ACDC News – Issue 16-01

Best wishes from the ACDC crew for your new year ahead.

We look forward to helping you keep informed about agriculture-related journalism and communications around the world.

Honoring 70 years of rural broadcasting in Australia

Thanks to Gordon Collie for alerting us to a new video production celebrating the 70 th anniversary of rural programming by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).  It was aired recently as a one-hour program on national television, tracing back to the first episode of the radio program “Country Hour” which went on the air on December 3, 1945.

“It includes rare and archival footage of Australian agriculture and chronicles how rural broadcasting, farming and rural technology have changed over the years,” Gordon reports. “The program also takes a look at the relevance of rural reporting in the 21 st century.” John Douglas, pioneer in developing ABC Rural, was recognized and respected, internationally.  Those who followed him at ABC Rural have maintained an innovative spirit of excellence, as reflected most recently in ABC Rural entries receiving two World Star Prize Awards at the 2015 World Congress of the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists.

You can view this informative, interesting video at

How agricultural reporters use social media

Suzanne Steel and Martha Filipic of Ohio State University recently coordinated a survey among 53 U. S. agricultural reporters about their use of Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and blogs. The responses revealed “vastly differing opinions and approaches in reporters’ use of social media,” with age observed in face-to-face interviews as a determining factor.

“Despite the wide range in approaches, our analysis did reveal some trends.  For example, 81 percent of participants use Twitter and 64 percent use Facebook for professional purposes. About one-fourth of each get ‘quite a few’ story ideas from Twitter or Facebook. We were also able to capture popular Twitter hashtags and blogs…”

You can read the survey report here .

Mostly reporting the benefits

A five-year analysis of articles published in 15 major UK, USA and Canada newspapers revealed that they conveyed overall support for vitamin D supplementation of diets. Also:

  • Coverage linked vitamin D to a wide range of health conditions for which there exists no conclusive evidence.
  • Coverage was inconsistent and at times contradictory.
  • “Given our findings that the popular press has been consistently endorsing supplementation, it seems reasonable to conclude the popular press is, at least in part, helping to fuel the demand for vitamin D supplements and to the confusion about its value.”

You can read the 2014 article in BMJ Open here .

Differing views of “dialogue” in development issues

A 2015 article in Public Relations Review alerted readers to a misunderstanding of “dialogue” as simply two-way communication. It observed that while international development organizations frequently claim to use dialogic and participatory methods, “development communication remains a relatively unexplored area in public relations.” Researchers used an agricultural development project in Bolivia as a framework for exploring “dialogue” in practice. What emerged were insights about differences in focusing on means and ends.

Dialogic approach:

  • Communication as the goal (end) of interaction
  • Valuing the “other” as an equal in discussions
  • Giving up control over outcome of dialogue
  • Planned communication with structures to facilitate open interactions
  • Ongoing, episodic interactions that facilitate relationships and long-term goals

Non-dialogic approach

  • Using communication as means to an end (e.g., goal achievement)
  • Segmenting publics by attributes, using two-way communication strategies to resolve problems/issues
  • Using dialogue to achieve predetermined objectives
  • Unstructured and ad hoc communication
  • Brief interactions designed to facilitate short-term objectives

You can read this journal article on the open Web here , via

Who cares about fish welfare?

“Although concern about animal welfare is growing in the western world, very little attention has been given to the welfare of fish,” said the authors of a 2015 article in the British Food Journal .  Their survey among 2,147 Norwegians addressed that question.

Results showed that the Norwegian public is concerned about fish welfare and is willing to pay a price premium for products made from welfare-assured farmed salmon.  Researchers noted that education initiatives focusing on fish farming and fish welfare issues would further influence the attitudes and purchasing habits of Norwegian consumers.

This article is not available by open access. You can read the abstract for it, “Who cares about fish welfare?” at:

Or check with us at for help in gaining access.

When agricultural writing began

A journal article we added recently to the ACDC collection reported that hymns dating back to 5000 BC are examples of the earliest writings on agriculture. According to author R. D. Sharma, those hymns were quoted from the most ancient scripture of India, called Rigveda. Agriculture was regarded as a holy and dignified occupation. Modern agricultural journalism in India began in the mid-19 th century with the advent of printing.

You can read the article here .

Communicator activities approaching

January 29, 2016

Deadline for research papers to be presented at the annual conference of the Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Life and Human Sciences (ACE), in Memphis, Tennessee, during June. Papers are invited from faculty members and/or graduate students. Information: Jill Rucker at

March 1, 2016

Deadline for members of the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists to submit entries for the IFAJ/FAO Award for Excellence in Global Food Security. They should feature stories about soil, which is the topic featured as the 2016 International Year of Soils. You can find details at

June 4-7, 2016

“Get up and GROW in the big O,” annual Institute of the Cooperative Communicators Association to take place in Omaha, Nebraska. It is hosted by the North Central Region of CCA. Information:

June 9-13, 2016

Annual conference of the International Communication Association (ICA) in Jukuoka, Japan. Information:

What comes first

We close this issue of ACDC News with a Spanish proverb reminding us of the importance of those who communicate about agriculture:

“The belly rules the mind”

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