ACDC News – Issue 01-22

U.S. agricultural writers report increasing advertiser pressure.

Findings of a 10-year comparison suggest that agricultural writers are facing increasing pressure, in terms of advertiser influence on editorial matter. An article in the Journal of Applied Communications reports on research examining trends in power relationships among agricultural advertisers, periodicals and producer readers. Researchers Steve Banning and Jim Evans analyzed the current perceptions of American Agricultural Editors’ Association (AAEA) members. They also used results of an identical study a decade earlier as the basis for a 10-year comparison. Findings suggested that advertisers are becoming more aggressive in requesting editorial space and that writers see agricultural publications increasingly catering to advertisers.

Reference: Use a title search (“Fading voices”) or author search (Banning) for the full citation.

” Will agriculture’s Woodward and Bernstein please stand up?” 

The question heads a recent article in the newsletter of North American Agricultural Journalists. Author Mike Warner, a North Dakota farmer who has had many dealings with journalists, challenged readers:

“You are the journalists who cover this immense, great, absolutely fascinating mega-industry called ‘U.S. and World Agriculture.’ It is an industry of such profound importance, scope and magnitude that it makes Bill Gates and his little company, Microsoft, like the corner drug store. It is the stuff of which governments lock horns and argue to stalemates. Food remains a major piece in the great political chess game of the world, as it always has and probably always will. The ability to feed people drives not just individual economies, but is arguably the lynch pin of the entire world economy.”

“World agriculture is filled with all the basic elements of great investigative journalism.”

Warner urged NAAJ members: “So if you have been doing this, I challenge you to do more. If you haven’t, I say ‘Get into the game’.” He also offered questions that he thinks need to be answered through good journalism.

Reference: Use a title search (above) or author search (Warner) for the full citation. The URL for online access is:

Don’t focus on stopping a practice or urging change.

That is the advice given by researchers who studied how to communicate with farmers about skin cancer. Reporting in Human Communication Research, the researchers recommended what they described as the behavior adaptation model. That is, they said, “acknowledge the practice and advise one that ‘when you do that, also do this.'”

Reference: Use a title search (“Communicating to farmers”) or author search (Parrott) for the full citation.

Ahh, the rural life: less Type A tendency?

A research report that we entered recently from Norway was “supportive of the view that people living in the countryside express less of the Type A tendencies than do those living in urban settings.” Researchers reporting in Psychological Reports attended to the competitive, hard driving component of Type A behavior that has been implicated in the development of coronary heart disease. They examined the prevalence of such behavior in a rural and urban sample of Norwegian men.

Reference: Use a title search (“Type A/B behavior pattern”) or author title (Mellam) for the full citation.

“The danger of the dance.”

We may end up at the end of this process as nice, brown white people – just part of the melting pot,” says a former president of the Dene Nation in an article about problems in bringing radio and television to the Canadian North. This article explores the issue of cultural dominance as broadcasts from the U.S. reach into other cultures.

Reference: Use a title search (“Joining the global village”) or author search (Denton) for the full citation. For additional information about this general subject, use subject searches on terms such as “cultural dominance” or “intercultural communication.”

Farmers as environmentalists. 

Results of a study reported recently in Human Organization identify areas of similarity in viewpoints of farmers and environmental professionals. Researchers Michael Paolisso and R.S. Maloney conducted an anthropological study of environment and pollution on Maryland’s lower Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay. They observed that a “dominant perception” of area farmers as being polluters “contrasts sharply with how they perceive themselves – as stewards of the land.” Even so, one Eastern Shore farmer commented, “.all the gun has to do is be smoking and you’re guilty.”

Reference: Use a title search (“Recognizing farmer environmentalism”) or author search (Paolisso) for the full citation.

Wake-up call to journalists (and journalism educators) 

In Issue 01-17 we mentioned a graduate thesis by Thomas F. Pawlick examining agricultural reporting and agricultural journalism training in three global regions: North America, the former Soviet Bloc and Africa. Pawlik’s research led him to conclude that current issues involving food and agriculture are “not only newsworthy, but crucial to the future of the human species itself.” Also, “.both farm coverage and the resources available for training farm journalists are inadequate – in some cases, grossly inadequate.” Well, that research report has come off the press as a new book: Thomas F. Pawlick, The invisible farm: the worldwide decline of farm news and agricultural journalism training. Burnham Inc., Publishers, 222 N. Canal Street, Chicago, Illinois 60606. 2001. 202 pages. $23.95 paper.

New edition of Writing for Agriculture 

The popular textbook by Claron Burnett and Mark Tucker is now available in a second edition, published by Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company, 4050 Westmark Drive, Dubuque, Iowa 52002. 2001. 243 pages. The book (formatted for use in a ringbinder) was planned for writing classes in colleges of agriculture. Chapters feature gathering, writing and editing information for news stories, reports, business letters, broadcast media and personal columns. Other chapters focus on illustrating the news and carrying out public relations efforts. Each chapter includes discussion topics, assignments and exercises. And all examples and assignments involve agricultural and environmental subjects.

A new appendix is designed to help writers address contemporary agricultural issues in balanced and objective ways. A four-dimension “ecological paradigm” encourages agricultural writers to consider whether solutions or recommendations being reported:

  • Maintain production efficiency
  • Are economically viable
  • Are environmentally compatible
  • Are socially responsible

New ACDC associate. 

Welcome to Yiqi Zhou who joined the Documentation Center team in mid-November as graduate research assistant. A degree candidate in the School of Library and Information Science, Yiqi brings to ACDC a variety of valuable skills and experiences. She majored in arts in literature and linguistics at Hunan University, China, earning honors for scholastic excellence. Her experiences include teaching, news translating and editing, cataloging, database management, web design and online searching. She looks forward to helping the Center grow and serve.

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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