ACDC News – Issue 16-02

Five snapshots of global human need for sharing news within communities

A recent journal article we have added to the ACDC collection describes the current state of community journalism in five developing democracies. Findings prompt caution in generalizing across diverse cultures. For example:

  • Honduras – the ubiquity of local radio in a mountainous country
  • India – marginalized communities create their own media
  • Lebanon – minority communities utilize traditional and new media outlets
  • Ukraine – activist communities use social media to circumvent media oligarchies
  • Zambia – community radio struggles under government interference

Authors conclude that, “in the end, the obstructions cannot seem to stop the natural tendencies of communities to develop their own systems of gathering and disseminating news. The means of doing so, however, are as diverse as the cultures of the world itself.”

You can read the article here .

Eight articles in a new [99(4)] issue of the Journal of Applied Communications

“The message or the channel: an experimental design of consumers’ perceptions of a local food message and the media channels used to deliver the information” by Jessica Holt, Joy N. Rumble, Ricky Telg and Alexa Lamm

“Prince Farming takes a wife: exploring the use of agricultural imagery and stereotypes on ABC’s ‘The Bachelor’” by Annie R. Specht and Brooke W. Beam

“Consumer perceptions of poultry production: a focus on Arkansas” by Stuart Estes, Leslie D. Edgar and Donald M. Johnson

“Totally transparent: a qualitative study about the impact of farm tours on bloggers” by Scott Stebner, Jennifer Ray, Jessie Becker and Lauri M. Baker

“Ask the audience: determining organizational identity of a state extension agency” by Jennifer Ray, Laurie M. Baker and Quisto Settle

“Characteristics of U. S. agricultural communications undergraduate programs” by Jefferson D. Miller, Morgan M. Large, K. Jill Rucker, Kate Shoulders and Emily B. Buck

“Exploring the uses and gratifications of agricultural blog readers” by Courtney Meyers, Kate Gracey, Erica Irlbeck and Cindy Akers

“Exploring the relationship between pre-school-aged animated television and agriculture: a content analysis of Disney Junior’s Mickey Mouse Clubhouse” by Cassaundra Dietrich, Emily Buck and Annie Specht

You can read these articles here .

Government science agencies in the U.S. using social media mainly one-way

An analysis reported in Science Communication during 2015 led authors to conclude that outreach by 11 web-using U. S. federal science agencies is “not facilitating two-way interaction very well.” Assessments of Facebook and Twitter pages showed that:

  • The agencies rarely asked for feedback or asked questions of users.
  • They tended not to continue the dialogic loop by responding to or acknowledging user comments or responses.
  • They almost never encouraged users to engage in offline behavior.
  • Of all the message features, referrals to more information were the most common. Facebook posts referring users to additional resources ranged from 0% (Environmental Protection Agency) to 86.4% (U.S. Department of Agriculture).

The article is not available by open access. You can invite the full article from the contact author, Nicole M. Lee, at , view the publisher’s abstract here , or invite our help at .

“Ag-gag laws: a shift in the wrong direction for animal welfare on farms”

That is the title of a 2014 commentary we added recently to the ACDC collection from the Golden Gate University Law Review . It addressed laws “criminalizing acts related to investigating the day-to-day activities of industrial farms, including the recording, possession or distribution of photos, video and/or audio [taken] at a farm.”

Author Larissa Wilson argued that ag-gag laws are roadblocks to the creation, enforcement and expansion of animal cruelty laws. She focused on states with varying ag-gag laws and looked at examples of laws proposed, passed or failed during the past several years.

You can read this journal article through open access here . Use a title search of the repository to retrieve the full article.

Rural use of the internet continues to lag in the U. S.

Rural Americans are about twice as likely as those who live in urban or suburban settings to never use the internet, according to Pew Research Center findings reported in July 2015. Only 13 percent of urban and suburban residents are not online, compared with 24 percent of rural residents.

You can read a summary report of Pew Research findings here .

Journalists must keep putting out the evidence

That advice came from an Australian science journalist in a recent presentation, “Is modern farming technology a savior or a threat?” Dr. Elizabeth Finkel, editor-in-chief of the popular science magazine, Cosmos , spoke at the 2014 Annual Parliamentary Conference of The Crawford Fund in Canberra.

“Journalism behoves us to be a proxy for the public.  We are the ones privileged to tour through the knowledge-jungle guided by experts.  We need to think up the incisive questions and drill down to the bottom of the issues. That role then behoves us to produce some sort of sum-up – like a judge summing up for the jury after the courtroom’s cross-examination of the evidence.

You can read the presentation here .

Communicator activities approaching

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. Entries 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 USA. It is hosted by the North Central Region of CCA. Information:

June 6-9, 2016

“A byte of paradise.”  Annual conference of the National Extension Technology Community (NETC) in Kissimmee, Florida USA. Information:

June 9-13, 2016

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

How Black Bert thinks today

Our glimpse back at 2015 would not be complete without revisiting the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest in search of winning entries that feature agriculture-related communications.  As you may recall, this annual contest is sponsored by the English Department of San Jose State University, California.  It challenges entrants to compose bad opening sentences to imaginary novels.

So we close this issue with the 2015 Winner of the Western Category, submitted by Joel Phillips of West Trenton, New Jersey:

“Spurs a-jangling, Black Bert sauntered to the bar and cried “this town ain’t big enough!”—then gulped a whisky, fingered his six-shooter, and belched—”so I say we annex Dry Gulch, thus increasing our tax base while simultaneously reducing fixed costs through economies of scale.”

You can read other winning and recognized entries here .

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