February News and Research from the ACDC– Issue 23-02

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How use of Internet improves mental health in rural areas

Internet use effectively improved the mental health of middle-aged and elderly people in rural China, according to findings of an analysis reported in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. Researchers Shishuai Fan and Yifan Yang used CHARLS panel data to examine this topic.

Findings indicated that reading news, watching videos and playing games online proved helpful. Chatting online and other Internet activities did not significantly improve mental health status.

You can read the article here.

“Water wars: …rural radio discourse on a river system in trouble”

We are adding to the ACDC collection a 2021 article in Environmental Communication about rural news coverage of changes in the health and politics of Australia’s largest river system (Murray-Darling) on the earth’s driest continent. Researchers “mapped the strategies and roles of “Country Hour” journalists and other social actors in legitimating the ‘productive use’ of the river system…”

This article is not available by open access. If you are affiliated with the University of Illinois, you can read the abstract and learn how to gain full-text access here. Or invite our help at acdc@library.illinois.edu.

On improving coverage of immigration

Drawing attention to real immigrant stories can go a long way when it comes to detracting from fear-mongering narratives. So suggested Allegra Hobbs in a 2022 issue of Nieman Reports from the Nieman Foundation for Journalism. “It’s time to ditch the question, ‘does this hurt Democrats or Republicans more?’”

You can read the article here.

How efforts to improve water quality influence urban-agricultural relationships

A 2021 article in Agriculture and Human Values revealed approaches to help diverse interests in water quality debates “move out of polarized positions to solve collective problems.” Authors examined relationships among farmers, other agricultural interests, urban residents, storm water managers, wastewater treatment personnel, government representatives, political coalitions and others.

You can read the article here.

Preserving deep history of a rural community

Thanks to Prof. Delmar Hatesohl for helping ACDC identify and preserve the 125-year history of another special rural U.S. community. Delmar is an emeritus faculty member in agricultural journalism, University of Missouri. He served as editor of this 114-page book published in 2002 (After 125 Years, Linn plans to Keep on Truckin’) and recently contributed a copy for the ACDC collection. It documents the history of Linn, a small rural community founded during 1877 in northeastern Kansas. It features a lively collection of photos and text introducing residents and activities across those first 125 years.

Check with ACDC staff members at acdc@library.illinois.edu if you wish to learn more about the book and how to gain access to it.

Unique new resources and ideas for research

We are most pleased to call your attention to some unique new resources and possibilities for agricultural journalism research. The University of Illinois Archives staff recently finished processing thousands of contributed documents featuring readership studies and opinion polls that involve three bellwether farm periodicals published by Farm Progress Companies. They included Prairie Farmer (serving Illinois and later Indiana), Wallaces Farmer (serving Iowa) and Wisconsin Agriculturist. We believe these materials hold excellent potential for those interested in conducting research for a class project, thesis, dissertation or professional understanding.

Donald R. Murphy, long-time editor of Wallaces Farmer, began to conduct readership studies among farm readers in Iowa during 1938. His findings across the years became the basis of a pioneering book, What Farmers Read and Like (1962). The recently contributed materials span 1952-2009. They can be used to update his analysis of content and advertising in these farm periodicals. A 14-page finding aid is available for online review.

You can review the collection content and detailed finding aid here. Also, check with ACDC associate Jim Evans (evansj@illinois.edu) if you have questions or would like to visit about

Communicator events approaching

Here are event plans you may find helpful, with contact information you can use for details. We welcome suggestions or revisions for this calendar.

April 19-23, 2023
32nd Annual Conference of the Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ) in Boise, Idaho. Information: https://conference.sej.org

April 25-27, 2023
Annual meeting of the Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA) in Portland, Maine. Information: https://www.toca.org/toca-annual-meeting

April 26-28, 2023
“Next2Now: Tap into the Future Today.” Conference of the National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA) in St. Louis, Missouri.
Information: https://www.nama.org/2023-agri-marketing-conference.html

April 26-29, 2023
Conference of the International Agricultural and Extension Education Association (IAEE) in Guelph, Ontario, Canada. Information: https://aiaee.org/2023conference

June 4-6, 2023
“Putting the Spotlight on Communications.” 2023 Institute of the Cooperative Communicators Association (CCA) in Portland, Maine.
Information: CCA Institute | Cooperative Communicators Association

June 11-13, 2023
Conference of the Association for Communication Excellence (ACE) in Ashville, North Carolina. Information: https://aceweb.org/2023conference

June 13-15, 2023
Annual meeting of the Agricultural Relations Council (ARC) in Des Moines, Iowa. Information: https://agrelationscouncil.org

The best sermons

We close this issue of ACDC News with another piece of Old Farmer’s Advice (with thanks to Paul Hixson):

The best sermons are lived, not preached.

Best regards and wishes

ACDC is a deep and open resource for you, so please feel free to invite our help as you search for information, local to global. You are welcomed 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, 510 ACES Library, 1101 S. Goodwin Avenue, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL 61801) – or in electronic format sent to acdc@library.illinois.edu