ACDC News – Issue 21-03

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Environmental freelancing during COVID-19

Several timely themes emerged from an international panel webinar about this subject, as reported in the August 12 e-newsletter of the Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ):

  • Finding stories
  • Staying afloat
  • Professional development
  • Pitching stories
  • Protecting your health
  • The future of freelancing


You can read the news summary by Karen Schaefer here.

“Agriculture’s new name game”

A 2018 editorial in CropLife magazine noted how names are changing as “many sectors of the ag business have been engaged in a series of mergers, consolidations, and outright buy-ups. “ Editor Eric Sfiligoj mentioned several examples of names changed and names dropped.  He concluded: “As always, only time will tell how long-standing any of these new names end up being.”


You can read this editorial by open access here.

Lessons on rural development communication from the writings of Mahatma Gandhi

Four recommendations emerged from researcher Pratima Mutyala’s search for such lessons. She used literature review and comparative analysis to reveal conceptual links between contemporary literature on participatory communication and Indian freedom fight leader Mahatma Gandhi’s writings about rural development. Findings reported in a 2019 issue of the Journal for Development Communication emphasized these ingredients for development efforts:

  1. Participatory orientation of beneficiaries
  2. Thorough research into the development issue in the context of a given community
  3. Involvement of local people at every stage of the project
  4. Orientation for development officers and volunteers


You can read the article by online open access here.

Fresh signs of sparse media reporting about farm safety

 A 2020 article in the Journal of Agromedicine featured evidence in Canada that preventive messages are rare in media reporting of farm injuries – and have decreased over time. The team of public health researchers used 2010-2017 information in a database maintained by the Canadian Agricultural Safety Association (CASA). It gathers publicly available news media reports of agricultural injuries and fatalities.

This analysis identified 856 relevant articles during the period, only 6.3% of which included a preventive message. Fewer than 3% contained what was considered a strong preventive message that provided appropriate advice, information for services, or prevention strategies. A prior study (based on 2007-2009 CASA data) had found that 24% of identified articles included a preventive message, with 10% of them considered strong.


You can read the abstract with terms and conditions for full-text access at: Or confer with us at

Environmental journalists speak out about racial equality in news organizations

“The Society of Environmental Journalists stands with journalists of color who are shedding light on systemic racism, inequities, and discrimination inside and outside of the newsroom.”  This statement introduced a declaration which SEJ adopted recently.


You can read the two-page document here.

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 contact information you can use for details.

April 12-15, 2021

“Mediterranean Agriculture, Food and Environment.” Annual conference of the Association for International Agricultural and Extension Education (AIAEE) in Thessaloniki, Greece.


May 20-22, 2021

“Back in the Saddle” American Horse Publications Equine Media Conference for members, in Irving, Texas. AHP is celebrating 50 years.


June 6-9, 2021

“Meet up in Milwaukee” 2021 Institute of the Cooperative Communicators Association in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Information at:

June 21-23, 2021

“Elevating Voices.” Virtual conference of the Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Life and Human Sciences (ACE)


Writing entry related to food earns 2020 Grand Prize 

We close this issue of ACDC News with the Grand Prize entry in the 2020 Bullwer-Lytton Fiction Contest. You may recall the contest as we monitor it regularly. It is a whimsical literary competition that challenges entrants to compose opening sentences to the worst of all possible novels. The English Department at San Jose State University has sponsored it since 1982.  This Grand Prize entry catches our eye because it involves communicating about food. Congratulations to winning author Lisa Kluber of San Francisco, California:


“Her Dear John missive flapped unambiguously in the windy breeze, hanging like a pizza menu on the doorknob of my mind.”

Best regards and wishes

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 valued international collection. We welcome them in hard copy (sent to Ag Comm Documentation Center, Room 510, 1101 S. Goodwin Avenue, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL 61801) – or in electronic format sent to