ACDC News – Issue 16-04

Signs and effects of not enough local news content

Research reported in a 2014 issue of Community Journalism indicated that rural residents of Washington State lack local news relevant to their interests. Authors conducted an online statewide survey among rural and non-rural adults. Findings led authors to suggest that this shortage may be related to an observed decline in social participation among rural residents – and that a drought of local news can lead to a failure of local democracy.

You can read the article here .

Warning about social and mobile media as new farm accident risks

A safety consultant in the UK suggested recently that the mobile phone and social media bring a risk of higher accident rates – and greater business liability – to farm operations.  “Many farm accidents involving students or casuals can be linked to distraction resulting from social media use,” said Oliver Dale. They also reduce efficiency.

He offered suggestions in an article we added recently to the ACDC collection:

  • Consider whether or not to permit the use of personal handheld devices at work at all.
  • If persons need a phone or tablet for use as part of their job, provide that equipment. This enables you to restrict access to social media and use of mobile devices.
  • Provide a social media policy and communicate it effectively to new staff as part of their induction. Then proactively check the use of it and promote the importance of it.

You can read the article, “Mobile phone and social media use raise farm accident risk,” in Farmers Weekly here .

New ways to promote community by digital media

At their 2015 collaborative prototype event in Austin, Texas, members of the Society for News Design created 10 prototypes of new ways to promote community using digital media. Teams involved designers, developers, product owners, educators and students. Here are sample approaches by various teams:

  • A filtering and feedback loop tool for social media managers and reporters
  • A system built for community managers to recognize and reward user generated content
  • A news utility that helps users see what topics matter most in their communities, make connections and gather resources to further involvement
  • A website add-on that creates channels for specific audiences and allows them to post and read relevant information for a hyper-local area

You can read this brief article about the 10 prototypes here .

Advice to innovators in food biotechnology

Researchers Steven M. Flipse and Patricia Osseweijer analyzed media attention to three high-profile GM food cases: the Monarch butterfly, the GM potato and the possibly allergenic StarLink corn variety. Analysis of media attention involved online reports in English-written press. Findings reported in Public Understanding of Science indicated that “it can take more than two years for the scientific community to respond to an issue, whilst it takes the media only days.”

Authors offered two suggestions:

  1. Innovator should use transparency that allows public involvement in the production development process for an innovation.
  2. Scientists should become aware of the role they play in new and emerging, possibly controversial, science and technology – and to communicate their results.

This article is not available by open access.  You can read the abstract of “Media attention to GM food cases: an innovative perspective” at ; check with the lead author, Steven Flipse, at about full-text access; or contact us at for help in gaining access.

Rural Americans more supportive of gun rights

Compared with urban and suburban adult residents, rural adults show signs of greater inclination to say it is more important to protect the right to own guns than to control gun ownership. A December 2014 survey by the Pew Research Center indicated that 60 percent of rural adult respondents considered gun rights more important than gun control, compared with 52 percent of suburban residents and 42 percent of urban residents. This pattern may reflect greater hunting interest and activity in rural areas.

The survey indicated that for the first time in more than two decades there is greater public support for gun rights than gun control. Among all surveyed American adults, favor for gun rights grew from 46 percent in January 2013 to 52 percent in December 2014.

You can read the survey summary here .

A call to agricultural public relations professionals

Beware of observational studies and sensational headlines. That advice came from Daren Williams, board president of Agricultural Relations Council in the winter 2016 issue of ARCLight Newsletter.

It might help, he said, “if researchers…would take time to explain that observational studies don’t really prove a cause and effect relationship exists.” And he emphasized that the potential for sensational headlines to cause confusion and panic “is why we must work hard as ag PR professionals to educate consumers on how to interpret these studies and put them in context in their lives.”

You can read this commentary here :

Communicator activities approaching

April 24-26, 2016
Annual meeting of North American Agricultural Journalists (NAAJ) in Washington, D. C.

May 3-5, 2016
“Steak your claim.” Annual meeting of the Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA) in Omaha, Nebraska.

June 4-7, 2016
“Get up and GROW in the big O.” Annual Institute of the Cooperative Communicators Association in Omaha, Nebraska. Hosted by the North Central Region of CCA.

June 6-9, 2016
“A byte of paradise.” Annual conference of the National Extension Technology Community (NETC) in Kissimmee, Florida USA.

June 9-13, 2016
“Communicating with power.” Annual conference of the International Communication Association (ICA) in Fukuoka, Japan.

June 13-16, 2016
Annual conference of the Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Life and Human Sciences (ACE) in Memphis, Tennessee.

June 16-18, 2016
“May the horse be with you.” Annual seminar of American Horse Publications (AHP) in Orlando, Florida.

June 21-23, 2016
Annual meeting of the Agricultural Relations Council (ARC) in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Trouble with your speaking voice?

We close this issue of ACDC News with thanks to Lyle Orwig for sharing this helpful conversion factor for those experiencing voice problems:

Basic unit of laryngitis = 1 hoarsepower

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