ACDC News – Issue 02-24

Season’s greetings as we close out 2002.

All of us in the Agricultural Communications Documentation Center send you our holiday greetings. This has been an active, progressive year for the Center as we passed the 20,000-document mark and took other steps forward. More are ahead. Thanks to you for your interest, words of encouragement, suggestions and support.

Champagne campaign on a beer budget.

That’s the title of a recent summary of one presentation at the Cooperative Communicators Association meeting earlier this year. The account appeared in CCA News. Here are several of the tips that Roberta MacDonald of Cabot Creamery of Vermont offered to communicators about how to “make a modest marketing budget look like a million:”

  • Do not spend money on public relations or advertising without research
  • Take your goods or services to where “like” people are
  • Put the faces and farms of members on center stage
  • If there isn’t a contest in your field, make one up and win it

Reference: Use a title search (above) or author search (Ditsch) for the full citation.

“Maybe an increase in local programming is in order,”

Wrote Ken Root, executive director of the National Association of Farm Broadcasters, in a recent issue of NAFB Chats. He made this observation in the context of the trend toward station mergers, satellite feeds, computer automation and packaged programming. “Technology has allowed multiple stations to be operated with a small staff and the end product sounds great, but many stations have lost their unique local appeal.” He suggested ways in which farm broadcasters can remain “live and local.”

Reference: Use a title search (“Live and local”) or author search (Root) for the full citation.

His suggestion reminds us of a type of news coverage

Called “basic shoe-leather interactive” – not necessarily “online interactive.”

How farm broadcasters are adjusting to changes.

We in the Center watch for information about how professional agricultural communicators are adapting to change. Here are a few recent examples that involve adjustments by farm broadcasters. You can identify the following documents by title searches or author searches on the ACDC “Real Search” page.

  • A change in the airwaves” by Daniel J. Grant
  • Some farm broadcasters switching tune to survive” by Daniel J. Grant
  • East” by Rita Frazer
  • Stations cut farm news to consolidate” by Charlyn Fargo
  • The medium affects the message” by Robynne M. Anderson
  • Farm broadcasting beyond the studio”

You can identify other documents about trends in farm broadcasting

By conducting subject searches and cross-searches on the ACDC “Real Search” page, using terms such as:

Rural broadcasting
Trends “rural broadcasting”
Trends radio
Trends television

Let us know when you see documents about this subject that are not in the ACDC collection now.

Media partnering: an example of effective coverage.

In recent issues of ACDC News we have cited samples of weak or shoddy media coverage of agriculture-related matters. We also note, with pleasure, an example of innovative, effective coverage. A report from the Pew Center for Civic Journalism described how four Idaho newspapers and television stations recently cooperated to shed light on the state’s ailing rural areas. The partner media polled rural residents and dug into documents that showed how rural resources were used. Resulting news reports “prompted two public-policy organizations to generate a…conference and a white paper that proposed steps for the state legislature to shore up rural Idaho.” Human stories had the most impact, according to one of the editors involved.

Reference: Use a title search (“Idaho partners”) or author search (Ford) for the full citation. The report was posted online at:

Something missing in our talk about the future of communications.

 (Like the food in army mess halls.) “In all our talk about the future of communications, content is often the thing that is not discussed,” observed Theodore Peterson in a 1966 speech to the Wyoming Press Association. “We tend to focus on technology, not on what the technology is to be used for. The value of the technological apparatus depends ultimately on the value of the content it carries. The army mess halls that I used to know had the finest stoves and mixers and steam tables in the world; alas, they seemed incapable of turning out edible food.”

Another question for ag journalism history buffs.

What was the first specialty periodical devoted to some branch of agriculture?
Please forward your reply to ACDC News at by January 30.

Shopping in town – not what it used to be.

Is holiday shopping on your mind these days? Quite a hassle? Well, it seems that shopping was getting complicated long before our time. We close this issue of ACDC News by recalling a poem that appeared in Agricultural Advertising nearly 100 years ago:

“Used to drive up to the store,
Leave the team out by the door,
Trade our truck for calico,
Tea an’ sech; and off we’d go.
Goin’ shoppin’, ‘pears to me,
Isn’t what it used to be.
Nowadays ye’re at a loss
To pick out the real boss.
They don’t stop to tell you jokes.
Never saw sech dressed-up folks.
An’ the goods that they display
Fairly takes your breath away.

Everything’s trimmed up so grand –
Looks to me like fairyland.
An’ the goods you kin procure –
Garden tools and literatoor,
Furniture with spindle legs,
Turkish rugs an’ fresh-laid eggs.
Everywhere you cast your eye
There is things you’d like to buy,
All tired out when night arrives,
Couldn’t stop to save our lives.
With the mornin’s earliest ray
All on hand for bargain day.
Goin’ shoppin’! Gracious me!
“Tain’t what it used to be.”

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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