ACDC News – Issue 09-16

Time magazine as “a part of a conversation.” The role of news media jumped front-and-center during August when Time magazine devoted cover emphasis to a commentary critical of the agrifood system and practices in the U.S. “Getting real about the high price of cheap food” is the title of this piece by Bryan Walsh. AgriTalk host Mike Adams asked the author in a phone interview if that isn’t one-sided – and if readers of a news vehicle wouldn’t get the perception of such an article as a news story rather than an opinion piece.

“We’re getting a lot of stories that are more angled toward the point of view of the writer,” Walsh replied, referring to recent changes in the editorial approach at Time , “and there’s pluses and minuses to that in many ways. On the one hand, we’ve found that we want to be part of a conversation and to be in front of the conversation means not just recording one perspective and another, just going back and forth like that, but saying this is what we can bring to the story and this is what we think and then we start off this conversation that hopefully goes forward.”

You can read text of the phone interview at:

Some of the early and varied responses in this media-coverage issue have been added already to the ACDC collection. Here are a few samples:

Ag groups riled by Time article: call for letters to the editor

Time trashes American agriculture

Sustainable ag meets MSM (mainstream media) – and wins

Time brings the debate over food reform to the living room

Ag journalists are paying more attention to ethics, according to a research summary in the August/September issue of ByLine , newsletter of the American Agricultural Editors’ Association (AAEA). The report highlights 20 years of research among AAEA members about their experiences and views concerning the relationship between advertising and editorial coverage.

Findings suggest that AAEA members, their publications and advertisers are showing signs of strengthening the role of editorial independence in today’s commercial environment. However, these agricultural journalists continue to have significant ethical concerns. Researchers Karen Simon, Owen Roberts and Jim Evans reported findings during the recent Agricultural Media Summit and International Federation of Agricultural Journalists Congress in Fort Worth, Texas.

Posted at > August/September 2009 issue of ByLine

Bringing juice-taste marketing to mass media . That’s the idea behind efforts of an ink marketer, US Ink, to encourage newspapers to stick flavored strips on pages to allow readers to taste the product advertised. The patented product, Taste-It Notes, was introduced earlier this year, according to a report from The flavored strip is sealed inside a pouch to keep it fresh and hygienic until the package is broken open and tasted. The report we have added to the ACDC collection described positive results from a peel-and-taste strip placed in a grape juice advertisement in People magazine.

Beware the varied faces of “indigenous.” “To most readers, listeners or viewers, the word ‘indigenous’ would seem harmless enough as a description of an exotic group in a far away place,” wrote Christina Tercero in the Global Journalist magazine of the International Press Institute. “But actually the writer using it generally does so out of a laziness or need for over-simplification. In fact, its use is controversial, leaving a large gap between reality and what the word conveys to readers.”

Tercero based these observations on an analysis of how reporters at the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and CNN determined when, how and to whom to apply the term “indigenous.”

Citation: Defining indigenous in international news
Posted at

Continuing concerns about cloning animals . A Gallup Poll during May 2009 revealed that U. S. citizens are still concerned about cloning of animals. Sixty-three percent of respondents in this national survey considered the cloning of animals as morally wrong. About one-third considered cloning of animals as morally acceptable. Less than two percent said they don’t know.

Citation: Gallup Poll: whether cloning of animals is morally acceptable or morally wrong
Posted at

Using social media in Extension: a beginner’s guide. A new resource we have added to the ACDC collection offers insights and tips in plain language for Extension educators who wish to consider using social media. This brief guide identifies some social media applications in Extension programming and provides tips such as:

  • Using a newsreader
  • Commenting on others’ work
  • Sharing content, knowledge, ideas and products openly
  • Writing for the Web
  • Taking part in online communities
  • Using Creative Commons licenses

Posted at

Communicator activities approaching

October 15, 2009
Deadline for submission of abstracts of papers and posters to be presented at the International Association of Agricultural Information Specialists (IAALD) XIIIth World Congress, Montpellier, France, April 26-29, 2010. Theme: “Scientific and technical information and rural development: highlights of innovative practices.”

October 15-18, 2009
Annual conference of the Association of Food Journalists in Houston, Texas USA.

October 18-25, 2009
“The state of forestry information worldwide.” Special session at the XIII World Forestry Congress 2009 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

October 30, 2009
Deadline for research and professional papers to be presented in the Agricultural Communications Section of the Southern Association of Agricultural Scientists (SAAS) conference on February 6-9, 2010, in Orlando, Florida.
Information: > “Call for Papers for 2010 Meeting”

November 11-13, 2009
“Connecting: 2010 and beyond.” Annual convention of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB) in Kansas City, Missouri USA.

We’re still fertilizing the agri-vocabulary. Last month we explained how “pellucid” is among the words MSN Encarta insists everyone simply should know. It describes expression that is easy to understand, clear in meaning or transparent. We asked what fresh term(s) we might use to describe the opposite kind of writing.

Thanks to Brian Meyer at Iowa State University for this suggestion:

“The opposite might be…putrid?”

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.