ACDC News – Issue 17-06

Career advice on getting dirty

“If you don’t get dirty, you haven’t done your job.” That advice from respected art director Tom Sizemore of The Furrow magazine prompted Christy Lee of Cee Lee Communications to share it recently with readers of the American Agricultural Editors’ Association newsletter, AAEA ByLine.

“…often, the best shots come from getting uncomfortable. From going where we’d rather not go. And from emerging covered with mud, dirt and, ahem, manure.  The more I think about it, the more this advice can be carried over to so many aspects of the agricultural communications industry.”

You can read the article here .

Cultivating uncertainty in science reporting.

Yes, you read that correctly. It’s the title of a recent article from the Knight Center for Environmental Journalism at Michigan State University. Conference panelist Janet Raloff asked, “How can we work with journalists to express [the uncertainty of science] when people are always looking for certainty?” She suggested that “the onus is on journalists not to give readers the false sense that something is black and white, true or false. It is our job as journalists, generally, to cultivate uncertainty. … Readers don’t like that. Neither do editors. Too bad. That’s what the world is like.”

You can read the article here .

Six new research articles in JAC

The first 2017 issue of the Journal of Applied Communications features six reports of new communications research related to various sectors and aspects of agriculture.

  • “Poultry production messaging in two national-circulation newspapers” by Leslie D. Edgar, Donald M. Johnson, and Stuart Estes
  • “Water use in Florida: examining perceptions of water use based on visual images” by Joshua M. Epstein, Lisa K. Lundy, and Alexa J. Lamm
  • “Poultry production messaging: frames and emergent themes in three national newspapers, 1994-2014” by Stuart Estes, Leslie D. Edgar, and Donald M. Johnson
  • “Community-based grazing marketing: barriers and benefits related to the adoption of best management practices in grazing systems” by Audrey E. H. King, Lauri M. Baker, and Peter J. Tomlinson
  • “A case study of using metacognitive reflections to enhance writing skills and strategies in an agricultural media writing course” by Tobin Redwine, Holli R. Leggette, and Brooke Prather
  • “Exploring perspectives of students studying communication toward media access and use: a Q methodological study” by Angel Riggs, Diane Montgomery, and Cindy Blackwell

You can read them here .

“Spillover” effects of ICT – agriculture lagging?

Extensive research on the effects of new information and communication technologies has documented positive effects on productivity. However, a 2016 article in the journal, Economics of Innovation and New Technology, explored “spillover” effects in Canada.

Analysis (1981-2008) by researcher Saeed Moshiri showed that ICT had a positive impact on labor productivity. However, effects varied significantly across provinces, industries and time.

“Specifically, while provinces with higher shares of manufacturing and services in their GDB have reaped the benefits of ICT investment, other provinces primarily dependent on natural resources and agriculture are lagging behind. The industry-level analysis also reveals that manufacturing and services industries have benefited from ICT investment much more than primary sector industries.”

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

Drone governance in 79 African, Caribbean, and Pacific countries

This recent addition to the ACDC collection was published as a working paper in October 2016 by the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA).  It may hold special interest for rural communicators and others in terms of policies, laws, and regulations about (a) permission to conduct aerial work and (b) respecting privacy and property.

Only 15 (19 percent) of the 79 countries had rules or regulations specific to operation of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Six other countries had announced soon-to-be-drafted legislation. The other 58 countries (73 percent) had neither dedicated rules nor pending legislative action regarding UAVs. The existing drone rules varied in content, documentation, and formats in the absence of an international standard.

You can read the report here .

Recent book on communication scarcity in agriculture

A new book, The communication scarcity in agriculture, offers a timely review and roadmap. In it, authors Jessica Eise and Whitney Hodde are not talking about lack of agricultural coverage by media.  Instead, their “communication scarcity” refers to what gets shared (or doesn’t get shared) among key stakeholders in food and agriculture: consumers, policymakers, researchers, agribusiness, and farmers.

Introductory chapters present case examples – “a stark, no-nonsense picture of today’s agricultural conversation in its entirety.” Part 2 features viewpoints and outlooks of guest voices from these stakeholder groups. Authors close by emphasizing the importance of communication and the strengths in diversity of perspectives. They suggest two communication tools for dealing with it: (1) finding common ground and (2) finding areas for compromise in these complex matters of food and agriculture.

You can read the publisher’s abstract and description here . Check with us at for help in gaining access to full text.

Communicator activities approaching

June 13-16, 2017
“ReNEWal ORLEANS” Annual conference of the Association for Communication Excellence (ACE) in New Orleans, Louisiana. Information:

June 20-22, 2017
“Setting the gold standard in agricultural public relations.” Annual meeting of the Agricultural Relations Council in Sacramento, California.

July 22-26, 2017
“Summit on the summit.”  Agricultural Media Summit near Salt Lake City, Utah. Joint meeting of the American Agricultural Editors’ Association, Livestock Publications Council, and the Connectiv Agri-Media Committee. Also site of the national meeting of Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow.

Expert agricultural reporting

Thanks to sharp-eyed Fred Myers for sharing an example of skilled equine reporting.  It seems a fitting close to this issue of ACDC News.

He reported that AOL filled the screen with this headline several minutes after the running of the Kentucky Derby on May 6:
“Horse Wins 143rd Running of the Kentucky Derby — After a rainy day in Churchill Downs, one horse emerged victorious after completing the race in just over two minutes.”
Pondering that insightful news, Fred observed that “today’s journalism may not be informative but it sure is entertaining.” Maybe an ostrich – or two horses – will win next year.

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 and valuable 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

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