ACDC News – Issue 10-19

Why rural communities should use social media to attract people to them. Mike Knutson of the ReimagineRural blog offered these reasons in a commentary we added recently to the ACDC collection:

  1. Markets are conversations — more than one-way communications highlighted by advertising.
  2. People look to the Internet when considering community, but generally don’t trust traditional community-based websites as much as information from their peers.
  3. Online social networks help build face-to-face community.

You can read this commentary here .

Does the hard copy newsletter still have a place? V. L. Stone and K. L. Devenish asked that question during 2009 in evaluating a printed newsletter for farmers, farm consultants and agribusinesses in Western Australia. The newsletter provides extension information, seasonal prompts, local news and research advice to clients of the WA Department of Agriculture and Food. Responses from 113 participants in a seminar indicated:

  • 77 percent said they prefer to receive the printed version rather than the electronic version by email.
  • Readers often explained that they prefer a hard copy because they can take it anywhere for reading at any time.
  • 20 percent said they had referred to it during the last 12 months.

Authors described the printed newsletter as “still a powerful way of communicating with farmers.” They also advocated catering to those who prefer it electronically.

You can read the Extension Farming Systems Journal article here .

When things go wrong . A book we reviewed recently for the ACDC collection, Conservation psychology: understanding and promoting human care for nature , included a section on coping with havoc. Authors Susan Clayton and Gene Myers cited the views of Viktor Frank, an existentialist psychologist and survivor of four concentration camps.

“We can always choose our attitude toward whatever happens,” they observed from his views, “even if we cannot affect what happens.” Heroism and humor are tools for “a self-detachment that allows us to choose our attitude toward our situation and ourselves.”

You have probably seen friends and others use both of those tools, heroism and humor. We recall an example of stoic humor expressed by rural Australians in the drought-prone Bush where conditions can get desperate:

“It always rains and spoils a good drought.”

Contact us at if you have examples to share or would like further information about this book.

An update on Philippine Agricultural Journalists . We have added to the ACDC collection a news report about the Philippine Agricultural Journalists (PAJ), second oldest organization of journalists in that nation. The report appeared recently in the website of the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ). Author Matilde Maunahan, PAJ vice-president for external affairs, explained that members include 231 agricultural editors and reporters from print and broadcast media, as well as information writers and officers of government and private agencies involved in agriculture.

The organization aims to:

  • Unite and strengthen the agricultural journalism profession
  • Contribute to agricultural development through dissemination of vital and relevant information
  • Help improve the communication system for the agriculture and food industries in accordance with the ethics and standards of journalism
  • Help create an atmosphere for better understanding among the stakeholders of agricultural development.

You can read the article on the IFAJ web site here .

Best ways for the food industry to reduce the risk of food-borne illness. A representative sample of U. S. consumers who were surveyed during early July by Thomson Reuters offered these suggestions:

  • Better quality controls (37 percent)
  • More inspections (21 percent)
  • Better consumer education (20 percent)
  • Increased Food and Drug Administration oversight (12 percent)
  • Stiffer penalties (12 percent)

One-tenth of the 3,016 respondents said they were made sick by something they ate during the past six months.

You can review a summary of results here .

Communicator activities approaching

  • November 10-12, 2010
    “Beyond the microphone.” Sixty-sixth annual conference of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB) in Kansas City, Missouri. Information:
  • November 23-24, 2010
    “Public Relations 2020, the German Agriculture.” This celebration of 50 years of information.medien.agrar.e.V. (IMA) will take place in Berlin. The German Association of Agricultural Journalists is co-organizer. The program includes perceptions and expectations of people on the land, journalists, textbook publishers, electronic media and the press. Information:
  • November 26, 2010
    “End of Year Double Act.” A special program for members of the Rural Press Club of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. Information:

Bad outdoor writing earns top honors. As you might guess, we are referring to honors in the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest. This annual contest, sponsored by the English Department of San Jose State University (California), “challenges writers around the world to compose the opening sentence of the worst of all possible novels.” Scott Davis Jones of Valley Village, California, entered this 2010 winner in the “Purple Prose” category:

“The dark, drafty old house was lopsided and decrepit, leaning in on itself, the way an aging possum carrying a very heavy, overcooked drumstick in its mouth might list to one side if he were also favoring a torn Achilles tendon, assuming possums have them.”

You can read other 2010 Bulwer-Lytton winning entries here .

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.