ACDC News – Issue 07-03

“How the Swiss media report on farming issues.”

We appreciate receiving notice from Markus Rediger about an article of this title in a 2006 issue of AGRARForschung, the Journal of Swiss Agricultural Research.  Authors analyzed the frequency, depth and range of agricultural coverage in 586 newspaper articles and 55 television features during 2004.

“In general, the coverage consists of factual journalism such as news articles and reports,” according to the summary.  “Opinion-based journalism, such as comment or analysis, rarely features in the coverage.  …  The reporting across all media analyzed in the study can be described as ranging from balanced to positive in 2004.  However, judging from the scope and volume of coverage, topics selected and journalistic presentation, it may be concluded that media coverage of farming issues is somewhat superficial.”

Title:  How the Swiss media report on farming issues
Summary posted in English, German and French at:

Some topics we helped ACDC users explore during 2006.

We always enjoy getting requests from professional communicators, students, researchers, teachers and others as they search for information about agriculture-related communications.  Here is a scattering of topics among the dozens we helped address during the past year:

  • When farmers establish web sites for direct marketing
  • How folk media can fit into today’s rural communications
  • Surveys about farmers’ use of media
  • Consumer information services offered by Extension
  • Rural-urban conflict in the 1920s and 1930s
  • How to enliven annual meetings of rural organizations
  • Information services for migrant farm workers
  • Generic pork advertising
  • Impact of environmental education on conservation practices
  • Ethical relations among agricultural reporters, publishers and advertisers
  • Contemporary mass media portrayals of farmers
  • Relationship agri-marketing
  • Crisis communication planning
  • Core competencies needed by professional agricultural communicators

Please call on us ( whenever we can help you search.

How Europeans and Asians view risks of avian flu.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, reported this month the results of research conducted during late 2005.  Results are based on surveys among 3,436 residents living in five European countries and three East Asian areas.

You can see a report of findings at:

Is information technology ready for the avian flu?

Not in the U. S., according to an article in a recent issue of Computerworld.  It cites findings of a survey by the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions during early December 2006.  Among 163 U. S. employers surveyed, most (68 percent) said their companies are very concerned about a flu pandemic.  However, only 52 percent said they have adequately planned to protect themselves from the effects of a flu pandemic.  Only 45 percent felt confident their companies are prepared to manage a flu pandemic outbreak should one occur.

“Ultimately, dealing with a pandemic is a problem that must be coordinated at the executive management level through a cross-functional team,” author Robert L. Mitchell concluded.  Information technology will not be the full solution.  “But it is part of the solution.  And in a true emergency, information systems might just be the glue that keeps employees in touch – and holds the organization together.”

Title:  Heads in the sand: IT isn’t ready for the bird flu
Posted at:

How public/private contracting for agricultural extension is working.

An international conference paper presented last year analyzed outcomes of such contract arrangements in the many countries using them.

Authors William Rivera and Gary Alex observed that contracting for extension is a positive development and a vital strategy for agricultural knowledge transfer.  However, “we stress that it should not be considered, and cannot be, an answer to unresolved management problems or the incapacities within an institution.  In short, despite its advantages and benefits, contracting is no panacea.”

Title:  Contracting for agricultural extension
Posted at

‘Raw is natural’ messages worry food technologists.

We recently added a report that aired concerns about a disconnect between public perception and the reality of food processing.  Speaking at a 2006 meeting of the Institute of Food Technologists, Dean Cliver noted:

“After we organize our safety efforts in more elegant ways, we’re still back to the idea that processing is important.  [But] the consuming public is being told that totally unprocessed foods are doing them good.”

Title:  Conflicting food messages may put consumers at risk
Archived June 27, 2006, at

Communicator activities approaching

 March 12-13, 2007
“Out of ideas for writing, photography and layout/design?” Midwest Regional Workshop of the Cooperative Communicators Association (CCA) in Louisville, Kentucky USA.
Information:  Tammy Simmons at or 800-357-5232

March 29, 2007
“The nuts and bolts of ag communication.”  Midwest regional design and writing workshop sponsored by Livestock Publications Council (LPC) and American Agricultural Editors’ Association (AAEA) in Des Moines, Iowa USA.

March 29-31, 2007
Winter meeting of the Agricultural Relations Council (ARC) in Corpus Christi, Texas.

April 11-13, 2007
“Think big.”  2007 Agri-Marketing Conference (and 50th Anniversary observance) of the National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA) in Dallas, Texas.

April 15-17, 2007
Annual meeting of North American Agricultural Journalists (NAAJ) in Washington, D.C.

Hear the laughing dog. 

Yes, researchers are still busy trying to help us communicate with animals.  The 2007 edition of the Old Farmer’s Almanac alerted us to recent findings by animal behaviorist Patricia Simonet.  According to the report:

“When researchers played recordings of dog ‘laughter’ (a breathy exhalation made by pooches), barking and pacing canines at an animal shelter calmed down instantly.”
You can hear a brief sample of the “laughter” sound at:

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

Tell us the titles and/or document numbers.  We will help you gain access.
Best regards and good searching.

Please pass along your reactions, questions, 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 at

February 2007

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