ACDC News – Issue 00-02

Remembering Larry Tennyson.

Our thoughts are with the family of Larry Tennyson, recently retired South Dakota State University faculty member who died January 10 of a heart attack. He will be missed. Larry’s interests included preserving and sharing information about agricultural communications. He had, in fact, visited the Documentation Center last March to discuss progress and plans.

The Internet is an efficient, preferred response medium

According to a speaker at the recent Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow (ACT) workshop at the University of Illinois. Craig Pessman, business partner technical manager for IBM, offered data that compared the cost per lead from messages delivered by print, direct mail and the Internet.

ACDC reference: Use Title search (Communications & marketing in the e-life) to get the citation. Contact Center for a copy of the presentation.

Some interesting expressions in the GMO debate

“Although food labels are much more reliable and informative than they were at the beginning of the 20th century, modern day ‘snake oil’ claims will still be a problem in the 21stcentury.” Bruce Silverglade, Center for Science in the Public Interest (Title: Are food labels Y2K ready?)

“The quality of information provided by many of the most easily accessed (Internet) sites is poor.” E.S. Allen, J.M. Burke, M.E. Welch and L.H. Rieseberg, Indiana University.
(Title: How reliable is science information on the web?)

“Where does the university come down on biotechnology? Are we for it or against it?” Chris Sigurdson, Purdue University, and Tom Knecht, Mississippi State University.
(Title: The academy and biotechnology)

“The biotech companies danced into this minefield with all the grace of an elephant in jackboots.” Maria Margaronis, The Nation. (Title: As biotech ‘frankenfoods’ are stuffed down their throats, consumers rebel)

“Kinder, gentler” communications with animals

(Article by John Hiscock in the National Post, Canada). Author suggests that “kinder, gentler cattlemen are heading for a showdown with traditional cowboys over the use of ‘holistic’ herding.” This story explained that “sensitivity is now the watchword on the range. No longer are the cowpokes allowed to shout “git along” in case they hurt the animals’ feelings. Instead, they must speak softly, talk nicely and give them space and respect.”

Some public relations lessons the tobacco industry has learned.

Jay Poole, vice president for agricultural relations, Philip Morris Management Corporation, offered these lessons at the AAEA convention in July 1999:

  • Lesson 1 Opponents aren’t enemies.
  • Lesson 2 Don’t view yourself as a victim
  • Lesson 3 Be careful where you choose to make your stand.
  • Lesson 4 Never stonewall. Issues don’t go away if you ignore them.
  • Lesson 5 Never try giving anybody the silent treatment.
  • Lesson 6 Whenever possible, be first with an issue.
  • Lesson 7 Work to understand the groups and individuals who are making public opinion.
  • Lesson 8 Look for allies.

“The real question,” he says, “is whether we can broaden our own vision. Those of us who communicate for a living pride ourselves on our ability to see an issue from many perspectives, to be objective and non-judgmental. But when we’re honest with ourselves, we discover that each of us has a position we gravitate toward, a perspective we tend to think of as the ‘right’ one.”

Title: Public relations lessons from the tobacco industry.

A new edition of The Communicator’s Handbook is available.

This Fourth Edition, written by members of Agricultural Communicators in Education (ACE), covers topics such as: writing, photography, graphic design, video and radio production, presentation visuals, exhibits, media relations, media campaigns, crisis management, instructional design for distance learning, the Internet, organizational marketing. It is available as a book or as a three-hole punched, shrink-wrapped package suitable for placing in a notebook. Information:

Professional meetings approaching.

Here are the approaching meetings of several U.S. professional agricultural communicator organizations:

January 30-February 2, 2000
Agricultural Communications Section, annual meeting of the Southern Association of Agricultural Scientists. Site: Lexington, Kentucky. Information:

February 10-11, 2000
Roads to the future.” Workshop offered by the Cooperative Communicators Association (CCA) for communications and member relations professionals involved in cooperative communications within the Midwest Region. Site: DoubleTree Club Hotel Riverport, St. Louis, Missouri.

March 7-9, 2000
Back to the future.” Annual meeting and professional development conference of Agricultural Relations Council (ARC) in Orlando, Florida.

April 12-14, 2000
“All that jazz.” National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA) conference and trade show. Site: Kansas City, Missouri. Information:

Best regards and good searching.

Please let us know if we can help you find information and/or if you can suggest documents that we might add to this collection.

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