ACDC News – Issue 13-16

Disappearing photographs

That’s the title of a commentary we have added to the ACDC collection. Author Brian McDermott noted that although the importance of photojournalism and video is growing, institutions increasingly curtail and control access for visual journalists.

“…visual journalists in the U.S. are often heavily restricted in how they can photograph inside hospitals, schools, jails, big box stores, courtrooms, power plants, bailed-out financial firms, universities, and farms,” he said.  His reference to farms centered on proposed legislation that would criminalize the act of photographing a farm without consent.

You can read his commentary from the Free Press interest group at:

Sorting the hope and hype of traditional knowledge

Two researchers at the Center for Development Research (ZIF), University of Bonn, recently published a working paper to unveil “the different narratives that continue to refashion TK (traditional knowledge) as a buzzword and boundary concept.”

The 28-page report introduces underlying motives that led to the popularity of traditional knowledge, as well as the polarizing impact of it on marginal communities. Authors also offer insight into political debates about intellectual property rights for traditional knowledge.

You can read this working paper at: .

Distress and burnout among dairy farmers

Research among 530 dairy farmers in New Zealand led researchers Neels Botha and Toni White to conclude that:

  • Farmers are more stressed than they are willing to acknowledge. About 50 percent did not seek help or support, even when the screening instrument showed they were seriously stressed.
  • Exhaustion is a problem on farmers. Twenty-one percent had a high exhaustion score while 11 percent had a high burnout score.
  • Extension can play a role to identify those under stress and help them get relief.

You can read an abstract of this “Distress and burnout” conference paper at: > “Conference Program and Abstracts” or check with the lead author at about access to the full paper.

Things like that don t happen here

We recently added to the ACDC collection an article in Crime, Media and Culture about how media cover crime in rural, suburban and urban settings. Researcher Aurora Wallace analyzed 470 crime stories in nine U.S. states over a six-year period.

Results prompted the researcher to observe how the media covered crimes differently according to where they occur, setting the scene for how we are to think of the place normally and using the picturesque and scenic as preventative agents against the forces of evil. She found that coverage reinforced:

  • The city imagined as the place from which crime emanates.
  • Communities imagined as safe (or unsafe).
  • Victims as unfairly punished for being successful and suburban.
  • Property values and neighborhood prestige being maintained.
  • Suburban areas less deserving of crime than urban areas.

Check with us at for help in gaining access to this journal article.

Rural phone calls going astray

In a New York Times article last month, Edward Wyatt reported that in rural America as many as one in five long-distance landline calls goes astray, never connecting to the intended number. “A caller might hear the sound of a ringing phone through a handset, but the actual phone might not ring, a busy signal could be wrongly transmitted or the line might simply go dead.”

He described new rules of the Federal Communications Commission to require phone companies to collect and report data on the number of rural calls that goes through.

You can read the article at:

Dilemmas in fair price information for the hog market

“How do we proceed without a spot market?” Steve Meyer of Paragon Economics, Inc., asked in a presentation at the USDA Agricultural Outlook Forum earlier this year. He explained that:

  • Prices for fewer and fewer hogs are being negotiated.
  • Numbers of trades are now low enough to question accuracy.
  • Producers have a great deal of control over the level of negotiations but are collectively letting it fall.
  • There are alternatives for establishing value—some good, some bad.

Obviously, market information is a key factor. Possible solutions he identified included charging those who use data and compensating those who produce data.

You can see this presentation at:

Rural libraries on a solid foundation

Rural libraries have a bright future, according to Lee Rainie, Director of the Pew Research Center’s Internet Project. Speaking during September to members of the Association for Rural and Small Libraries, he offered “five big reasons your foundation is solid:”

  1. Libraries are appreciated. For example, 90 percent of rural residents say they consider libraries important to communities.
  2. Libraries stack up well with other institutions, in terms of public confidence. They rank considerably higher than newspapers, television, small business, public schools, and other institutions.
  3. People like librarians. Ninety-seven percent of rural residents who visit libraries say the interactions are very/mostly positive.
  4. Libraries have rebranded themselves as tech hubs.
  5. Reading is alive and well. Seventy-three percent of rural residents who are at least 16 years old have read a book during the previous year.

You can view the director’s presentation at:

Communicator activities approaching

  • November 13-15, 2013
    “Farm broadcasting: Intrusive Success.” Annual meeting of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB) in Kansas City, Missouri USA. Information:

Cautionary note about progress in our academic programs

We close this issue of ACDC News with a view expressed in 1971 by H. W. Hannah, who headed academic programs in the College of Agriculture, University of Illinois:

“When we say that our programs are more sophisticated [than earlier ones] it may mean we have ceased to pay attention to something quite fundamental.”

Best wishes and good searching.

Please pass along your reactions, suggestions and ideas. Feel free to invite our help as you search for information. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @ACDCUIUC . 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, Room 510, 1101 S. Goodwin Avenue, Urbana, IL 61801) or in electronic format sent to