ACDC News – Issue 19-12

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A fight to keep public notices in newspapers

We have added a 2019 NiemanReports opinion piece of this title to the ACDC collection.

It addresses a long-time policy of publishing notices of government actions in newspapers. Such actions commonly involve budgets, hearings, government contracts open for bidding, unclaimed property, and court actions.

“In recent years, some cash-strapped state legislatures have tried to remove the requirement…” author Maryanne Reed explained.  Concerns, however, emphasize that the public loses out when government makes it harder to find out what it’s doing. The author described efforts to retain public notice, noting the special role of rural residents. The Missouri Press Association reported finding its biggest allies among legislators in rural areas, where internet access is limited and local newspapers still have a strong presence.

You can read the commentary here.

How rural Cambodians are using social media, politically

With increasing access to internet, they are using quiet encroachment in cyberspace, according to findings reported in a 2019 research article in the Journal of Contemporary Asia. However, “the extent of this virtual information revolution is limited, since neither the urban nor rural poor are mapping out new online political strategies, agendas or identities…”

You can read the abstract here with full-text PDF available for purchase from the publisher. Or confer with us at

Experimenting with hyperlocal rural community journalism

Re-imagining “social columns” as community storytelling and using “liars tables” as listening circles are among the approaches described in a new article in Journalism Practice. Researcher Andrea Wenzel presented a case study of efforts by one rural hyperlocal online news site in rural Kentucky.  She found some bump in subscriptions in relation to one of the two engagement initiatives. Findings revealed no impact from Facebook ads, podcasts, or live streaming.

You can read the abstract here, or confer with us at

How university outreach professionals can draw upon Extension competencies

We have added a recent article that explores how Cooperative Extension competencies can help community outreach professionals in universities develop a holistic approach to training on various skills and abilities for community engagement. Writing in the Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement, Jorge Horacio Atiles also highlighted values of the Extension approach to systems thinking and logic modeling.

You can read this open-access article here.

Upside-down NGO approach to small-scale farm practice adoption: a case study

  • Bottom up rather than top down
  • Two-way collaborative learning
  • Local empowerment
  • No financial incentives
  • Targeting local markets
  • Maximizing holistic well-being

These are a few of the special ingredients involved in efforts of a non-governmental organization (NGO) working with farmers in Nicaragua. Findings of this case study were reported early this year in Organization Studies. The study addressed a conservation agriculture project sponsored by the Mennonite Central Committee among small-scale farmers.  Findings revealed the effectiveness of using these non-centrist approaches to address critical uncertainties associated with such innovations in that setting.

You can read the journal article abstract here.

Communicator events approaching

January 24 and February 14, 2020
Deadlines for submission of research papers, posters, research proposals, theses and dissertations for presentation and awards at the annual meeting of the Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Life and Human Sciences (ACE), June 22-25, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois USA. Information:

February 2-3, 2020
National Agricultural Communications Symposium with the Southern Association of Agricultural Scientists, Louisville, Kentucky USA. Information:  Prof. Annie Specht at

June 24-28, 2020
Conference of the International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors at the University of Nevada, Reno. Nevada. Information: https://www.iswne.or

Concise career advice

In closing the December issue of ACDC News, we thank Dinah Forbes (Editors’ Association of Earth) for this career insight:
Q:  “Why did you become an editor?”
A:  “Well, to make a long story short…”

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