiser Democrat has a history of covering burglaries, poverty, homelessness, internet access, scarcity of doctors, fire services, and other rural issues. You can learn more at

Nine best practices for boosting media coverage . Recently we added to the ACDC collection a report about Maisha Yetu, a project that is changing media coverage of health in rural and other areas of Africa. Maisha Yetu (“Our Lives” in Swahili) has been carried out for about a decade by the International Women’s Media Foundation. One unusual idea features several ways to gain buy-in from top editors and top management of media organizations—even memorandums of agreement. Another successful practice features use of in-house journalist/trainers.

You can read this report, “Writing for our lives,” at

So where are we finding information these days? You may be interested in some of the out-of-mainstream journals from which we have recently identified agricultural communications literature for the ACDC collection:

Annals of Internal Medicine

Journal of Foodservice Business Research


Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Research

Field Methods

Cultural Studies Critical Methodologies

ETC: A Review of General Semantics

South African Journal of Agricultural Extension

Science Technology and Society

Journal of Community Informatics

Please let us know at when—in unusual or usual places—you, too, come across information about the communications aspects of agriculture. We welcome additions you may suggest.

An unusual perspective on how information affects food buying . Studies of the impact of information on food demand often center on foodborne illness or food safety events. Many studies focus on effects of advertising. Less often do they analyze the impact of scientific nutrition information, delivered by multiple media. Using U.S. consumer panel data and content analysis of information in popular media sources, Sakiko Shiratori and Jean Kinsey studied the impact of information on the purchase of omega-3 fortified eggs.

Results showed significant positive impact of nutrition information from the popular media on consumers’ food choices. Authors noted that although mega-3 fortified eggs usually sell at a premium price, “growing knowledge of the health benefits of omega-3 propels their consumption.” They concluded that “publishing in popular media can be said to be an effective communication approach.”

You can read this 2011 conference research paper via AgEconSearch at

Thanks and best wishes to Michelle Fluty as she leaves the Center after two school years as ACDC student assistant. We congratulate Michelle for completing her undergraduate degree in agricultural communications this month. She also parts with a remarkable record of having checked the entire ACDC collection to be sure documents are filed as intended and in good condition. Perhaps it is surprising Michelle has not gone blind! This sharp-eyed dairy judge inventoried some 37,000 documents about agricultural communicating around the globe. And the inventory project was only part of what she contributed. She will be missed here as an associate and friend.

Picture of Michelle Fluty

Communicator activities approaching.

  • 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
    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. Information:
  • August 4-6, 2012
    Agricultural Media Summit in Albuquerque, New Mexico USA. Organized by the Livestock Publications Council (LPC), American Agricultural Editors’ Association (AAEA) and Agri Council of American Business Media. Also the annual meeting site of Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow (ACT). Information:

Colorful climate reporting. We close this issue of ACDC News with a 2011 winning entry in the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest sponsored by the English Department, San Jose State University. This annual competition challenges entrants to compose the opening sentence to the worst of all possible novels. Here is the winning entry by Mike Pedersen of North Berwick, Maine, in the Purple Prose category:

“As his small boat scudded before a brisk breeze under a sapphire sky dappled with cerulean clouds with indigo bases, through cobalt seas that deepened to navy nearer the boat and faded to azure at the horizon, Ian was at a loss as to why he felt blue.”

You can read other mind-stretching entries at

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