ACDC News – Issue 04-07

“It’s a jungle out there.”  

So read the headline of an environmental journalism piece we added recently to the ACDC collection. Writing in Columbia Journalism Review, Kevin Carmody traced trends in coverage of environmental issues “in an age of backlash.”

“At a time when well-financed interests are working hard to manipulate the public policy debate over the environment, coverage of the issue has been cut sharply at many news outlets, especially broadcast.”

Reference: On the Database Search page of this web site, use a title search (Jungle out there) or author search (Carmody) for the full citation.

How newspapers cover controversy about food irradiation.  

Results of a content analysis of the New York Times and Des Moines Register newspapers (1992-2000) led researcher Hong-Lim Choi to conclude:

“In the news coverage of irradiation, journalists unconsciously have relied on powerful sources and they have been pressured by organizational constraints, therefore these powerful sources and constraints strongly come into play in constructing new reality in the food irradiation discourse.”

Reference: Use a title search (Framing of an agricultural controversy) or author search (Choi) for the full citation.

Abandon expert approaches.  

Robert Huesca came away with that perspective after his analysis in Bolivia of a reporteros populares program in which local citizens served as radio reporters. His findings, published in Gazette journal, led him to conclude:

“The implications of taking a more situationally focused approach to participation development is that communication behaviors – of researchers, trainers and media practitioners – are conceptualized as an integrated part of social life, rather than as a distinct set of professional skills. …researchers, trainers and practitioners must abandon expert approaches to media practice and turn to involvement processes.”

Reference: Use a title search (Participation for development) or author search (Huesca) for the full citation.

A helpful overview of rural extension services, worldwide came into the ACDC collection recently.

Produced by Jock R. Anderson and Gershon Feder of the World Bank, this concise review ranged broadly over rural extension, an enterprise that involves at least 800,000 official extension workers and billions of dollars each year. The review dealt with history, trends and policy issues involved in aspects such as:

  • The role of information and extension in rural development
  • Types and models of extension services
  • Public financing and administrative support of extension
  • Impact and economic return of extension programming

“There is clearly much yet to be done in bringing needed extension services to the poor around the world,” the authors concluded. “But investors need to be cautious in designing and adjusting public extension systems if they are not needlessly to re-learn the lessons of the past.”

Reference: Use a title search (Rural extension services) or author search (Anderson) for the full citation. The report was posted online at:

Thanks for a journal series.  

We express special appreciation to Professor Dorothy Jenkins of Louisiana State University for contributing 10 volumes of a journal that has not been available for review here. Southern Rural Sociology, official journal of the Southern Rural Sociological Association, holds special interest for us. These contributed volumes, for example, provided 17 communications-related research articles relevant to the ACDC collection.

Reference: Use a “journal” search (Southern Rural Sociology) to identify the documents added from this series.

Media efforts to mock/exploit rural America?  

We have added to the ACDC collection several recent news report about efforts by rural interests to oppose another “reality” television show being proposed by CBS Television. “Last year, CBS quietly dropped plans to create ‘The Real Beverly Hillbillies’ after a national campaign of rural and urban groups, members of Congress, labor unions, and thousands of individuals said the show would mock rural Americans.”

This time UPN (a firm owned, along with CBS Television, by Viacom) is proposing “Amish in the City.” It would “take Amish teens to the city, tempt them with contemporary culture and technology, and televise their struggles to maintain their religious faith.” Information about some of the communications efforts to resist this show is available on Rural Realities is a coalition organized by friends of the Amish Community in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

Reference: You can identify ACDC documents related to this issue by conducting a cross-search of subject terms such as: religion television.

Relaxing the turkeys with Gregorian chants and dawn choruses.  

New research in communicating with animals is examining sounds that turkeys find serene and soothing. National Farmers Union, Britain, recently sent 300 turkey farmers a CD with 10 tracks – a “Turkey Top 10” – asking producers to help determine what types of sounds soothe turkeys and what sounds disturb them. Early results suggested that Gregorian chants and a dawn chorus of bird sounds were the biggest hits. “They keep the flocks quiet.”

“No one is going to read 4 days of stories that end up with one enormous ‘Huh?’ There needs to be a flow and a direction to a series, a point of view. I organize my stories around viewpoint; it helps me select the topics I am going to cover and how I am going to present them.”

Reference: Use a title search (Reporting on the changing science) or author search (Blum) for the full citation.

And on that “note,” shouldn’t we close with a piece of poultry wisdom?  

The ACDC News reader who shared it remembers its use in communications workshops with extension staff members.

The codfish lays a million eggs,
The little hen but one.
But the codfish doesn’t cackle
When her noble deed is done.

So we praise the artful hen,
The codfish we despise;
Which clearly shows to thinking ones

Communicator activities approaching:

April 18-20, 2004
Spring meeting of North American Agricultural Journalists (NAAJ). Events take place at U.S. Department of Agriculture/Agricultural Research Service facilities in Beltsville, Maryland, and Washington, D.C.

April 30-May 1, 2004
Annual meeting of Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA) in Seattle, Washington.

May 24-27, 2004
“Education and Extension for Multi-Function Agriculture.” Annual conference of the Association for International Agricultural and Extension Education in Dublin, Ireland.

June 12-15, 2004
“Run for the Gold.” 2004 Institute of Cooperative Communicators Association (CCA) in Louisville, Kentucky USA.

June 20-24, 2004
“ACE’s High in Nevada.” 2004 International Meeting of the Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Life and Human Sciences (ACE) at Lake Tahoe, Nevada USA.

Best regards and good searching.  

Please pass along your reactions, suggestions 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:

April 2004

Updated on