ACDC News – Issue 03-23

Season’s greetings and best wishes.  

As we approach the end of 2003 all of us in the Agricultural Communications Documentation Center here at the University of Illinois extend season’s greetings and best wishes for your year ahead.

2003 – a remarkable year for us.  

We are grateful for many developments during the past year. Among them:

  • A new administrative home within the Funk Library of the University of Illinois Library system as a special collection and information service.
  • New collaboration with library associates, plus a continuing partnership with associates in Information Technology and Communication Services (ITCS) and other units on campus.
  • A new location – from Mumford Hall to the new Library, Information and Alumni Center of the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.
  • An expanding collection that now tops the 24,000-document mark.

Your encouragement sparks this effort.  

Thank you for using the Center and extending your encouragement. Feedback such as this warms our hearts:

  • “Ready for a rave?”
  • “ACDC is awesome. You have no idea of your impact on agriculture, I’m sure. But it is wonderful.”
  • “I always love receiving the ACDC electronic newsletter. … I appreciate this fun, helpful resource!”
  • “Great resource”
  • “I am impressed by your site…”
  • “Thank you for your quick response…”
  • “WOW!! What a treasure trove of articles, links, etc.”
  • “…a wonderful resource on agricultural communications.”

As always, we appreciate and welcome your suggestions about how we can make this resource more helpful to you.

Consumers fearful about poisoned food?  

Recently we added to the collection part of a report of a national poll that addressed the question. An Opinion Dynamics Poll during October 2003 invited a sample of U.S. registered voters to identify what they consider the biggest terrorist threat to the United States. Nine percent cited the threat of water or food supplies being poisoned.

Reference: On the “Database Search” page of this web site, use a title search (Opinion Dynamics Poll) for the full citation.  Let us know if you are interested in the full results and do not have local access.

More freelancers these days. How they cope.  

Meghan Sapp, a freelance agricultural journalist based in Brussels, Belgium, offered an insight in a recent issue of The ByLine, newsletter of the American Agricultural Editors’ Association. According to Sapp, a recent survey among journalists in 18 European countries indicated that more than 25 percent were freelancers. Her report identified techniques that freelancers use in Europe to deal with “their own unique set of issues.”

Reference: Use a title search (Freelancers face common issues) or author search (Sapp) for the full citation.

Internet – window to the world. Community radio – mirror of local knowledge.  

Put them together in creative ways and “the two just might offer us the most powerful tool we have yet known to combine research and reflection to harness knowledge for development.” Bruce Girard explored that vision during 2001 in a workshop sponsored by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.

Reference: On the “Database Search” page of this web site, use a title search (Challenges of ICTs) or author search (Girard) for the full citation. The presentation was posted on:

A case example during the workshop  

Described how a rural radio magazine in French language combines radio with a mix of other information technologies: e-mail, Internet telephone communication, FTP protocol file transfer, instant mailing, sharing of applications to access a remote computer and others. Content flows by Internet from rural correspondents in four African countries to coordination teams, then to about 100 African radio stations for broadcast. These technologies also permit online training of the broadcast journalists involved.

Reference:  Use a title search (JADE, a network) or author search (Ouattara) for the full citation. The presentation was posted on:

Not television (in 1932), but approaching it.  

Decades before television came into U.S. homes, a college editor in Ohio was putting broadcast audio and sequential visuals together in a creative way for rural extension. A report in the June/July 1932 issue of AAACE newsletter described the innovation by Rensselaer Sill:

“Five rural audiences in Ohio, located in different counties, only a few weeks ago listened to a radio talk by P.B. Zumbro, extension poultry specialist at Ohio State University, and simultaneously viewed a series of pictures projected on a screen from a film strip illustrating the talk.”

The audiences “considered these meetings highly successful and requested other similar meetings on various subjects.”

Reference:  Use a title search (Not television) for the full citation.

“University structures are a poor basis for managing complicated programmes of multidisciplinary research and implementation.”

That observation came from Gerard van der Horst during a 1982 international conference about the role of universities in integrated rural development. He cited experiences in collaborative programs that involved universities in Indonesia and the Netherlands. Among the challenges (that still sound familiar, internationally):

  • Wide variation in quality and interest levels of academic departments involved
  • Program mandates too broad and not integrated at all levels
  • Plans of operation too rigid, not open to adjustments

Reference:  Use a title search (Science as a tool) or author search (van der Horst) for the full citation.

Professional activity approaching:

February 14-18, 2004
Agricultural Communications Section of Southern Association of Agricultural Scientists (SAAS) meeting in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

March 12-19, 2004
World Congress of the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists in South Africa. The Congress starts in the north (Mabalingwe Nature Reserve) and ends south in Cape Town.

Accountability – hot new topic? Not really.  

Accountability of extension services, advertising and public relations programs, and other kinds of communicating gets more attention than ever these days. We recently noted several proverbs from Africa recognizing the timeless nature of this struggle for accountability of resources and effort:

“If nothing has been forged, then what happened to the charcoal?”
“Ten digging, ten filling – lots of dust, no hole.”
“If the machete doesn’t want to cut brush, it had best sneak back to the sheath.”

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. Send

  • hard copies to:
    Ag Com Documentation Center
    510 LIAC Library
    1101 S. Goodwin Avenue
    Urbana, IL 61801
  • or electronic copies to:

December 2003

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