ACDC News – Issue 17-10



At the complex intersection of meatpacking, immigration, and fake news

We recently added to the ACDC collection an interview with journalist Ted Genoways, co-producer of a May 2017 news article about a foiled terror plot last October to bomb an apartment complex in Garden City, Kansas. The complex was home to Somali and other refugees who were working at a nearby meatpacking plant. His responses during the interview included these thoughts about the rise of fake news:

“It’s a strange environment to report in. …  more than ever, it’s important to distinguish real reporting from opinion or speculation or even things that are intentionally misleading, so that we know that what we’re reading is based on reality.

“As a reporter, that means there’s an even higher bar now for establishing what’s factual. … Especially online, there is a growing body of people who are happy to contest observable facts. What a strange thing to argue with someone, not over policy goals or opinion, but over the basic facts that in many cases the reporters have established by witnessing themselves.”

You can read the interview here. You can read his “Terror in the heartland” story here. We added them from the Fern newsletter of the Food and Environment Reporting Network, which is an independent investigative non-profit organization.

The longest-running U.S. daily farm and home television program

Congratulations to Lyn Jarvis, honored recently with the Robert O. Sinclair Cup from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and University of Vermont Extension Service.   He and associates at the University of Vermont have sustained a farm and home television program that has extended for 62 years.  Lyn produced, directed, recruited talent, and constructed sets for 27 of those years (more than 7,000 “Across the Fence” shows) on WCAX-TV, Burlington.  Here are several keys for sustained success, as described in his recognition:

  • His programming balanced the interests of viewers with in-depth, research-based information
  • Program information ranged broadly across agriculture, 4-H, consumer issues, and a host of other topics
  • As a “media mentor,” he helped guests feel comfortable before the camera
  • He coached his colleagues on how to make effective use of television 

You can learn more about “Across the Fence” here.

Eight new research reports in JAC

The second 2017 issue of the Journal of Applied Communications (JAC) includes these articles:

  • “Marketing and more: An in-depth look at relationship marketing with new media in the green industry” by Scott Stebner, Lauri M. Baker, Hikaru Hanawa Peterson, and Cheryl R. Boyer
  • “Using critical thinking styles to inform food safety behavior communication campaigns” by Arthur Leal, Joy N. Rumble, and Alexa J. Lamm
  • “An examination of student development theory in the context of writing instruction” by Holli R. Leggette, Holly Jarvis Whitaker, and Matt Miranda
  • “Communicating about undocumented immigration issues: Is your target audience bilingual?” by Shuyang Qu, Alexa J. Lamm, and Joy N. Rumble
  • “The potential return on investment of the recruitment strategies for an academic unit focused on agricultural sciences” by J. Tanner Robertson, Taylor Hurst, Kevin Williams, and Lance Kieth
  • “What’s in a name? The influence of persuasive communication on Florida consumers’ attitude toward genetically modified food” by Taylor K. Ruth and Joy N. Rumble
  • “Public knowledge and trust of agricultural and natural resources organizations” by Quisto Settle, Joy N. Rumble, Keelee McCarty, and Taylor K. Ruth

JAC, a peer-reviewed journal, is published by the Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Life and Human Sciences (ACE).  You can read these new articles here.

Communications: A key in mapping out Australia’s food future

Thanks to Neil Inall for alerting us to the new “Food and Agribusiness Roadmap” for Australia. The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) announced it July 17, charting a course for products, technology, and innovation in this sector.

Effective communications are integral to all five “key enablers” for the Roadmap:

  • Traceability and provenance
  • Food safety and biosecurity
  • Market intelligence and access
  • Collaboration and knowledge sharing
  • Broad-ranging skills of employees

You can read the announcement here.

People of the land as heroes in environmental conflict

Four farmers and indigenous leaders are among six recipients of the 2017 Goldman Environmental Prize. This annual award from the Goldman Environmental Foundation “honors grassroots environmental heroes” from all parts of the world.

  • Uroš Macerl, “an organic farmer from Slovenia, successfully stopped a cement kiln from co-incinerating petcoke with hazardous industrial waste by rallying legal support…”
  • Prafulla Samantara of India “led a historic 12-year legal battle that affirmed the indigenous Dongria Kondh’s land rights and protected the Niyamgiri Hills from a massive, open-pit aluminum ore mine.”
  • Rodrigo Tort, “an indigenous leader in Guatemala’s Agua Caliente, led his community to a landmark court decision that ordered the government to issue land titles to the Q’eqchi people…”
  • Wendy Bowman, of Australia, “stopped a powerful multinational mining company from taking her family farm and protected her community in Hunter Valley from further pollution.”

You can read more about the award and the efforts of recipients here.

Welcome to the ACDC crew

It is a pleasure to welcome Hailley Shaw as a new graduate assistant in the Center. She joined the staff this summer and already has helped expand the Contributed Collections section of the ACDC website. Also, following reviews of documents, she has added nearly 150 citations to the online database.

Hailley is a 2014 graduate of Vanderbilt University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English literature and history. She is working on her Master of Library and Information Science degree here at the University of Illinois, focusing on rare books and special collections.  Her previous library experience includes customer service at the Champaign Public Library, Center for Children’s Books, and Urbana Theological Seminary Library. Also, she has worked on organization and schedule coordination for several University of Illinois professors.

Communicator activities approaching

October 20, 2017
Deadline for submitting professional development proposals and posters to be presented at the Agricultural Communications Section of the Southern Association of Agricultural Scientists in Jacksonville, Florida, February 4-5, 2018.
Information about professional development proposals: Lauri Baker at
Information about posters: Quisto Settle at

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.

When nature talks

We close this issue of ACDC News with a challenge for those of us who would communicate about nature and the environment. It is from Linda Hogan, quoted in the Book of Green Quotations:

“There is a way that nature speaks, that land speaks. Most of the time we are simply not patient enough, quiet enough, to pay attention to the story.”

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