ACDC News – Issue 01-19

Small Town U.S.A. – a destination of choice.

“Sixty-two percent of U.S. adults, or 87 million, have taken a trip to a small town or village within the past three years,” according to the Travel Industry Association of America. This recent report in American Demographicsmagazine described why adults visit rural America and how they vary in age.

Reference: Use a title search (“The Mayberry effect”) or author search (Gallop-Goodman) for the full citation, including URL for online access.

Media pitfalls and shortfalls.

Following are several recent books that explore challenges facing mass media in communicating about rural topics. Use author or title searches in the ACDC collection to get full citations.

  • David Murray, Joel Schwartz and S. Robert Lichter, It ain’t necessarily so: how media make and unmake the scientific picture of reality. 2001. Features critical analysis and case reports of media coverage of selected public issues, including meat safety and irradiation.
  • Michael Meadows, Voices in the wilderness: images of aboriginal people in the Australian media. 2001. Touches on indigenous knowledge, media bias and other information issues.
  • Kirk Johnson, Media and social change in rural India. 2000. Traces effects of television in the context of rural community life and complex social structures.

“Working together, creating knowledge.” 

That is the title of a recently published study sponsored by the American Council on Education and the National Alliance of Business. It “is intended to help clarify the issues involved with such collaborations and to provide thoughtful, balanced, and useful guidance that will increase the number and quality of research collaborations.”

Reference: Use a title search (“Report examines challenges facing research collaborations”) for the full citation of a news release, including URL for online access to the release and more information about the full report.

Research bias and conflicts of interest: concerns on the flip side.

An analysis reported in the August issue of Nature Biotechnology summarizes concerns about research bias and conflicts of interest as industry-supported research is “skyrocketing.”

Reference: Use a title search (“Industry-academia study lacking, say critics”) or author search (Niiler) for the full citation, including URL for online access.

“Under siege in the ivory tower”

Is the title of a Canadian newspaper article that we added recently about university-industry relations with regard to agricultural research. This article explored what critics call “the Trojan-horse effect of corporate largesse.” It cited, as an example, recent experiences and controversy at a Canadian university about the effects of financial support for biotechnology research.

Reference: Use a title search (above) or author search (Mcilroy) for the full citation, including URL for online access.

When do new electronic technologies work best in grassroots communicating?

Parallel responses to that question come from two recent books added to the ACDC collection.

  1. “Telecommunications-based development is most successful when it builds on existing organization, experience, expertise, and leadership.”

Reference: Page 290 in Peter F. Korsching, Patricia C. Hipple and Eric A. Abbott (eds.), Having all the right connections: telecommunications and rural viability. 2000. Use a title or author search.

  1. “If an organization, or the organizations within a community, are not already functioning with participatory management styles, there may be little value in introducing a communication tool that can optimize communication flow. This is an important factor for facilitators of Internet initiatives to understand.”

Reference: Pages 263-264 in Shirley A. White (ed.), The art of facilitating participation: releasing the power of grassroots communication. 1999. Use a title or author search.

“Centuries behind.”

This observation caught our eye in a newly added book chapter published nearly 20 years ago. In it, Jose A. Mayobre Machado commented on the big gap between information technology and the uses of it for human communication:

“Communication science is already in the space age as regards technology, and the instruments placed at our disposal are potentially limitless in their use. But conceptually and philosophically, communication sciences are centuries behind.”

Your thoughts?

Reference: Use a title search (“Is development news?”) or author search (Machado) for the full citation.

Financial return from an agricultural information service.

Users of FarmLine, an agricultural information and referral service in Australia, “make more informed decisions and benefit by an increase in knowledge.” Thirteen percent of surveyed farmer users indicated that their business gained between $500 and $1,000 from the service and 27% indicated between a $1 and $500 gain. Eighty-five percent of all inquirers surveyed indicated they were able to make more informed business decisions as a result of receiving information from the service.

Reference: Use a title search (“Developing an information and referral service”) or author search (MacKenzie) for the full citation, including URL for online access.

How U.S. farm journals covered social issues during the 1920s.

Here’s a research report of possible interest to those who track the editorial content of rural media. Frank J. Morgan, Jr., a doctoral candidate at New York University, analyzed the treatment of 10 social problems by six leading rural magazines of that period: Country Gentleman, Farm Journal, Farm and Fireside, Farm Life, Farmer’s Wife and Successful Farming.

The author concluded: “This study gives evidence that the farm journals were decidedly more than mere trade journals for farmers.”

Reference: Use a title search (“Treatment of social problems”) or author search (Morgan) for the full citation.

Early agricultural writing (5,000 BC).

“With the master of the field, our friend, we triumph,
may he bestow upon his cattle, horse, nourishment,
for by such (gifts) he makes us happy.”

According to a report by R. D. Sharma, “These are hymns quoted from the most ancient scripture of India called the ‘Rigveda’ (5,000 BC). These are examples of earliest writings on agriculture, which was regarded as a holy and dignified occupation.”

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

Professional activities approaching:

November 14-18, 2001
“Every day is game day: there is NO off season.” Annual convention of the National Association of Farm Broadcasters at Westin Crown Center, Kansas City, Missouri.

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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