ACDC News – Issue 06-11

New education partnership to benefit IFAJ members. 

We are most pleased to announce a new pilot project that involves the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) and the Agricultural Communications Documentation Center (ACDC). Plans for this partnership have taken form during the past year.

Several new efforts are designed to expand professional development opportunities and resources for IFAJ members. They began during May:

  • Center staff members are providing news and how-to features for issues of IFAJ E-News and the professional development section of the IFAJ Web site.
  • New IFAJ pages on the Center Web site offer tips for finding information that is especially useful to agricultural journalists.
  • IFAJ is forming an ad-hoc advisory committee to strengthen the Center by helping identify useful agricultural journalism literature being generated throughout the world.

Special thanks to David Markey, President; Owen Roberts, Vice President for Professional Development and Education; and other members of the IFAJ Executive for helping envision and initiate this pilot effort. At the Center, Joe Zumalt, Jim Evans and others are assembling and providing information to serve IFAJ members.

IFAJ web site:

Rural small businesses not benefiting fully from broadband services.

A speaker at the 2006 Agriculture Outlook Conference, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, cited evidence of this gap. Stephen B. Pociask of TeleNomic Research concluded that, “compared to their urban counterparts, rural small businesses are not seeing the benefits resulting from the investment and use of broadband services.” He also presented evidence that consumers in rural areas have fewer choices among broadband providers, “confirming the existence of a rural digital divide.”

Title: Broadband use by rural small businesses 
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The cell phone — “real bridge across the digital divide.” 

We have added to the ACDC collection an article from OneWorld South Asia about benefits that cell phones can offer rural residents in that region. Author Swaminathan A. Aiyar suggested, “I believe that the cell phone, not the computer, will be the real bridge across the digital divide.” His reasons? It does not require continuous power. It costs a “tiny fraction” of what computers cost. It provides access to the Internet. And the cost of calls “has crashed.”

Aiyar cited results of a research project in which Kerala fishermen used cell phones to reduce volatility of fish prices, eliminate wasted catch, and increase their incomes as well as the incomes of merchants with whom they traded. Consumers benefited through reduced prices as the waste ended.

Title: Cellphones bridge the digital divide 
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Frank discussions with Wal-Mart. 

Thanks to the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues for reporting on a session involving Wal-Mart executives at the 2005 convention of the National Newspaper Association [NNA] in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Here are some of the concerns expressed by small-town newspaper representatives at the session:

  • The company buys relatively little newspaper advertising.
  • It puts out of business the local firms that formed the retail and advertising bases of small communities.
  • It replaces retailers who supported youth, educational, civic and church programs. “We don’t see that coming back from Wal-Mart to our communities.”

About 2,500 newspapers, mostly weeklies, make up the NNA membership. A 2005 survey of members “found that 87 percent had a Wal-Mart in their coverage area, and 67 percent said the presence of the company had a negative impact on their paper.”

Title: Small-town newspaper folks have frank discussions 
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An early online agricultural information service. 

Would you believe it existed 94 years ago? We have added to the ACDC collection a Hartford Courant article of February 1912, entitled “The ‘Phone in the Farmhouse.” This article described a circular published by the British post office and addressed to farmers. It pointed out that if at least five subscribers living on or near a country road leading to a town with a telephone exchange would agree to use one line, “they can telephone as much as they please to people on that exchange.” The circular emphasized these advantages to the farmer:

  • Latest market information for best advantage in the sale of produce and stock;
  • Weather reports and forecasts;
  • Arrangements with the railway station for delivery of goods;
  • Telegrams sent without going or sending to the post office;
  • Accelerated cooperative sale movements among farmers; and
  • Fewer long and expensive journeys.

The cost? £3 [$14.60] a year.

Title: The ‘phone in the farmhouse

Environmental journalism meets development journalism.

Two streams of journalism are coming together and have much to learn from each other, according to Guy Gough Berger of Rhodes University in South Africa. His 13-page report in Intermedia examined the roots of these two streams, the styles of each and ways they can enrich each other.

“The point argued in this article is that the convergence of environmentalism and developmentalism underlines a beneficial exchange of media traditions and insights. Going further, it also gives weight to the importance of reporting environmental stories as being simultaneously development ones, and to development stories as having environmental significance.”

Title: All change: environmental journalism meets development 
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Communicator activities approaching

July 17-18, 2006
“Ready, Set, Plan.” Crisis response workshop in Kansas City, Missouri. For organization administrators, communicators and others interested in executing functional risk and crisis responses. Sponsored by USDA-CSREES, Extension Disaster Education Network, K-State Research and Extension, and National Center of Food Protection and Defense.

July 23-26, 2006
“Meet us at the Summit.” Agricultural Media Summit, a joint meeting of American Agricultural Editors’ Association [AAEA], Livestock Publications Council [LPC], ABM Agri-Council, Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow [ACT], and Agricultural Relations Council [ARC] in Portland, Oregon.

August 12-16, 2006
“Feed your Senses.” Fiftieth Anniversary Congress of the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) in Hamar, Norway.

October 25-27, 2006
World Congress on Communication for Development in Rome, Italy. Organized by the Development Communication Division, World Bank; Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations; and The Communication Initiative.

Concerns about sheep advertising. 

The advertising industry of the Netherlands is turning sheepish, according to a New York Times report by Doreen Carvajal. It seems an online reservations company is displaying its corporate logo on blankets worn by sheep along highways. Company sales and Web site visits have increased, according to the report. However, at least one town is fining the company “because advertising on livestock violates its ban on advertising along highways.”
Title: Baa code the sheep of things to come? 
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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

June, 2006


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