ACDC News – Issue 09-13

“Swine flu coverage around the world” is the title of a report we added recently to the ACDC collection from the Project for Excellence in Journalism (PEJ) of the Pew Research Center. During April and May 2009, PEJ studied 12 days of front-page newspaper coverage in seven countries and the top three Spanish-language papers in the U. S. Findings “revealed noticeable differences in attention, prominence and how the papers chose to frame stories.”

For example, the number of cases of this flu in a given country had little to do with the volume of newspaper coverage.

Citation: Swine flu coverage around the world
Posted at

Trends in U.S. public attitudes to laws about treatment of farm animals . Here are some Gallup Poll survey data we assembled recently about comparative public attitudes in 2003 and 2008. The question in these national surveys among U. S. adults invited opinions about “passing strict laws concerning the treatment of farm animals.” Findings from the two surveys:

May 2003 Survey May 2008 Survey
Strongly support 35% 29%
Somewhat support 29% 33%
Somewhat oppose 20% 21%
Strongly oppose 13% 14%
Don’t know 3% 3%

Citation: Gallup Poll: views about passing strict laws concerning the treatment of farm animals

Pay closer attention to the rural, the poor. In a video we reviewed recently via YouTube, an honored journalist argues for media to pay closer attention to rural people, activities and issues. A 10-minute video, “P. Sainath on Indian media,” features comments by P. Sainath Palagummi Sainath. He is 2007 recipient of the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Journalism Literature and Creative Communication Arts.

Sainath observed that national media in his country assign no journalists to cover poverty and the poor, maintain no “rural” or “labor” beats. He offered reasons for this gap and challenged media to signal the weaknesses in society as well as highlight progress.

Whereas Sainath focused on media coverage in India, his thoughts and concerns resonate with those in any nation who are interested in effective communications in support of sustainable rural development.

Citation: P. Sainath on Indian media
View this video at

“Emerging issues in the U. S. organic industry.” That is the title of a new economic information bulletin (June 2009) from the U. S. Department of Agriculture. Rapid growth in consumption of “organic” and “natural” products has led to varied issues, including some related to communications. Among those cited in the bulletin:

  • Consumer sensitivity to the price premium paid for such products, especially during the current economic slowdown.
  • “The low organic adoption rate for grain crops continues to be a bottleneck for expansion of the U. S. organic livestock sector.”
  • Organic producers face competition from new labels, such as the “locally grown” label.

Posted at

Confusion on the “fat” front. Consumer search in the United Kingdom during late 2008 indicated that shoppers are unclear as to what saturated fat is and are confused by the different terms currently used to describe it. Sample terms:

  • Sat fat
  • Fat – of which saturates
  • Saturated fat
  • Saturates

“Only 30% of the 1,000 people interviewed recognized that “saturated fat” meant the same as “saturates. … A further 30% did not know what the term meant at all, 15% thought it was the same as fat in general and 7% believed saturated fat was the same as calories.” This research was commissioned by IGD, United Kingdom.

Citation: IGD develops guidelines for consumer communication
Posted at: > Media Centre

Plenty more mid-year communicator activities

July 31-August 4, 2009
2009 Congress of the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) in conjunction with the Agricultural Media Summit in Fort Worth, Texas USA.

August 1-5, 2009
“Saddle up, catch the cowboy spirit.” Agricultural Media Summit in Fort Worth, Texas USA. Joint meeting of Livestock Publications Council (LPC), American Agricultural Editors’ Association (AAEA), International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ), Agri Council of America Business Media, Agricultural Relations Council (ARC) and the International Association of Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow (ACT).

August 23-27, 2009
“Worldwide trends in open access to agricultural information.” Agricultural libraries discussion group at the World Library and Information Congress, Milan, Italy.

August 26-28, 2009
“Information and communication technologies for sustainable development.” 4th World IT Forum in Hanoi, Vietnam.

August 31-September 4, 2009
Sixth International Conference of Animal Health Information Specialists in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. Held in conjunction with the International Congress on Medical Librarianship.

Honored agricultural spy fiction. You read that correctly. And you may recognize it as the lead-in to another honored entry in the latest Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest. We close this issue of ACDC News with the runner-up entry in the “Spy Fiction” category of this international literary parody contest hosted by the Department of English and Comparative Literature, San Jose State University. Entrants were challenged to submit bad opening sentences to imaginary novels. Here’s the food-oriented runner-up entry from David Potter, Nagoya, Japan:

“The KGB agent known only as the Spider, milk solids oozing from his mouth and nose, surveyed the spreading wound in his abdomen caused by the crushing blow of the low but deadly hassock and begged of his attacker to explain why she had gone to the trouble of feeding him tainted milk products before effecting his assassination with such an inferior object as this ottoman, only to hear in his dying moments an escaping Miss Muffet of the MI-5 whisper, “It is my whey.”

Best regards and good searching. Please pass along your reactions, suggestions and ideas for the Agricultural Communications Documentation Center. 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 .

Get in touch with us when you see interesting items in the ACDC collection and can’t gain full-text access through information in the citation, or through online searching. We will help you gain access.