How could a rural town of 558 residents and limited resources move aggressively into the world of information technology?
A recent AOL Rural Telecommunications Award recognized an imaginative effort in Maddock, North Dakota USA. You can see details in a case study reported in Information and communication technologies and rural development. This study described how the community caught a vision, assembled resources and created the Maddock Business and Technology Center.
A new building provided a centerpiece for action. Within it, the Center provides business services, public computer access, computer training and various computer-assisted courses. The Center even provides childcare services for young parents. It nurtures new or fledgling small businesses by providing “a package of training, affordable space, shared administrative and office services and equipment along with management assistance services.”
Reference: On the ACDC “Real Search” page, use a title search (Information and communication technologies) for the full citation.
Federal legislators view rural America today.
We have added to the ACDC collection an interesting 2002 research report, Perceptions of rural America: Congressional perspectives. The reported survey, funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, involved a bi-partisan sample of 26 members of Congress representing a diverse range of states. Through personal interviews, legislators expressed their views about topics such as:
- The importance of rural America to the nation
- Whether rural areas represent something special in American society
- Problems facing rural America
- The state of rural policy (the farm bill)
- Preserving the rural environment
- Who speaks for rural America
- The future of rural policy making
Communications emerged as a high-priority factor in the minds of these legislators. They agreed, for example, that expanding access to broadband in rural areas should a major goal in their legislative efforts.
Reference: Use a title search (Perceptions of rural America) for the full citation. The report was posted on: www.wkkf.org/Pubs/FoodRur/Pub3699.pdf
Digital gap narrowing for rural America?
The gap between households in rural areas and households nationwide that access the Internet has narrowed dramatically, according to an August 2000 study by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.
“Rural households are much closer to the nationwide Internet penetration rate of 41.5%. In rural areas this year, 38.9% of the households had Internet access, a 75% increase from 22.2% in December 1998.”
Reference: Use a title search (Toward digital inclusion) for the full citation. The study was posted online at: www.ntia.doc.gov/ntiahome/digitaldivide/execsumfttn00.htm
Some recent inquires directed our way.
Here are the topics involved in some of the requests that have come to the Center recently:
- Attitude, perception and behavior surveys
- Lists of free-lance agricultural writers
- Access to samples of recorded farm radio programming
- Current U.S. degree programs in agricultural journalism and agricultural communications
- Role and effectiveness of journalism in support of agricultural and rural development
- Sources of agricultural stock photos
- Academic base for agricultural communications
- Skills needed by farm broadcasters
And, yes, the inquiries sometimes fall outside of our help-zone. For example, we were not able to provide a copy of the following requested journal article: “DNA extraction method for PCR in mycorrhizal fungi.” A referral was all we could provide.
Back to the country.
Pushed or pulled? A recently published study examined the motivations of Americans involved in migration to farms during the Great Depression of the 1930s. Researcher Robert Boyd found that the rate of migration was greatest in places where the search for work by the unemployed was most intense and long-term. So he concluded: “The ‘push’ of economic dislocation was a more significant factor in the migration than was the ‘pull’ of the expected payoff to the movement.”
Reference: Use a title search (Migration of despair) or author search (Boyd) for the full citation.
“A class in agricultural journalism for girls has been established in the College of Commerce and Journalism of the Ohio State University.”
Would you believe this class was offered in 1918? According to a news report in Agricultural Advertising magazine, the class was intended to “help girls taking courses in home economics to learn how to prepare material for local and farm papers.”
Reference: Use a title search (“Class in agricultural journalism”) for the full citation.
Covering all sides of an issue.
U.S. farm broadcasters are taking a fresh look at their role in covering agricultural issues. A recent issue of NAFB Chats, newsletter of the National Association of Farm Broadcasters, offered perspectives from three broadcasters. Among the comments:
- “I think it’s a lot easier now to get both sides of the story.”
- “I believe it’s good for any industry…to have two sides presented.”
- “There’s a fine line between advocacy and objectivity. For many, many years, farm broadcasters have been viewed as advocates for agriculture and that’s still an important role. But in this day and age, we have to be journalists as well and that means we have to be objective and cover both sides of the story. That’s the kind of standard I want to set as a journalist.”
- “Even though we have to ask those tough questions, they look forward to having us come back.”
Reference: Use a title search (Broadcasters say diversity) or author search (Crebs) for the full citation.
Rural news from the classifieds.
“Just received a fine lot of live Ostend rabbits. Persons purchasing the same will be skinned and cleaned while they wait.”
“Wanted – a young man to take care of a pair of mules of a Christian disposition.”
“No person having once tried one of these coffins will ever use any other.”
Professional activities approaching
May 13-14, 2003
Bridging the “digital divide.” Workshop focusing on Cooperative Extension System programs that help community leaders and residents move into the information age. Sponsored by the Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development and hosted at Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania. Information: www.cas.nercrd.psu.edu/bdd.htm
June 14-17, 2003
Cool bytes: jazz nights.” Annual meeting of the International Associationof Agricultural Communicators in Education (ACE), National Extension Technology Conference (NETC) and National Agricultural Communicators Communicators of Tomorrow (ACT) in Kansas City, Missouri.
June 18-21, 2003
Summer meeting of the National Association of Farm Broadcasters (NAFB) In Louisville, Kentucky.
Information: http://www.nafb.com or Jeanette Merritt at 317-684-4173
June 18-22, 2003
“Farming under the public eye.” Meeting of the International Federation ofAgricultural Journalists (IFAJ) at the Agricultural University of Wageningen, The Netherlands.
June 21-24, 2003
50 years: raising the standards of cooperative communication.50th Annual Institute of the Cooperative Communicators Association(CCA) in Madison, Wisconsin.
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 (at email@example.com).