ACDC News – Issue 05-13

A remarkable new resource about agricultural periodicals.

Persons interested in the development of the agricultural press in the U.S. now have access to a valuable new resource. It is the Donald Watson Database of Agricultural Magazines and Newspapers, now available for online searching.

The largest of its kind ever assembled, it provides information about 9,573 farm periodicals published between 1775 and 1990. Agricultural journalist Donald Watson assembled it, as a labor of love, until his death in the early 1990s. His family kindly contributed the collection for broader use. Professor Eric Abbott and Holly Benton of Iowa State University entered the information into a web-searchable database to make it available to anyone interested in agricultural magazines and newspapers.

You can search the database by title, date, editor, state or subject matter topic. Information about some periodicals is extensive, for others limited. The second form of the database is on SPSS, the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences. It can be used for statistical analysis of the database information. An introductory conference paper about the database is in the ACDC collection.

Reference: Introducing the Donald Watson Database 
Search page posted at:

How to talk to protesters.

A Time magazine article of that title involved matters relevant to agriculture – topics such as animal rights, environmental quality and worker rights. “Nobody can hide,” one observer was quoted as saying. This article offered four suggestions for companies.

Reference: How to talk to protesters.
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 Extension education “refuses to go under.” 

Lena M. Levander, University of Helsinki, Finland, addressed that issue head-on in a journal article we have added to the ACDC collection.

Recent trends in Europe have militated against preparing extension professionals for employment in public service to speed agricultural development. However, Levander argued, “Everywhere, there is an increasing recognition that the predicaments of modern society cannot be solved by technology and market forces (alone), but require professional facilitation of interactive processes. … The facilitation required for such negotiated agreement at the local, regional, national and global levels creates demand for professionals who are trained on the basis of the concepts, methods and perspectives pioneered in extension education.”

This article described how extension education developed in Europe, examined the body of knowledge within it, reported the characteristics of extension education curricula and suggested new directions.

Reference: Exploring the curricula of extension education
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Just a big, fat misunderstanding.

Food and beverage marketers are wondering if the obesity panic is just that – a big, fat misunderstanding. They, along with consumers, stand confused by a study reported during April from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. It contradicts CDC research last year showing that obesity causes 400,000 premature deaths annually.

“A giant mess” is the way one beverage consultant described results of more than a decade of conflicting pronouncements such as this. “The level of dissonance created by conflicting reports has created almost a complex among consumers,” said Tom Pirko, quoted in an Advertising Age article we have added to the ACDC collection. “They don’t know who to believe. They don’t know what to believe. It breeds cynicism, and that’s a breeding ground for charlatans and others to take advantage.”

Reference: Mass-market confusion: now fat is good for you.

Are food ads on prime-time television emphasizing nutrition?

Not especially, according to results of a content analysis by University of Texas advertising researchers. They analyzed food-related ads aired during prime time on four major networks during a week of March 2003. Among a sub-sample of 75 unique food ads, the most commonly used themes were:
” Taste/flavor/smell 36 percent
” New/innovative 16 percent
” Health/nutrition 15 percent
” Others 33 percent

“Another interesting finding on the use of themes was that quantity/size/amount was scarcely used.”

Reference: Food for thought
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How advocacy groups can choose and use media.

John P. McHale has written a research-based guide designed to aid grassroots communicating about social and political issues. This recent book, Communicating for change, serves social movement advocates in reaching multiple audiences. The author’s research centered on three social issues, including environmental protection.

“How to” sections range broadly across the use of groups and meetings, telephones, speeches, musical performances, guerilla theater, storytelling, signage, candles, newsletters, petitions, stickers, op-ed pieces, news releases, television talk shows, video releases, web pages, e-mail, fax, community radio and other channels.

Reference: Communicating for change: Strategies of social and political advocacy

Communicator activities approaching

July 31-August 3, 2005
“Agricultural Media Summit.” Professional development conference
of the American Agricultural Editors’ Association (AAEA), Livestock
Publications Council (LPC) and AgriCouncil of the Association of
Business Media Companies in Milwaukee, Wisconsin USA.

August 31-September 4, 2005
“The New Role of Agriculture.” 49th Congress of the International
Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) in Thun (near Berne), Switzerland.

October 1, 2005
Deadline for papers to be considered for presentation at the Agricultural
Communications Section of the 2006 Southern Association of
Agricultural Scientists (SAAS) conference in Orlando, Florida,
February 5-6.

A perspective on educational media.

We close this issue of ACDC News with a thought expressed by Derek Bok, president of Harvard University from 1971 to 1991:”Media are mere vehicles that deliver instruction but do not influence
student achievement any more than the truck that delivers our groceries
causes changes in our nutrition.”

 When you see interesting items you can’t find online or locally

Get in touch with us at . Tell us the titles and/or document numbers. We will help you gain access.

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 we might add to this unique collection. We welcome them in hard copy (sent to Ag Com Documentation Center, 510 LIAC, 1101 S. Goodwin Avenue, Urbana, IL 61801 ) or electronic form at

July, 2005

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