ACDC News – Issue 06-07

“I am a water journalist.” (Why not?)

“Unless water-related issues are debated and resolved, water wars are inevitable. Enter the water journalist,” reads the subhead of a report from Media South Asia. Author Shangon Das Gupta of Bangalore, India, identified levels at which water journalism can operate. Gupta also described several examples of it in action.

“Water journalism is a young concept and certainly an ambitious one. Yet it is an idea whose time has come. Unless there is an effort to create social literacy on the issue of water and equitable distribution of water through policy change, ‘water wars’ are inevitable.”

Title: Water journalism
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Internet no replacement for traditional information sources for farmers.

A recent survey evaluating the utility of the Iowa State Agriculture Extension Web site to farmers led researcher K. Clausse to conclude:

“Clearly, in the case of Iowa farmers, the Internet has not replaced traditional communication sources. The findings of this study provide evidence that Extension remains a valuable service to farmers. However, in the performance of its functions, it does not have to abandon traditional communication sources to disseminate information. If Extension continues to push the idea of streamlining information by simply putting it on the Web, many farmers are going to be without the valuable agricultural information they are looking for and need.”

Title: The utility of Iowa State University
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Advice for agricultural freelancers.

Steve Werblow recently offered five tips to readers of the American Agricultural Editors’ Association newsletter, ByLine, based on his 10 years of experience in freelancing. He urged freelancers to diversify, seek professional help, get insurance, plan for retirement and enjoy their work.

Title: You a freelancer

Muddled messages in agricultural biotechnology.

This was Gaffe #3 in a list of 9 identified in a recent Nature Biotechnology commentary entitled “Ten years of biotech gaffes.”

Commentator John Hodgson explained: “What I deal with here are the ‘bio-bloopers’ that mattered, the events that had, or still have, repercussions for the life science industry or for those who depend on it.” His description of muddled messages touched on “media distortion” and willingness of scientific journals to widely publicize results that may be contentious or equivocal. He urged journal reviewers and editors to ensure that peer-reviewed data are reliable.

Title: Ten years of biotech gaffes

Tips for good neighboring by livestock operators.

We have added to the ACDC collection a research report about perceptions among neighbors of livestock operators in Ontario, Canada. Researcher Wayne Caldwell observed that findings provide an “important framework for the agricultural industry to develop approaches to prevent and deal with community issues more effectively.” Here are some of the tips he offered for a good neighbor policy:

  • Prepare a communication plan that addresses concerns before building or expanding an operation.
  • Advise neighbors of field activity, such as spraying fields or spreading manure.
  • Hold Open Houses.
  • Provide employment in the community.
  • Have an open door policy toward neighbors.

Title: Positive perception of hog farms
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Hitchhiker’s guide to rural telecom.

The ACDC collection also now contains a 16-page rural telecommunication glossary. It identifies and describes more than 100 terms – from ADSL [Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line] to Wireless Communication. The TeleCommons Development Group of Guelph, Ontario, Canada, created it in 1998 “to help you navigate the brave new world of information technologies for rural telecom.”

Title: The hitchhiker guide to rural telecom
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Continuing mixed reactions to food irradiation.

The new year seems to bring no new consensus about the desirability and future of irradiated foods. Here are two sample perspectives that have come to our attention:

Title: Broad failures signal weak future for irradiated foods
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Title: Food irradiation may start to take off
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Communicator activities approaching

April 19-21, 2006
“Jazzed!” Agri-Marketing Conference and Trade Show sponsored by the National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA) in Kansas City, Missouri, USA

May 8-11, 2006
“NETC 2006.” National Extension Technology Conference at Gainesville, Florida, USA.

May 14-17, 2006
“International teamwork in agricultural and extension education.” Conference of the Association for International Agricultural Education and Extension (AIAEE) in Clearwater Beach, Florida, USA.

May 21-26, 2006
“Managing agricultural information for sustainable food security and improved livelihoods in Africa.” Conference of the International Association for Agricultural Information Professionals (IAALD) in Nairobi, Kenya.

June 13, 2006
“Getting the word out. Are we communicating effectively?” A food safety communicators conference hosted by the Food Safety Network at the University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada.

Advice to young journalists – on sucking eggs. 

We close this issue of ACDC News with a heads-up on 43 principles for young journalists. They come from Pranay Gupte, who was senior writer and global-affairs columnist for the Straits Times, Singapore, when he wrote them. You will note a rural ring in one:

“Don’t try and teach your grandmother how to suck eggs.”

Title: The Pranay Principles
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Best regards and good searching.

When you see interesting items you cannot find locally or online, get in touch with us at Tell us the titles and/or document numbers. We will help you gain access.

Please pass along your reactions, suggestions and ideas for the Agricultural Communications Documentation Center. Feel free to invite our help as you search for information. And please suggest (or send) agricultural communication 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

April, 2006


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