ACDC News – Issue 19-08

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Green shoots of hope across the impoverished local news landscape

“Though it’s a precarious time for local journalism, with ruthless slashing of jobs and papers closing across the continent, there are some small green shoots sprouting up across the impoverished local news landscape.” Olivia Bednar described some of them in a 2019 article in the Ryerson Review of Journalism (Canada). Examples cited:

  • Employee ownership for greater local independence, editorial expertise, and community engagement
  • Social media platform with local news, plus emphasis on a watchdog role
  •  Hub concept – “bits and pieces of local action” from 15 different local news outlets (e.g., online sites, television channels, and radio shows)
  • Library-based local newspaper photocopied and distributed from various spots around a tiny farm town
  • Community website where anyone can pitch a story, supply photos, or links

You can read the article here.

New legal assessment tool for gender-equitable land tenure

We have added to ACDC an announcement of it from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. It introduced a legal assessment tool (LAT) providing “prompt, targeted and effective policy and regulatory advice to countries working towards gender-equitable land tenure.”

The tool analyzes national legal frameworks across 30 legal indicators and assessments in 23 countries. Assessments focus on elimination of gender-based discrimination in the country’s constitution, in inheritance, nationality, property rights, and access to justice among others. Effective communicating is a key element throughout this initiative.

You can read the announcement here.

Countering claims in the “Go Green – Go Paperless” campaign

We recently added to the ACDC collection a brief report of global “anti-greenwash” efforts to address what are described as unsubstantiated claims in the “Go Green – Go Paperless” campaign. This blog reported on efforts by Two Sides North America, a not-for-profit, global organization. They involved an analysis of 921 corporations, worldwide.

Two-thirds of those were found to be using unsubstantiated claims regarding paper’s impact on the environment, “usually in breach of local advertising regulations.” After being challenged, 335 of those firms were found to have removed or changed their messaging.

You can read the report here.

Farmers concerned about biological preservation, but not joining an agro-environmental program

That pattern emerged from a recent study involving farmers in the shrinking grassland areas of Normandy, France. Researchers used a choice experiment method to assess farmers’ perceptions and actions involving an agro-environmental scheme aimed at grassland preservation and restoration. The scheme included monetary compensation, but was not successful in prompting farmers to abandon cropping systems they have found more profitable than grassland.

“Environmental consideration is not the key driver behind farmers’ preferences,” researchers concluded.

You can read this 2019 conference paper here.

Two new successful social marketing efforts promoting low-fat milk consumption

The June 2019 issue of Social Marketing Quarterly included results of a case study that featured two effective interventions promoting consumption of 1% low-fat milk. A promotion in the Oklahoma City (USA) media market resulted in a significant 15 increase in consumption. A later statewide promotion resulted in a 42.9% increase in sales during the intervention period.

You can read the abstract here. Contact us at for counsel about gaining full-text access.

Thanks for teaching and research materials

Thanks to Dr. Eugene Kroupa who recently added resources to those he had contributed earlier to the ACDC collection. They relate mainly to his teaching and research during the 1970s as a member of the agricultural journalism faculty at the University of Wisconsin.

His contributions add historical depth and enduring perspective to topics such as:

  • Farmers’ uses, understanding, and sources of agricultural market news
  • Promotion of farm products
  • Audience research methods in agriculture
  • Courses, curricula and trends in agricultural communications

You can get acquainted with his contributions by entering “Kroupa Collection” in the ACDC search system here.

Communicator events approaching

September 12-13, 2019
“Extending horizons: Extension’s role in climate, rural industry, and community challenges. Conference of the Australasia Pacific Extension Network (APEN) in Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia. Information:

October 9-13, 2019
“Headwaters to the Plains.” Annual conference of the Society of Environmental Journalists at Fort Collins, Colorado USA.

October 11-12, 2019
Seminar of the Swiss Agricultural Journalists at the guest house Probstenberg, located between the municipalities of Welschenrohr and Seehof, Switzerland. Information:

November 11-13, 2019
Professional development conference of the International Food Wine and Travel Writers Association at Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA. Information:

November 13-15, 2019
“75 years strong.” Anniversary convention of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB) in Kansas City, Missouri.

December 6-7, 2019
“Pluralistic extension for enhancing farmers’ income through reaching the unreached.” National seminar organized by Mahatma Phule Krishi Vidyapeeth and Maharashtra Society of Extension Education at Maharashtra, India. Information:

Surely the oldest career field

We close this issue with a story reported decades ago in the Monthly Labor Review. We discovered it recently in some contributed materials.

A physician, an engineer, and an economist were arguing about whose career area is oldest.

  • “Healing is as old as man himself,” said the physician. “That makes mine the oldest profession.”
  • “Not so,” said the engineer. “God had to use engineering to create the world out of chaos and confusion.”
  • “And who do you think created chaos and confusion?” asked the economist.

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 international 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