ACDC News – Issue 18-04

Honoring pioneer agricultural journalists

You can view the latest ACDC digital exhibit, “Pioneer Agricultural Journalists,” on the Agricultural Communications Documentation Center website. This exhibit provides a sampling of early agricultural editors in the U.S. It focuses on the 15 journalists William Edward Ogilvie wrote about in Pioneering Agricultural Journalists: Brief Biographical Sketches of Some of the Early Editors in the Field of Agricultural Journalism.

These pioneering agricultural journalists used their skills and publications to disseminate agrarian and farming knowledge and to expand the field. Their pioneering dates back to 1819 when John S. Skinner established the American Farmer. He became what Ogilvie described as “the father of American farm journalism.”

We hope you enjoy it. Thanks to graduate assistant Hailley Shaw for preparing it as part of our digital exhibit series.

Can hyper-local news help hold rural communities together?

Well, maybe – or maybe not. Journalism researcher David Baines of Newcastle University addressed that question through a case study. It involved a rural hyper-local project launched by a major regional media company in England’s most sparsely-populated county. During the study:

  • The media company journalists were unable to deliver “liquid engagements” that might have encouraged citizens to develop collaborations and trusted, valued relationships with journalists.
  • The sites were designed primarily to meet political and corporate needs, not the community’s. The architecture of the hyper-local site offered a “one-way traffic from centre to periphery.”

You can read the article here.

Four databases to help “untangle local food webs” in the U. S.

We recently added to the ACDC collection an article that identified four databases journalists and others can use to analyze the food system of any state, county, or major city in the nation. These databases are hosted by the Center for Transportation Analysis, U. S. Department of Agriculture, and U. S. Census Bureau.

You can read the 2016 article from the Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism here.

Dangerous lack of consumer trust involving food and agriculture

Recent research from the Center for Food Integrity revealed that U. S. consumers hold food companies, federal regulatory agencies, and farmers most responsible for ensuring the health and safety of food.  However, “not all are trusted to get the job done.”  According to the report, when it comes to trust:

  • Federal regulatory agencies ranked eighth on a list of 11 choices
  • Food companies ranked last on the list
  • Farmers ranked third

“The findings illustrate a dangerous trust deficit that breeds increased public suspicion and highlights the need for increased consumer engagement in the food system.”

You can read a summary of findings here.

Connections between watchdog journalism and development journalism

Journalism in the island nation of Fiji shows an interesting combination of emphasis on watchdog journalism and development journalism. It emerged in research reported in the International Communication Gazette. A survey among Fijian journalists revealed their three most strongly favored roles included being watchdog of the government, providing citizens with information they need to make political decisions, and being an absolutely detached observer.

At the same time, traditional development journalism also received considerable support among respondents. Almost two-thirds said it was very important or extremely important to advocate for social change. More than one-half favored supporting official policies to bring about prosperity and development.

You can read the article by F. Hanusch and Charu Uppal here.

Search ACDC resources when you want to dig deep

Sometimes we surprise ourselves when we observe the depth of information in the ACDC collection. Across the years, we have valued early literature as well as recent literature about agriculture-related communications, globally.  So you can often dig deep when you want to review what is known about topics of interest.

For example, here’s the historical range you will find when you search the collection online for communications aspects of these sample topics:

  • “food safety” — 3,373 documents dated from 1910 to 2017
  • “risk communication” – 2,214 documents dated 1916 to 2018
  • livestock – 1,193 documents dated 1900 to 2017
  • “farm journals” – 3,238 documents dated 1842 to 2017

Communicator events approaching

April 16-20, 2018
Conference of the Association for International Agricultural and Extension Education (AIAEE) in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico.

June 2-5, 2018
“Earn your spurs: communicate in the Lone Star State” Annual Institute of the Cooperative Communicators Association (CCA) in Fort Worth, Texas.
Information at:

June 20-21, 2018
“Step into the Winner’s Circle of Agricultural Public Relations” Annual meeting of the Agricultural Relations Council (ARC) in Louisville, Kentucky.

July 11-15, 2018
“Dutch Roots: small country big solutions”  2018 World Congress of the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) in The Netherlands.

August 4-8, 2018
“Everything under the Sun” Twentieth annual Agricultural Media Summit in Scottsdale, Arizona. Participants include AAEA – The Agricultural Communicators Network; Livestock Publications Council (LPC), Connectiv Agri-Media Committee; Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Life and Human Sciences (ACE); and Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow (ACT).

Making the headlines

Thanks to Lyle Orwig of Charleston|Orwig Inc. for calling attention to these newspaper headlines related to food, agriculture, and natural phenomena.  Some are new, some classic. We can’t imagine that agricultural journalists wrote them.

  • “Bugs flying around with wings are flying bugs”
  • “Starvation can lead to health hazards”
  • “Total lunar eclipse will be broadcast live on Northwoods Public Radio”

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 IL 61801) or in electronic format sent to

Click here for a printer-friendly PDF of this newsletter.