ACDC News – Issue 02-17

Twelve new ACE research papers.

Here are the titles of 12 research papers presented at the recent Agricultural Communicators in Education (ACE) conference in Savannah, Georgia:

Thanks to help from the Research Special Interest Group of ACE, we are pleased to help announce these useful research reports and make them available to you in full-text electronic format.

Examples of our scattered literature.

These ACE research reports offer a good example of the widely varied sources of literature relevant to agricultural communications. You will notice (in the reference sections) a considerable range of journals that the researchers used and cited. Here are a few examples from off the beaten path: Newspaper Research Journal, Risk Analysis, New Yorker, The Economist, Information Technology and People, International Journal of Management Science, Food Control, Current Anthropology.

Quick turnaround.

We try to respond quickly and helpfully to requests for documents that ACDC visitors identify through their online searching. One of our quickest responses occurred recently when a searcher needed information for a fast-approaching project deadline. She had scouted locally (and online) for print copies or other full texts of documents identified earlier through her ACDC searching. So she checked with us, gave us the titles and numbers of documents she needed and, within a day, had 12 documents (about 80 pages of information) in hand.

At such times we appreciate anew our policy of maintaining a documentation center rather than merely a citation database.

Users benefit through our access to documents that we add to the ACDC collection. All documents that online searchers identify are available here at the Center or elsewhere within the University of Illinois Library. This policy, one of our first and most basic, seems especial important because a large share of information about agriculture-related communicating is not available in full-text electronic form.

Dining out — pigging out. 

A healthy dining campaign may help improve beliefs and attitudes toward healthy menu choices, but it may not influence what diners order in restaurants. Findings of a study presented at the 2002 annual meeting of the American Agricultural Economics Association suggested: “While higher income, time pressured individuals recognize the importance of healthy dining, they are less likely to view healthy menu items as appealing.” Authors described their social marketing campaign and offered recommendations for health education efforts.

Reference: Use a title search (“Responses to a healthy dining campaign”) or author search (Acharya) for the full citation. The paper was posted on:

A call for “truth commission” food ads.

“Every commercial for food and drugs should be taxed — with the proceeds going to pay for ‘truth commission’ ads from independent researchers.” That proposal came early this year from Norman Solomon, writing in the Media Beat section of the Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) web site. His reason: “We’re besieged by advertising that tells us what to put in our mouths — but doesn’t tell us relevant information that we need to know.”

Reference: Use a title search (“A modest proposal”) or author search (Solomon) for the full citation. The commentary was posted on:

Another approach: food labels “named and shamed” as misleading.

An “Honest Food Labelling” campaign by the United Kingdom Consumers’ Association is highlighting 19 summer-season products considered to have misleading labels. A news report in PA News cited several examples, including a brand of crème fraiche that the marketer “claimed had 50% less fat, but still contained 15g. in every 100g.”

Reference: Use a title search (“Misleading labels”) or author search (Hiscott) for the full citation. The report was posted online at:

Farmers and fear appeals.

You probably have seen many research studies about the kinds of safety-related message appeals that influence farmers and others. Findings have been decidedly mixed. Here’s a recent farm safety study indicating that “.narrative-based messages and messages incorporating fear appeals are more favorably evaluated by farmers than messages that simply inform farmers or messages that rely on statistics.”

Reference: Use a title search (“Stories or statistics?”) or author search (Morgan) for the full citation.

One big gossiping family.

More than 20 years ago when Arthur C. Clarke looked at new communication technologies and the developing world he predicted: “Sometime during the next century, the human race will become one big gossiping family.” Are we on the trail?

Reference: Use a title search (“New communication technologies”) or author search (Clarke) for the full citation.

Professional activities approaching:

October 8-10, 2002
“Agriculture is Expanding.” 2002 Agribusiness Forum sponsored byNational Agri-Marketing Association in Kansas City, Missouri.Information:

October 17-19, 2002
45th Annual Meeting, National Market News Association inPhoenix, Arizona.Information:

November 3-5, 2002
“Marketing – find the right fit.” Marketing superworkshopsponsored by Agricultural Communicators in Educationin Fort Worth, Texas.Information:

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 unique collection. We welcome them in hard copy (sent to Ag Com Documentation Center, 69 Mumford Hall, 1301 W. Gregory Drive, Urbana, IL 61801) or electronic form (

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