ACDC News – Issue 07-04

Award-winning network of internet kiosks serves 3.5M farmers in India.

A recent news report about eChoupal helps stretch the mind of innovative rural communicators.  eChoupal is a network of more than 5,200 internet kiosks established by ITC, one of India’s largest exporters of agricultural commodities.  Using the kiosks in 31,000 villages, rural families can, in the local language:

  • Gather information about market prices and weather
  • Learn farm management techniques
  • Check input costs
  • Order farm supplies and sell farm products
  • Gather healthcare and educational information

This initiative has received several awards for innovative use of satellite communications, solar energy and other information technologies serving rural people.

Title:  Indian farmers gain from internet access
Web site:

When media air VNRs and ANRs without disclosure.

Are you monitoring discussions about appropriate use of video news releases (VNRs) and audio news releases (ANRs), as used to convey information about food, agriculture and rural interests?  If so, you may find interest in this report added recently from the Center for Media and Democracy.  Please let us know ( of other reports that come to your attention.

Title:  Video news releases: the ball’s in the FCC’s court
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How consumers respond to information on food labels.

We find useful reports of research about this subject from the United Kingdom.  The Food Standards Agency recently reported several insights it identified through research about consumers’ response to marketing terms used in food labeling.

Some respondents claimed they would choose between similar food products based on these terms: quality, finest and homemade. However, other pieces of information on the label were cited as more influential.

  • Nearly one-third of the respondents felt that the brand was the most important piece of information when making a purchase decision.
  • One-fourth felt that information about ingredients was most important.
  • Only 6 percent claimed that the product descriptor (such as natural, fresh, pure) was most important.

Title:  Consumer research on marketing terms
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“What is the best way to get your message across to people?”

Geoffrey Moss, veteran communicator in New Zealand, tells us he usually asks that question when he runs workshops.  After discussion, he explains, participants realize there is no “best way” in a general sense.

Geoffrey recently contributed to the ACDC collection some informative books and tip sheets to help communicators choose appropriate messages and media.  They include:

He has led workshops involving more than 2,500 participants in many settings including Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Samoa and Singapore.  In Singapore he has run 31 workshops for Asian managers at the Singapore Institute of Management.

“The participants have taught me much,” he says.  “I have indeed been fortunate.”

Agriculture — rooted deeply in typographic history.

Printed newspapers trace back nearly 1,300 years in China, according to a macro history published in the Gazette: the International Journal for Communications Studies.  And, according to researcher S. A. Gunaratne, a treatise on agriculture (Nong Shu) contained the first description of movable type in the printing process.  That advancement took place in China during 1313.

Title:  Paper, printing and the printing press

Cultural history of some words we use often.

Thanks to Professor Steve Shenton for alerting us to a brief but fascinating cultural history of key words we use often.  It comes from Raymond Williams as a one-page appendix in his book, The country and the city, published by Oxford University Press in 1973.

Williams described the derivations and modern meanings of terms such as: country, city, suburb, rural, farm and pastoral.

Title:  Country and the city

Communicator activities approaching

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.

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.  Information:

May 1-3, 2007
Eighteenth annual meeting of the Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA) in Savannah, Georgia.

Here’s some ‘creep’y advice for communicators.

We close this issue of ACDC News with an expression that caught the ear of communicator Amy Keith McDonald during a 2006 meeting of the Agricultural Relations Council.  She later shared it on the ARC ACCESS Board Blog.

Scope creep” – describes the inevitable changing parameters of a project as changes are made by a client or better (alternative) options are presented.

Advice for communicators:  “Scope creep can be good, but always keep communication between Clients and Agencies current, including cost change, timelines changes, etc.”
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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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