ACDC News – Issue 20-08

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“Win the Davidson Leader. Let’s keep the local news alive”

That banner headline in the December 2, 2019, issue of the Davidson Leader rural community newspaper represented a first for Canada. Publisher and owner Tara de Ryk, was giving the 116-year-old paper away – through an essay contest. She had edited this Saskatchewan weekly for 21 years, most of those as owner and publisher. It had repaid her investment and provided funds for retirement.

Now ready to move on from newspapering, she announced that the paper was for sale and found no interest. She considered closing it down, but local residents urged her to reconsider.  A fellow community journalist suggested she conduct a contest to identify “some young up-and-coming good journalist” who has interest and skills but lacks financing to buy into the business. That’s what she did. For a $1 entry fee, contestants could write an essay (500 words maximum) about why they would be “the perfect fit to take over this well-established newspaper business.”

You can learn more about the outcome of this “kind of crazy” adventure by reading an article, “This Publisher Launched a Contest to Give Her Newspaper Away For $1” in the Ryerson Review of Journalism.

How next-generation farmers and consumers in five countries view food and farming ahead

We recently added to the ACDC collection a 24-page research report about how more than 3,000 16- to 38-year-old farmers and consumers in five countries view the future of food and farming. Conducted during 2019 by research firm Kantar and commissioned by Corteva Agriscience, this survey tapped into a 20-year vision held by these two groups in Brazil, China, France, Russia, and the U.S.

In particular, they expressed shared interest in protecting the future of food, securing the future of independent farms, amplifying engagement between farmers and consumers, and confronting climate change.

You can read the report from Corteva.

Climate change in the American mind

That title identifies a 2019 survey report from the Yale University Program on Climate Change Communication and George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication.  It provided findings from a nationally representative survey involving 1,291 U.S. adults during March 29-April 8, 2019.

An executive summary of this 71-page report highlighted 17 aspects of responses in terms of existence, risks, causes, levels of concern, interactions about, information sources used, and local implications.

You can read the “Climate Change In the American Mind” from the Yale University Program on Climate Change Communication and George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication.

Teaching environmental reporting – “a daunting undertaking”

That’s how University of Colorado researchers Richard Stevens and Deserai Crow introduced their research report about teaching journalism students how to report on complex topics like science and the environment.  After examining contemporary literature, they engaged 120 journalism class members in a strategy that combined visual representations of abstract concepts, media texts, and interactions by blogging and discussion. They found that students improved dramatically in their grasp of scientific data, critical analysis, and applications of theoretical frameworks to questions.

You can read their article, “Teaching Millennials to engage THE environment instead of THEIR environment: A pedagogical analysis” in Applied Environmental Education and Communication.

Fond farewells to Courtney and Emily

Congratulations and hearty thanks to our departing ACDC graduate assistants, Emily Benton and Courtney Smith. Both recently completed their graduate degrees in Library and Information Sciences in the iSchool here at the University of Illinois.

In a wide range of ways, they strengthened the collection, operations, and services of the Center – always in great spirit. They will be missed here and have our best wishes.

What Czech food producers experienced using regional food labels: Mixed results

This 2019 journal article involved promotion of local foods. It featured results of a telephone survey among 208 producers who used the Czech “Regional Food” quality label. Reported findings:

  • Producers saw a positive improvement of sales following acquisition of the label.
  • They did not notice greater interest in their products during campaigns to support awareness of the Regional Food label.

Findings prompted a recommendation that it is worthwhile to keep the regional food label but improve its visibility by better marketing support.  Examples included more visible and frequent local events and more assistance in securing new distribution channels, such as government institutions, schools, and hospitals.

You can read the article “Benefits of regional food quality labels for Czech producers” at Journal on Food System Dynamics.

Communicator events approaching

Uncertainties of the COVID-19 health issue continue to prompt flexible event planning. Here are plans of which we are aware, with website addresses you can use to track updates.

September 15-17, 2020 (virtual conference rescheduled from on-site in June)

“Spice up your creativity.” Virtual Institute of the Cooperative Communicators Association (CCA).


November 14-18, 2020 (on-site conference rescheduled from July 25-29)

“Ag Media Summit 2020.”  AMS is a gathering of agricultural media and communications professionals in Kansas City, Missouri. It involves AAEA – Agricultural Communicators Network, Livestock Publications Council, (LPC), and Connectiv Ag Media Council.


November 18-20, 2020 (virtual convention rescheduled from on-site)

Annual convention of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB) will be held virtually. Additional information on the set-up and registration for registrants and Trade Talk exhibitors will be announced by September 1.

The worst of cowboy writing

In closing, we hope to inspire you with the winning entry in the Western category of the 2019 Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest. You may recall this whimsical international literary competition, sponsored by the English Department of San Jose State University, California. Entrants are challenged to compose opening sentences in the worst of all possible novels.

Stephanie Karnosh of Springboro, Ohio, topped the Western category of worseness with this entry:

“Yeehaw, boys, and so long,” called Eugene ‘Bullettooth Dynamite’ Jones as he rode off into the torrential downpour  on his 32-inch-tall miniature horse, Kevin, hiding a frown because he knew deep down in his heart he had yeed his last haw.”

Best regards and wishes during this challenging time

ACDC is a resource for you, so please 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