ACDC News – Issue 01-17

How Americans view the animal rights movement.

Results of Gallup’s Earth Day 2000 poll showed that 72% of Americans agreed somewhat or strongly with the goals of the animal rights movement. This level of agreement compared with other highly ranked social movements as follows: civil rights (86%), women’s rights (85%), environment (83%) and consumer rights (82%).

Reference: Use a title search (“Americans have positive image”) or author search (Dunlap) for the full citation, including URL for online access.

Advice to marketers: visit “the outer edges of society today.”

In an interview added this month to ACDC, futurist Lee Shupp said: “If you really want to know what’s next in consumer behavior, don’t spend time watching mainstream consumers. . The best way to understand what most consumers will be buying tomorrow is to visit the outer edges of society today.” As an example, he said he thinks the animal rights movement will transfer into the mainstream – through the kinds of foods eaten and the treatment given to pets and livestock.

Reference: Use a title search (“Animal kingdom”) for the full citation, including URL for online access.

Information sources of Australian wheat producers.

Trade magazines were mentioned most often (37%) as non-personal information sources for producers, according to the Kleffmann Australia 2000 Broadacre Study. These results, reported recently in Agri-Marketing magazine, showed fewer mentions of sources such as department of agriculture publications, field days, brochures, trade literature and mailings.

Reference: Use a title search (“Marketing Australian wheat”) for the full citation.

Internet – a competitor for farm broadcasting?

“No,” says Steve Pearson, executive director of the National Association of Farm Broadcasters, “In fact, broadcast and Internet make a strong team.” His commentary in the April issue of NAFB Chats urged farm broadcasters to take advantage of the Internet and make it work to their advantage.

Reference: Use a title search (“The future of farm broadcasting”) or author search (Pearson) for the full citation, including URL for online access.

Serious gaps in media coverage of agriculture.

Recently we added an interesting master’s thesis about the state of agricultural reporting in three global regions: North America, the former Soviet Bloc and Africa. Thomas F. Pawlick prepared the thesis for his Master of Journalism degree at Carleton University, Ontario, Canada. Results of his analysis suggested that, while agriculture is crucial to human wellbeing, farm coverage is “inadequate – in some cases, grossly inadequate.”

Agricultural journalism training -another blind spot.

Pawlick also examined resources available for training farm journalists in the three global regions. He found a “lack of available training for journalists interested in covering the farm beat, as well as.the absence in general journalism education of efforts to alert students to the importance of agriculture to allreaders.”

Reference: Use a title search (“The invisible farm”) or author search (Pawlick) for the full citation.

And a similar gap seen in India.

“There are no training facilities in farm journalism

except ill-planned, understaffed graduate and post-graduate courses at a few agricultural universities,” reported R. D. Sharma in 1994 after his review of agricultural journalism in India. According to his analysis, “Out of the 129 editors of farm-journals surveyed only 13 (10.1 per cent) had training in journalism. 62 per cent of the editors in government-owned farm periodicals had no rural background.”

Reference: Use a title search (“Agricultural journalism for rural development”) or author search (Sharma) for the full citation.

Small also is necessary.

A 1986 document that we added this month speaks to our current era when consolidation and bigness are powerful themes for firms and organizations around the world. At a development communication seminar, Sean Cooney reviewed three models of development:

  • “Big” theory of economic development and social progress
  • “Small” theory of the small, largely self sufficient local economy
  • “Multiple” theory of synthesis between the Big and Small economies

“We need to reconcile the big and small and not have them in conflict with each other,” Cooney argued, so the scope of development can broaden. He identified two special features of communication in the Multiple Economy. (1) It will be horizontal as well as vertical. (2) It will take place from south to north as well as north to south.

Reference: Use a title search (“Small is necessary”) or author search (Cooney) for the full citation.

Agricultural biotechnology: public attitudes in Mexico and the Philippines.

We hear regularly about how the European or U.S. publics view agricultural biotechnology. A recent research report from the Center for International Development, Harvard University, helps reveal public attitudes in other countries that “often find themselves in an uncomfortable position in the middle.”

Survey findings in Mexico and the Philippines indicated public respect for the potential of biotechnology to address problems in agriculture, nutrition and the environment. Findings also showed concern “about corporate control of the technology, and the potential impact of such crops on their countries’ rich biological diversity.” Furthermore, “the surveys indicated that existing expectations and concerns.differ significantly from those expressed in the transatlantic debate.” And perceptions differed between these two countries.

Reference: Use a title search (“Public attitudes towards agricultural biotechnology”) or author search (Aerni) for the full citation, including URL for online access.

Digital super-trails to rural areas?

A new report from Net Action describes some of the alternative Internet access technologies that might serve rural areas of the U.S. Examples: spread spectrum technology, digital radios, low earth orbit (LEO) satellites, stratospheric telecommunications services. Will Internet access technologies really “trickle down” to all Americans who want them? Not by the network economy itself, according to this report – which identifies some public incentives that might be helpful.

Reference: Use a title search (“Will technology trickle down to rural America?”) or author search (Manohar) for the full citation, including URL for online access.

“Let go” in e-communications planning. “Let the process unfold.” 

A recently added document offers that advice to corporate public relations professionals. Ross S. Irvine of ePublic Relations Ltd. describes how social activists use e-mail, Internet and other electronic resources to create special interest networks involving biotechnology and other topics.

“Broad distribution of both the information and the tools means that no one can control the communications process,” Irvine says. “The recipients are free to undertake any communications activity at any time. Once this uncontrollable communications process has been unleashed, it cannot be corralled. While it is uncontrollable, and unpredictable, it has been effective for social activists.”

Reference: Use a title search (“Information, training and trust”) or author search (Irvine) for the full citation, including URL for online access.

And a reminder about cultural factors.

“Cultural baggage is as relevant in cyberspace as it is on paper and ink,” notes F. Cutitta, a global communications professional writing in Open communications in the 21st Century. “The age-old question of ‘How do I keep global advertising interesting without offending anyone?’ does not go away.” (p. 158)

Professional activities approaching:

October 8-10, 2001
“Agribusiness Forum” in Washington, D.C. Senior agribusiness management, association, government and academia representatives “engaging in a cross-industry dialogue on issues facing our industry.” Communications aspects include discussion of media coverage and activist efforts.

Best regards and good searching.

Please pass along your reactions, questions and ideas for ACDC. Feel free to invite our help as you search for information. And please suggest (or send) agricultural communications documents that we might add to this collection. We welcome them in hard copy (sent to Ag Com Documentation Center, 69 Mumford Hall, University of Illinois, 1301 W. Gregory Drive, Urbana, IL 61801) or electronic form ( Thank you.

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