ACDC News – Issue 00-05

What do daily newspaper editors and reporters want from agricultural news sources these days?

They want ready access to “unbiased, non-judgmental, accurate analysis and interpretation of complex issues.” These desires emerged in the research completed recently by Sharon B. Stringer at Pennsylvania State University. Her doctoral dissertation, “An evaluation of sources of agricultural news,” (December 1999) involved a survey among 76 editors and reporters in Pennsylvania.

“Editors and reporters did not agree on the importance of their gatekeeping tasks relative to agricultural news sources. However, they did agree that agricultural news sources are important in helping them to inform the public as quickly as possible, provide problem analysis and interpretation of complex issues, and ensure that all sides of a story are presented.”

Details: Search on author (Stringer) or title (above) for the full citation. The text is available online at:

Consumers and editors: differing views about the importance of food safety. 

Asignificant gap” exists in the views held by U.S. consumers and newspaper editors regarding the importance of food safety. The CMF&Z 1999 Food Safety Study revealed that 83 percent of a probability sample of consumers rated food safety as “very important,” compared with 53 percent of the newspaper food editors interviewed. In the eyes of consumers, food safety is one of the most important issues associated with personal and environmental safety. It ranks high, along with drinking water safety (86 percent), crime prevention (83 percent) and health and nutrition (81 percent).

This CMF&Z study, conducted annually since 1993, also:

  • Examines the public’s perceptions of media credibility on food safety issues.
  • Explores consumer and editor attitudes toward the role and credibility of interest groups.
  • Assesses how well various groups involved in the food chain do in communicating with the media and managing issues of public concern.

Details: Search by author (CMF&Z) to get the full citation and document number. Contact us about availability of the report, and of previous ones in the series.

Other lively views in the GMO “dialogue.”

“Look, if you want us to eat this stuff it’s not enough to tell us it won’t kill us!” (from a biotech critic)

“Maybe the pro-biotechnology side needs not more facts, but more passion.” (from a Canadian seed marketer)

“It is hardly surprising that so many researchers fail to see that no scientific issue is only a scientific issue.” (from a writer in an England newspaper)

How to locate documents about biotech-related communications

In the ACDC collection. As you know, the wording keeps changing in this dynamic subject area: genetic engineering, biotechnology, GMO, GIO, GE, etc. So when you search the ACDC collection online you might search on several subject terms. Terms such as “biotechnology” and “genetic engineering” may produce the best response for you. We are not entering “GMO,” “GIO” or “GE” as subject terms, although our search system identifies them when they appear in the titles of documents.

At a broader level, you might also use subject terms such as “risk communication” and “food safety” to identify documents related to the communications aspects of biotechnology.

New IFAJ web site.

The web site of the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists can be reached at a new URL:

Ah, the election rhetoric

(as reported by Farmer’s Digest). The candidate, known for his anti-agricultural stand, flashed a bright smile at the audience in a packed hall.

I’m truly delighted to see this dense crowd gathered tonight to support my candidacy,” he enthused.

Don’t be too delighted,” shouted one of the grim-faced producers. “We aren’t thatdense.”

Professional meetings approaching.

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

May 10-11, 2000
“Communicating science: taking the risk.” A super workshop on risk communication for scientists, communicators, and administrators. Sponsored by Agricultural Communicators in Education (ACE) and Extension Service (CSREES) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

May 18-20, 2000
“T2K.” Texas 2000, the American Horse Publications annual meeting and seminar in Irving, Texas. The event will also feature a 30th-anniversary celebration.

May 21-24, 2000
“Fast chips and hot salsa.” National Extension Technology Conference (NETC) in College Station, Texas.

June 1-4, 2000
West Region meeting of the National Association of Farm Broadcasters in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Information: Don Wick at

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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