ACDC News – Issue 06-12

Color me spoiled.

A news report we have added to the ACDC collection describes new food labels that change color to signal the freshness of packaged meat in the local supermarket. Food Quality Sensor International Inc. is reported to be testing these labels in California and Nebraska. On average, they add a penny to the packaging costs for each dollar of meat sold.

Title: Food label would bypass sniff test

Advertising in rural India 

Is the title of a book reviewed in a 2002 issue of the Language journal. We do not have this book as yet, but we have entered a book review by Edwin Battistella. He concluded that the book would interest readers “who are curious about how communication and language work in the marketplace and how marketing affects linguistic and social structure.”

“It is likely there is a book to be written about language and rural advertising in the United States as well,” Battistella observed. We suspect the idea could also apply usefully to many countries.

Title: Advertising in rural India

Development journalism – an oxymoron.

“Developing countries need good journalism and good journalists, period,” according to the communications director of the International Development Research Centre. Jean-Marc Fleury argued in a report we added recently:

“Development, after all, is not something thrust upon people, but a process in which people engage, in which they are both actors and beneficiaries. For people to act effectively, they must be informed. And that is the role of media and journalists in both developed and developing worlds. This, however, is not what some are calling ‘development journalism.'”

Fleury called for: (a) better training of journalists for this challenge and (b) greater effort to make the results of developing country research better known around the world. We in the Center share the goal of helping address both those needs.

Title: Development journalism or just good journalism 
Posted at:

Embed journalists everywhere.

“Embed them where people live, work, play, and pray,” Aly Colón argued in Poynteronline. “Embed them in neighborhoods, urban areas, rural areas, corporations, nonprofits, hospitals, families, retirement communities, conservative centers and liberal lodges.” What does the author think might happen?

•  It would reframe the way journalists gather information and tell their stories.
•  Journalists would gain more intimate knowledge by focusing on the personal, ordinary, everyday experiences of those they observe.
•  They would craft stories in which persons portrayed would recognize themselves and the situations depicted.

Could it be said that specialized reporters, such as agricultural journalists, already are embedded in the spheres they cover? Could they use that concept more fully? What risks and potentials are involved?

Title: Embed journalists everywhere 
Posted at:

Communications and the three faces of science fraud. 

One can see the role of communications in three “faces of science fraud” described by David Schubert of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. His commentary in the San Diego Union-Tribune examined the creation or manipulation of data to achieve specific ends related to biotechnology and other scientific endeavors. The three faces he identified:

  • Increasing pressure on politicians and regulatory agencies to reduce regulatory requirements.
  • Companies employing their own scientists to publish manuscripts in an attempt to discredit the consensus of scientists and feed public relations campaigns.
  • Regulatory agencies such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration “forced to bend the facts of science to fit the political agenda” of the day.

Title: Three faces of science fraud 
Posted at:

The Internet – “a weapon on the table” for “biotech war.”

“Either you pick it up or your competitor does, but somebody is going to get killed,” according to an agri-marketing source cited in a 2002 Guardian Unlimited (UK) commentary. George Monbiot described successful efforts by Monsanto to position biotechnology more positively on the Internet.

Title: Covert biotech war 
Posted at:,3604,842999,00.html

Yes, we are still searching off the beaten paths.

The wide-ranging sources of information about agriculture-related communicating continue to surprise, impress and challenge us. For example, here are a few off-the-main-path journals where we found such literature during recent weeks:

Clinical Pediatrics
Health Libraries Review
American Ethnologist
Federal Communications Law Journal
Women’s Studies
Management Quarterly
Journal of Clinical Epidemiology
Action Research

Communicator activities approaching

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.

August 24-26, 2006
49th Annual Conference of the National Market News Association in Chicago, Illinois.

September 13-16, 2006
Annual conference of the Association of Food Journalists in Charlotte, North Carolina.

September 14-17, 2006
Annual conference of the Canadian Farm Writers’ Federation in Winnipeg, Canada.

A panda’s punctuation lesson.

We close this issue of ACDC News with a punctuation lesson, a tip of the hat to grammarians among us. It comes from the newsletter of the European Federation for Information Technology in Agriculture, Food and the Environment (EFITA).

A panda enters a restaurant. He orders a chef salad and eats it. Then he gets a gun from his bag, shoots all the lights out and leaves the place dark. He gets arrested and during his trial the judge asks the obvious question: “Why did you do this?” The panda presents a dictionary and shows this explanation of his kind: “Big mammal living in Southern China. Eats, shoots and leaves.”

This little tale echoes a recent book – Eats, Shoots and Leaves – by Lynne Truss. It emphasizes the importance of punctuation.

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

July, 2006


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