ACDC News – Issue 15-05


New role needed for environmental and food safety journalism

Aspirations of objective reportage are outdated and ill-equipped to deal with many of the new risk stories which environmental and food safety journalism covers, according to a Journalism Studies article we added recently to the ACDC collection. Researcher Anita Howarth observed that these new disputes are about highly abstract, technical, futuristic risks. They confront a pre-occupation with objectivity, factual accuracy and impartiality – “the legacy of classic liberal assumptions about journalistic professionalism.”

The author proposed a participatory role in which media “become active participants, seeking to influence public policy change in their own right and to mobilize wider political participation.” She suggested, “Within the spaces of participatory media, emotion and reason become interwoven in debate rather than a duality; fear, anger, etc., can be seen as legitimate expressions of political engagement rather than dismissed for tainting the critical-rational space of debate.”

You can read the article, “Participatory politics, environmental journalism, and newspaper campaigns,” via the Burnel University Research Archive or Google Books .

 Social media: essential skill in the plant scientists’ toolkit

“Understanding social media, and having the knowledge and confidence to use it appropriately and effectively for professional purposes will become essential skills to be included in a scientist’s skills tool kit.”  Anne Osterrieder of Oxford Brookes University, UK, offered that counsel in a 2013 journal article we are adding to the ACDC collection. Her analysis included “do’s and don’ts of social media,” identifying suggestions, pitfalls, and online references. She also offered examples of social media use in the plant sciences.

You can read the article on Plant Methods’ website or through the National Center for Biotechnology Information .

Establishing a new Rural Journalism Hall of Fame exhibit

Congratulations to members of the Rural Press Club of Queensland (Australia) for spearheading a new Rural Journalism Hall of Fame exhibit.  It was officially commissioned in September at the Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame in Longreach, Queensland.

The new exhibit traces the history of rural journalism in Queensland and showcases the contribution of three rural journalism legends in the club: Malcolm McCosker, Robin McConchie, and Rod Green.

You can read “Rural journalism exhibit commissioned” on Rural Press Club’s website .

Overview of nanotechnology in agro-food

A recent article in Food Research International examines the agro-food sector, one of the fastest growing fields in nano-research. It describes current nanotechnological applications in enhancing food production, processing, storage, and distribution; managing water quality; and controlling food quality with nano-sensors. It also highlights risk assessment and safety concerns with respect to nano agro-food research.

It calls for nanoeducation to “connect schools, colleges, research centers, small scale industries and consumers to understand the potential benefits as well as risk and safety aspects of nanotechnology.”

You can read the article, “Nanotechnology in agro-food,” here .

 How ethical is food blogging?

Food blogger Anne Green addressed that question in an Epicurean Epistles commentary we added recently to the ACDC collection. Here are several ethical dimensions she identified:

  • Plagiarism and infringement of recipe copyright
  • Restaurant reviewers trading cash for endorsements or favorable mentions
  • Claiming expertise without professional accreditation

You can read this blog post here .

New report on farmer perspectives about climate change

A 2015 article in Environment and Behavior reported results of a statewide survey about how Iowa farmers perceive climate change. They reported the following pattern:

  • Climate change is not occurring (4.6%)
  • There is not sufficient evidence to know with certainty whether climate change is occurring (27.0%)
  • Climate change is occurring and it is caused mostly by natural changes in the environment (23.0%)
  • Climate change is occurring and it is caused equally by natural changes in the environment and human activities (35%)
  • Climate change is occurring and it is caused mostly by human activities (10.4%)

Results showed substantial support for adaptive action focused on preparing for resilience in the face of increasingly variable weather. However, findings suggested that outreach focusing on reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (mitigation) is unlikely to resonate for a majority of farmers. Authors suggested outreach strategies that focus on the dual goals of adaptive practices that reduce risks and GHG emissions.

You can read “Understanding farmer perspectives on climate change adaptation and mitigation” here .

Communicator activities approaching

May 21-25, 2015
“Communication across the life span.” Sixty-fifth annual conference of the International Communication Association in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

May 30-June 2, 2015
“Fueling high performance.” Annual institute of the Cooperative Communicators Association (CCA) in Indianapolis, Indiana.

June 18-20, 2015
“Tally-Ho at the Alamo.” Annual seminar of American Horse Publications members in San Antonio, Texas.

June 23-25, 2015
“Rocky Mountain High – ARC” Annual conference of the Agricultural Relations Council in Denver, Colorado.

July 25-29, 2015
“Blaze your new trail.” Seventeenth Annual Ag Media Summit in Scottsdale, Arizona. Sponsored by Livestock Publications Council (LPC), American Agricultural Editors’ Association (AAEA) and Agri Media Council of the American Business Media.  Also the annual meeting of Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow (ACT).

September 24-27, 2015
Annual conference of the Canadian Farm Writers Federation (CFWF) in Calgary, Saskatchewan, Canada.

October 14-18, 2015
“Agribusiness – our life, our story.” Annual Congress of the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists in Hamilton, New Zealand.

November 10-12, 2015
“Managing change innovation and action in an ever shrinking world.” Conference of the Australasia Pacific Extension Network (APEN) in Adelaide, South Australia.

Matters of the heart

We close this issue of ACDC News with a traditional Borneo saying that Extension Educator Deborah Rayburn Lester, shared with us:

“Where the heart is willing
it will find a thousand ways.
Where the heart is unwilling
it will find a thousand excuses.”

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