ACDC News – Issue 07-11

Highlights of a National Summit on Journalism in Rural America.

The following reports offer some useful insights from a recent conference sponsored by the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues.  The gathering took place April 20-21 at the Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill, Kentucky.

Chat rooms replacing coffee shops and feed mills?

A headline in the Washington Post earlier this year suggested that tip-seeking farmers are swarming to online forums.

“Online message boards and chat rooms are replacing rural coffee shops and feed mills as places for farmers to talk farming and trade tips as more of rural America goes online,” said Associated Press reporter James Hannah.  He described the increasing traffic to online farm forums and reported the experiences of some farm users.

Title:  Tip-seeking farmers swarm online forums
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The news is bigger than all the conglomerates.

Bill Gaines, a Pulitzer Prize winning reporter, offered that view recently when asked about the future of investigative reporting. Now a journalism faculty member at the University of Illinois, Gaines acknowledged that some people say good journalism is on the way out.

“They trade on the idea that conglomerates will somehow crush the news in a frenzy to increase profits.  But the news is bigger than all the conglomerates.  The news is one big story of the interacting of people.  People demand the news, good or bad.  It is up there with food, water and air in the list of necessities for a quality life.  Even though newspapers are now being traded like game chips, people want the news and will get it by one means or another long after the media has adjusted or succumbed to change.”

Title:  Will profit-driven media conglomerates snuff out investigative journalism?
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Tweens see more than 20 food ads on TV each day.

A recent analysis of television food advertising to U. S. children showed that youngsters 8-12 years old viewed an average of 21 food ads a day on network television.  Teenagers saw 17 a day while children ages 2-7 saw 12 a day.  This analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation combined content analysis of TV ads with detailed data about children’s viewing habits.  Among other findings:

  • Food was the top product seen advertised.
  • Of all food ads in the study that targeted children or teens, 34 percent were for candy and snacks, 28 percent for cereal and 10 percent for fast foods.
  • Twenty percent of food ads for children or teens included a push to a web site, 19 percent offered a premium and 11 percent had a tie-in to a children’s TV or movie character.

Title:  New study finds that food is the top product seen advertised by children
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Tighter United Kingdom regulations for food advertising to children.

We recently added a news release commending new regulations that tighten standards in the United Kingdom for television food advertising directed to children.  According to the release, such advertising for foods high in fat, salt, or sugar will be reduced by up to 50 percent on programs viewed by children under 16.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest urged multinational food companies to “behave at least as well in the U. S. as they’ll soon be required to behave in the U. K.”

Title: British crackdown on junk food ads praised
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Work, study, refresh at the Center. 

Do you have a sabbatical or job leave at hand?  Are you working on a thesis, dissertation or research project? Do you simply want to refresh yourself, professionally, in this field? If so, consider spending time with us here at the University of Illinois.  The Agricultural Communications Documentation Center is nicely equipped to make your time productive and relaxing.

  • The Center is located in a new library with wireless throughout
  • Away from library traffic, it is an ideal setting for peace and quiet
  • It offers large work areas with desk or table space
  • As a guest of the Center, you can review a wide array of documents easily
  • Our Center staff will be delighted to help you search for information
  • You have access to the largest public university library in the nation and exceptional libraries for communications and agricultural, consumer and environmental sciences

Let us know by return e-note if you are interested in discussing possibilities.

Communicator activities approaching

June 21-23, 2007
“Fiesta del Caballo.”  Seminar of American Horse Publications (AHP) in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

July 2-5, 2007
“Environmental and rural sustainability through ICT.”  Joint conference of the European Federation of IT [Information Technology] in Agriculture (EFITA) and the World Congress on Computers in Agriculture (WCCA) at Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow, Scotland.

July 28-August 1, 2007
“Writing, photography, design: the AMS trifecta.”  Agricultural Media Summit in Louisville, Kentucky.  Organized jointly by American Agricultural Editors’ Association (AAEA), Agri Council of American Business Media (ABM), Agricultural Relations Council (ARC) and Livestock Publications Council (LPC).

What makes news in the country town.

We close this issue with an observation by Wilbert Lee Anderson in his 1906 book, The country town: a study of rural evolution:

“There is no news value perhaps, no literary or artistic value in, the wholesome averages of life.”

Literary and artistic values aside, we have observed that the “wholesome averages” of local life have always held news value for residents in towns of all types and sizes.

Do you have thoughts, examples or suggestions related to any topics featured in this issue? 

Please send them to us by return e-note.
Get in touch with us:

  • When you cannot locate information you need about agricultural and rural communicating.
  • 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.

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

Best regards and good searching.

June 2007

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