ACDC News – Issue 00-18

“So I went to rodeos and learned photography by myself.”

A recent article in Western Horseman magazine describes how respected photographer Dan Hubbell developed his skills photographing rodeo athletes. He explains how he got started as a professional and offers advice about this specialized type of livestock photography.

Reference: Use a title search (“Dan Hubbell, the shootist”) or author search (Smith) for the full citation.

Bucking trends in the publishing business.

One of the most innovative, pioneering efforts in rural publishing came into view during August when Wall Street Journal newspaper featured the Reiman Publications of Greendale, Wisconsin. A front-page article by Paulette Thomas describes how founder Roy Reiman and his associates have bucked major publishing trends in:

  • Publishing magazines that contain no advertising.
  • Getting most of their editorial content from readers.
  • Focusing on the “underserved market that is older, rural America.”
  • Building a “family” feel that permeates the Reiman magazines and extends into books, tours, cooking shows, mail order operations and other related enterprises.
  • Using no organizational charts.
  • Bypassing focus groups and other typical market research tools.

The article describes how the 11 Reiman magazines (including Country Woman, Farm and Ranch Living, Country, Taste of Home and others) now reach a combined circulation of roughly 16 million.

Reference: Use a title search (“Cash cows: a magazine publisher finds fertile ground for profits in farmland”) or author search (Thomas) for the full citation.

The room goes quiet.

Here’s the interesting introduction of a new report from Ohio on external communications for land-grant universities:

“If there is anything that academia does well, it is making something simple excruciatingly complex. It will try to make a ‘science’ out of it and study it to death. It will beget conferences and workshops and strategic plan after strategic plan. It will hire ‘outside experts’ at great expense. It will change department and college names and design new logos and themes. Buzzwords of the day, like ‘brand marketing,’ will flow freely off administrative tongues. And one will tire of questions like what is our product, who is our audience, what are their needs, how will we reach them? Why don’t more people know about us, what we do, and why we are needed? And then at the end of all this, usually with a strategic plan approved, the biggest, most important question of all surfaces: How are we going to pay for this? The room goes quiet.”

A Project Reinvent Communications and Marketing Vision-Challenge Team at Ohio State University produced this 16-page report, including 30 recommendations for the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.

Reference: Use a title search (“Marketing the land-grant university”) for the full citation.

Farmers as early buyers by Internet.

“You can go back and track that farmers were one of the first to use the Sears catalog. They are displaying the exact same behavior with e-commerce because they see the value in being connected to the Internet.” That’s the perspective of the CEO of, an e-commerce hub for producers and buyers in agriculture. He notes that 44% of U.S. corn growers who raise 500 acres or more had Internet access by 1999, compared with 33% of total U.S. households.

Reference: Use a title search (“Enhancing profitability through the Internet”) or author search (Todd) for the full citation.

Monitoring public knowledge and views.

Here is a research report that we added recently about how communicators “listen” to various publics for agriculture-related information. It discusses implications for communications strategy.

Marshall H. Breeze, “Knowledge and opinion of residents of Dade and Broward Counties, Florida, regarding citrus canker and the Citrus Canker Eradication Program of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.” June 2000. 35 pp.

Reference: This report is available in electronic form from the Documentation Center. Let us know ( if you would like to receive it.

Professional meetings approaching.

Following are some conferences, workshops and other kinds of professional improvement events for agricultural communicators:

October 26-27, 2000
“Newsgathering” seminar for media relations staff and news writers from U.S. land-grant universities. Sponsored by the International Association of Agricultural Communicators in Education (ACE) at the Ramada Plaza Hotel O’Hare, Chicago, Illinois.

October 27, 2000 communications and marketing in the digital age.” Seminar featuring the latest in the growing field of agricultural communications technology. Organized by the Ag and Environmental Communications Alumni Group, University of Illinois, for students, faculty, alumni and other professionals. Takes place on the University of Illinois campus, Urbana.

November 8-12, 2000
“Enduring change, embracing opportunities @2000.” Annual meeting of the National Association of Farm Broadcasters (NAFB) at the Westin Crown Center Hotel, Kansas City, Missouri.

Adding a classic book.

We are grateful to co-editor Wayne Swegle for adding to the ACDC collection a copy of Farm magazines, milestones and memories. This 145-page book (1996) was a 75th anniversary project of the American Agricultural Editors’ Association. It features the development of AAEA, traces the impact of farm magazines in American agriculture, cites changes in farm publishing and highlights dozens of individual farm magazines.

Reference: Use an author search (Swegle or Harvey) or title search (above) for the full citation.

Best regards and good searching.

Please pass along your reactions, questions or ideas for ACDC — invite help in searching — and suggest (or send) agricultural communications documents that we might add to this collection. Thank you.

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