ACDC News – Issue 06-19

How cut flowers stay fresh, from Holland around the world.

Have you ever wondered how this is possible for such a highly perishable, fragile product? If you have, you will find helpful insights in an article published by the Journal of Strategic Information Systems. Authors Judith Heezen and Walter Baets describe the Dutch Flower Auctions and reveal the vital role of accurate, fast-moving information. They also analyze the potentials and impacts of information technologies, including video auctioning.

Title: Impact of electronic markets

International lessons for better farmer-scientist communicating.

A United Kingdom case study has led to suggestions “inspired by communication models in developing countries.” Writing in Science Communication, Belinda Clarke notes that farmers in Europe and North America tend to obtain information about new research from the agricultural press or, increasingly, from representatives of companies promoting new products. “There is little opportunity for direct communication between farmers and researchers.”

Clarke’s global tour identified several universal needs and prompted recommendations for:

  • More one-on-one interactions between farmers and researchers.
  • Movement away from one-way lecture formats.
  • More use of participatory approaches.

Title: Farmers and scientists 
Abstract available free and full-text available by subscription from:

Cycling onto the Internet.

An article in Appropriate Technology describes an innovative way to provide agricultural information.

“When Laotian farmers in Phon Kham village want to see the price of rice in their nearest market town, they can do it now by accessing the Internet, but it’s a two person operation. The second person is needed to pedal a bicycle-driven generator which produces the power to work the computer. Once up and running, the farmer can see the price of rice, find out what the weather is doing or send an e-mail to a friend.”

Title: Laotian villagers cycle onto the Internet

Tips on photographing livestock.

Do you photograph livestock? If so, you might check a new “how-to” feature on the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) web site. Tips offered in the feature come from several award-winning livestock photographers, the ACDC collection and other sources. We produced it recently through a professional development partnership with IFAJ.

Title: In the blink of an eye 
Posted at:

“Who speaks for the journalism of Main Street?” 

We do, said H. Brandt Ayers, publisher of a community newspaper, the Anniston Star (Alabama USA), in a recent column about his craft. “…and we think we have something to teach Big Journalism media who seem to have lost connection with the people they serve.”

Here are several ingredients Ayers identified for effective Main Street journalism:

•  Stand up for justice. “We did some old-fashioned crusading.”
•  Hop on the Big Story. “That lights our fire.”
•  Clothe a tough or complex story in “the simple uniform of normality.” Examples: (1) A reporter’s moving biography of the family’s irascible, beloved mule charted 50 years of Southern economic change. The last line: “They came and dragged Kate away with a tractor.” (2) A reporter told how “morale rose and anxiety over integration eased at a rural high school when new black football players helped the team to a winning season.”
•  Keep it local. “Sometimes it gets bumpy, because our relationship with community is less distant than a corporate chain newspaper, more caring. We scold, support, console and chide. We hurt and are hurt, and we love – like any slightly dysfunctional family.”
•  “Get it straight; get it whole … and give a damn!”

Title: Above all, give a damn 
Posted at:

New video – “Telling the World about Agriculture.” 

Those who attended the recent Congress of the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) in Norway viewed a new anniversary film. Journalists from throughout the world took part in “Telling the World about Agriculture.” According to producer Markus Rediger:

“They talk about globalization and other current questions from their point of view. All stress the meaning of a world-wide network for the exchange of information, opinions and questions.”

The film, in DVD format, is financed by sponsors and can be ordered free of charge. A short version is available for viewing from the home page of: (scroll down).

It is not enough to ask consumers if they would or would not eat GM foods.

Results of recent research in Australia suggest that such questions do not do justice to the complexities of public attitudes about genetically modified foods. For instance, a study for Biotechnology Australia led Craig Cormick, Manager of Public Awareness, to report how consumer attitudes may depend on the type of food.

“For example, Australians claim they are more likely to eat packaged foods containing GM ingredients and GM cooking oils than they are likely to eat GM vegetables.”

Title: Public attitudes towards GM foods 
To see similar articles, search for Craig Cormick at:

Communicator activities approaching

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.

October 25-29, 2006
Annual conference of the Society of Environmental Journalists in Burlington, Vermont USA. Information:

November 9-11, 2006
Fifth Conference of the Asian Federation for Information Technology in Agriculture. (AFITA) in Bangalore, India.

November 15-17, 2006
“Farm and rural horizons.” Annual convention of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB) in Kansas City, Missouri USA.

On making things clear in the rural wilds.

We close this issue of ACDC News with an example of how easy it is to stumble over our wordings and meanings. We found it in an August, 1878, issue of the Chicago Tribune, via ProQuest Historical Newspapers.

“The Rev. Murray has been bitten by a wildcat in Maine, but the cat was old and tough, and will probably get over it. – Free Press. 

Please get in touch with us when you see in this collection interesting items you cannot find, locally or online.

Reach us via contact form. 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 the Agricultural Communications Documentation Center. 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.

October 2006

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