ACDC News – Issue 18-05

“Buckraking” on the food beat – it gets complex

We recently added to the ACDC collection an article about possible conflicts of interest when editors rely on freelance writers who add to their incomes with side projects. This article by Stacy Malkan as posted on the website of Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR).  It involved interactions about the funded side activities of a Washington Post food columnist. It also addressed “conflict of interest” sensitivities involving funding sources and impartiality of academic researchers.

You can read the article here.

The impact of USDA reports on international corn markets

A 2017 research report from economists with the U. S. Department of Agriculture suggested that futures markets in the U. S., Brazil, and Japan all respond to USDA production and inventory news about corn. That news is incorporated in prices by the end of the first trading session after a report is issued. In contrast, Chinese corn prices do not respond, “likely due to Government policies that decouple the domestic from the world corn market.”

You can read the report here.

Six new research reports in JAC

The first 2018 issue of the Journal of Applied Communications features these articles:

  • “A content analysis of Extension’s presence on 1890 land-grant university websites” by Garrett M. Steede, Laura Fischer, Diane C. Meyer, and Courtney Meyers
  • “Cultivating creativity: Faculty conceptions of creativity in agricultural communications students” by Courtney Gibson, Hope Hancock, Erica Irlbeck, and Courtney Meyers
  • “Eating animals: The influence of food-based narratives” by Gillian Spolarich, Amanda Ruth-McSwain, and Lisa K. Lundy
  • “Media portrayal of GM science and citrus greening in state and national newspapers” by Jeremy D’Angelo, Jason D. Ellis, Katherine Burke, and Taylor Ruth
  • “The communication effectiveness of scientist-stakeholder partnerships addressing agriculture and natural resources issues: A citation analysis of the Florida Water and Climate Alliance” by Shuyang Qu, Tracy Irani, and Angela B. Lindsey
  • “#TransformFFA: An analysis of social media content during the 2016 National FFA Convention” by Tiffany M. Rogers-Randolph, Lisa K. Lundy, Jessica L. Harsh, and Raychel Rabon

You can read them here.

Shortage of information services limiting local rural innovation

A rural-urban divide in county-level patent applications appeared in an analysis reported recently by three Michigan State University agricultural economists. They examined patent intensity (utility patent applications per 10,000 employment) in 2,874 counties of 48 states during 2009-2013.

Findings indicated that larger presence of information and professional services “is likely to generate more innovation activities in urban areas than in remote rural areas.” Remote rural counties patented 75% less frequently than urban counties.

You can read the 2017 conference paper here.

Want to report more freshly about food waste?

Reporter Debbie G. McCullough recently offered four tips for finding fresh data and business angles to cover food waste (a 30-40% share of the U. S. food supply).

  • Weave in good data
  • Tell readers what food companies are doing to reduce waste
  • Quote the experts and papers from leading nonprofits tracking the problem
  • Cover the trends in food waste

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

Communicator events approaching

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. Information:

August 4-8, 2018
“Everything under the Sun”  20th 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).

Whose inheritance?

Prompted by the recent observance of Earth Day, we close this issue of ACDC News with a Native American proverb that shows global implications:

“We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors.
We borrow it from our children.”

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

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