ACDC News – Issue 07-20

An agri-surprising view of excellence in journalism.

The president of India expressed it during July at the occasion of the Ramnath Goenka Excellence in Journalism Awards program.  President A. P. J. Abdul Kalam framed “excellence” as follows:

“In 1999, I was in Tel-Aviv.  Hamas had inflicted heavy damage on the Lebanese border.  The next day, when I opened the newspaper, this was not front page news.  Instead, there was an item about a farmer from Russia who had settled in a desert zone in Israel.  He had managed to cultivate vegetables and fruits in the area with very high yield.  The newspaper was celebrating his success, probably because people look for such news.  I consider this excellence in journalism.”

He emphasized that journalism can be an effective tool for economic and political development. Every newspaper should have a research unit for developing media personnel in reporting and event analysis, he suggested.

Title:  Journalists can partner national development
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Are guidelines timeless for attracting farm readers?

A recent feature on the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) web site asked that question.  It summarized key principles of readership identified by Donald R. Murphy 45 years ago in his book, What farmers read and like.  The principles address decisions about:

  • Designing eye-catching that draw farm readers into the issue
  • Choosing subjects that attract keen reader interest
  • Writing effective headlines
  • Choosing and using color, photographs, illustrations and other visual elements
  • Avoiding “great dangers in editing”

You will see that the feature invites your thoughts and experiences about these decisions and others that influence farm readership today – and in your area. Send them along. They will be reported later, as part of that IFAJ series, produced in partnership with ACDC.

View the feature at

New initiative launched by FAO.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations recently launched a new initiative for information and communications technologies in support of agriculture and rural development.

“The online platform…will enable users to exchange opinions, experiences, good practices and resources related to e-agriculture, and to ensure that the knowledge created is effectively shared and used worldwide.”

Title: Launch of an interactive web-based platform
Posted at

Here are some new books

In the ACDC collection that may hold special interest for agricultural journalists and communicators.  All contain some rural or agricultural dimension.

  • Kathleen Fearn-Banks, Crisis communications: a casebook approach.  Third edition. Lawrence Erlbaum Associations, Mahwah, New Jersey.  2007.
  • Linda K. Fuller (ed.), Community media: international perspectives.  Palgrave Macmillan, New York.  2007.
  • Kai Hafez, The myth of media globalization.  Polity Press, Cambridge. 2007.
  • Phyllis Méras, Country editor: Henry Beetle Hough and the Vineyard Gazette. Images from the Past, Bennington, Vermont. 2006

Scientists working with journalists. 

A media workshop report we have added from the web site of the American Society of Plant Biologists identified several traits often found in both scientists and journalists: free and independent thinking, competitive natures, curiosity and higher levels of education

With that foundation, workshop speakers offered tips for plant biologists in working with journalists.  Among them:

  • In preparing for an interview, a scientist should learn more about the reporter, publication and its readership.
  • Have a goal in mind for the interview and deliver a focused message.
  • Use accurate terminology and not repeat misleading terms if the reporter uses them in a question. One speaker noted that “too often, the media use misleading terminology such as ‘Frankenfood’ and ‘killer corn’.”
  • Be prepared to answer questions such as, “What does it matter?”

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Concern over misleading terms for cured meat products.

An article in Food Production Daily described concerns about terms such as the following being used to promote cured meat products as safe and healthful:

  • “naturally cured”
  • “no nitrite added”
  • “without added nitrite”
  • “nitrite free”

“Such statements can be interpreted as purposely misleading the consumer,” according to the article.

Title:  Nitrite free: where does the truth end?
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Agricultural communications literature in nursing journals?

The scatter of literature for this field continues to surprise us.  Here are a few of the diverse journals from which we have added documents to the ACDC collection recently:

  • Journal of Clinical Nursing
  • Acta Paediatrica
  • European Journal of Clinical Nutrition
  • Peace Research Abstracts
  • Development South Africa
  • Journal of Economic History
  • Financial  Times
  • Family and Consumer Sciences Research Journal
  • Library Review
  • Information Development

Communicator activities approaching

November 13-14, 2007
“Capture, consolidate and communicate – the changing nature of contemporary extension.” National Forum of the Australasia Pacific Extension Network in Canberra, ACT, AUSTRALIA.

November 14-16, 2007
“A rural renaissance.”  Annual conference of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB) in Kansas City, Missouri USA.

Answer “Yes” when people ask if you talk to animals.

We are always pleased to be able to answer “Yes” when that question comes our way, as it has for years.  To share the pleasure, we close this issue of ACDC News with a new example, thanks to an alert in the Cooperative Communicators Association newsletter.

It seems the outstanding television commercial honored in the 59th Annual Creative Arts Emmy Award program featured Ellen DeGeneres talking with her animals.  You can view “Ellen’s Animals” (1:59) at:

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 communications, as related to agriculture, food, natural resources and rural affairs in any part of the world.
  • 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.

October 2007

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