ACDC News – Issue 17-07

Transforming the world with big ideas

Results of a 2016 poll by the Thomson Reuters Foundation highlight potentials of a growing sector called social entrepreneurship.  It fosters innovation and sustainable business ideas to “solve the world’s most pressing social problems.” Findings suggest it is “disrupting the traditional status quo” and helping women “smash through the glass ceiling as never before.”

Entrepreneurs in this sector seek success not only in financial returns, but also in social impact – improving the lives of the underserved and marginalized communities. Examples cited in Monique Villa’s description involved micro-lending enterprises and marketing products such as solar lamps and smokeless stoves. Nearly 70 percent of the experts polled across the world’s 44 biggest economics said women are well represented in management roles within this fast-growing industry.

Findings suggest strong and growing opportunities for effective rural marketing communications in this arena. You can learn more about the report here.

“Let’s go gender blind”

Honored agricultural journalist Pamela Smith offered that advice recently in the ByLine newsletter of the American Agricultural Editors’ Association.  Approaching her 40th anniversary as a journalist specializing in agricultural topics, she knows the trail of gender challenges in this field.

“No, it hasn’t always been issue,” she explained in her article, “and yes, stereotypical notions still exist. If experience has taught me anything it is that sometimes struggle is an incentive to work harder, even if it is difficult to understand or unfair.”

You can read the article by this crops technology editor of DTN/The Progressive Farmer here.

Student-produced animated video for rural development

Thanks to Chris McGillion, senior lecturer in journalism, for alerting us to an innovative service learning experience for students at Charles Sturt University in Australia. Students in the Animation and Visual Effects degree program produced an animated video for a government-funded agricultural development program in Timor-Leste. It featured Extension-recommended practices for growing maize. A report of the project and responses from rural community showings was published in the April issue of Science Communication  and the final cut can be viewed at

You can view an abstract of the journal article here.

“An abomination.” Call for help in serving the news needs of smaller communities

What’s happening in smaller communities is being overlooked in discussions about the state of Canadian news media. That message came recently from a panel discussion at the Ryerson School of Journalism, Toronto.  Lack of resources for community-based newsrooms “is an abomination,” said Robert Washburn, professor of journalism at Loyalist College.  “The expectations are ridiculous. There’s lack of staff, there’s poor wages, there’s unpaid overtime. Little or no training and the use of personal equipment. It goes on and on.”  He called for neighborhoods, hamlets, villages, towns and small cities to be involved in future discussions about media policies in Canada.

Panelist Gretchen King, a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Ottawa, has experience with volunteer-driven, collaborative community media.  “…people need to acknowledge that volunteer-driven urban and rural media have very different concerns and will not benefit from blanket solutions to the challenges faced by news media in general.”

You can read the article here.

How global open data can benefit agriculture and nutrition 

The February issue of ICT Update featured progress made to use open data for
“better access to accurate, timely information… to shape a more sustainable agriculture future.” The issue reported on topics addressed during the third international workshop of Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN). It took place during February in The Hague, The Netherlands.

These are some of the aspects covered:

  • Impact of open data on smallholder farmers
  • Boosting data innovations and entrepreneurship
  • Translating complex data into accessible articles
  • Gender and open data: is there an app for that?
  • Healthy choices
  • Storytelling through data visualization

You can read the issue here.

A gap: food information sources considered reliable aren’t those used most 

A recent study among young Polish consumers (ages 16-24) revealed a gap between sources they considered reliable and those they actually used. Respondents said they considered nutrition consultants, physicians, and pharmacists among the most reliable sources of food information.  However, most often they relied on recommendations from family members, labels, and acquaintances. Authors of this 2016 article in the British Food Journal called for further educational activities aimed at young consumers.

You can review the publisher’s abstract and purchase details here. You can also check with us for help in gaining full-text access.

Communicator activities approaching

July 22-26, 2017
“Summit on the summit.”  Agricultural Media Summit near Salt Lake City, Utah. Joint meeting of the American Agricultural Editors’ Association, Livestock Publications Council, and the Connectiv Agri-Media Committee. Also site of the national meeting of Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow.

September 9-15, 2017
International conference of the Australasia-Pacific Extension Network, jointly with the Global Forum for Rural Advisory Services, in the Hinchinbrook and Townsville Regions of north Queensland, Australia.  Information:

September 11-14, 2017
Annual meeting of the Communication Officers of State Departments of Agriculture (COSDA), in New Orleans, Louisiana USA. Information:
September 13-15, 2017
Annual conference of the Association of Food Journalists in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA.

September 28-30, 2017
Joint conference of the Canadian Farm Writers Federation (CFWF) and Association des communicateurs et rédacteurs de l’agroalimentaire (ACRA) in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. Information: and

October 4-8, 2017
“Rivers of change.” Annual conference of the Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ), Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania USA.

October 26-30, 2017
World Conference of Science Journalists, San Francisco, California USA.

November 8-10, 2017
“Focus influence.” Annual convention of the National Association of  Farm Broadcasting (NAFB), Kansas City, Missouri USA.

Great fun in spinning a rope

We close this issue of ACDC News with a Will Rogers perspective from his performance days.  It’s one to which agricultural journalists and communicators can relate as they help others address risks and conflicts:

“Spinnin’ a rope is fun, if your neck ain’t in it.”

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