ACDC News – Issue 18-11

At a season of harvest and thanksgiving in this part of the world,
those of us in the Agricultural Communications Documentation Center extend special thanks to you. We appreciate your interest and support in gathering, preserving, and making available what is known about communications related to agriculture. This has been a bountiful year for that mission of ACDC, and you have been important to it.

We share another bit of the resource bounty with you in this “harvest” issue.

“Reporting the untold stories of rural India”

A 2017 article of that title by Shalini Singh in Nieman Reports described how the People’s Archive of Rural India (PARI) is revealing the lives and labors of the country’s poorest, most marginalized populations.  Palagummi Sainath, former rural affairs editor of The Hindi newspaper, founded PARI in 2014 as a non-profit organization to document the everyday lives of everyday people in rural India.

Singh explained that, with PARI, Sainath seeks to bridge the urban-rural divide. “In the archival sense, we’ve been called ‘a Smithsonian from below.’”

You can read the article here.

How well do scientists understand climate and GM food safety these days?

Many Americans are skeptical of scientific understanding of causes of climate change and the health effects of eating genetically modified (GM) foods. A December 2017 survey report from the Pew Research Center indicated that only 28% of the national sample felt that scientists understand the causes of climate change very well; 40% fairly well; 32% not too well or not well at all.

Only 19% felt that scientists understand the health effects of eating GM foods; 44% fairly well; 35% not too well or not well at all.

You can read this survey report here.

 New Eugene A. Kroupa Collection

It is a pleasure to report that ACDC is home to a new collection contributed recently by a former agricultural journalism faculty member at the University of Wisconsin.  Dr. Eugene A. Kroupa later established one of the state’s first full-service marketing research firms. His contributed materials take varied formats and range in date from 1967-1990.

They involve topics such as farmers’ information sources and their use and understanding of agricultural marketing information. Materials also feature new directions in agricultural communications curricula, professionalism of agricultural communicators, and use of focus groups in agricultural marketing communications. They include nine agricultural journalism master’s degree theses.

You can identify his contributions by visiting “Contributed Collections” on the ACDC website and scrolling down to “The Eugene A. Kroupa Collection”.

Imagine – local news media run by volunteers (for decades)

An example came to our attention recently from Almena, Kansas, a rural town of about 400 residents. Residents lost their century-old newspaper in 1990. Townspeople decided to establish a new semi-monthly, Prairie Dog Press, with news and columns authored by local residents (mostly seniors) and produced by an all-volunteer staff.  Friendships, dedication, the community’s appreciation, and an editor’s leadership help account for more than 20 years of community service. Folks at Kansas State University provided advisory help.

You can read this case study here, as reported in the Newspaper Research Journal.

Topics range widely in recent symposium papers

You can see a sampling of today’s variety in these abstracts of 12 research papers. They were presented at a National Agricultural Communications Symposium in Florida earlier this year. Thanks to Prof. Quisto Settle, we are including contact information you can use if you want to invite full-text access.

“A quantitative assessment of possession rituals and engagement in Pinterest: an examination of the agriculture industry”  Contact: Cassie Wandersee at

“Case study integration in the undergraduate classroom: can we enhance willingness to communicate?”  Contact: Jessica L. Harsh at

“Creating relevancy in scientific information: an analysis of the impact of motivational salience and involvement on visual attention”

Contact: Laura Fischer at

“Eye tracking: a biometric tool for measuring baseline visual literacy in agricultural communications students” Contact: Tobin Redwine at

“Florida consumers’ latitudes of acceptance, rejection, and noncommitment of genetically modified food information” Contact: Taylor Ruth at

“Framing agricultural use of antibiotics and antimicrobial resistance in the United States” Contact: Anna Warner at

“Lights, cameras, and agricultural documentaries: influence on opinion change”

Contact: Brooke Beam at

“Measuring the influence of Twitter-based crisis communications strategies on brand reputation via experimental design” Contact: Courtney Boman-Billey at

“Piloting participatory arts-based methods for exploring Indonesians’ experiences in a U.S. biotechnology training program” Contact: Jamie Loizzo at

“Survey says: what data means when it comes to perceptions about agriculture”

Contact: Levy Randolph at

“The food factor: relating brand exposure to behavior intention”

Contact:  Quisto Settle at

“What’s the beef about Facebook? A content analysis of junior cattle breed association engagement on Facebook” Contact: Courtney Gibson at

Communicator events approaching

February 11, 2019
Deadline for full paper proposals for the 2019 Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Life and Human Sciences (ACE) annual meeting, June 22-27, in San Antonio, Texas.

March 4, 2019
Deadline for poster abstracts for the 2019 Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Life and Human Sciences (ACE) annual meeting, June 22-27, in San Antonio, Texas.

April 1-4, 2019
“Linking, innovating, motivation, and engaging for resilient agricultural systems”
Conference of the Association for International Agricultural and Extension Educators (AIAEE) in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad & Tobago.

Looking for the mass human

We close this issue of ACDC News with a thought about the distinction between informing and communicating. Dr. Richard Nostbakken, communications director for the International Development Research Council, expressed it at a seminar in Kenya during 1990:

“There are what we call mass media, but there are few mass audiences, and I think no one has ever met a mass man.”

Best wishes and good searching

Please pass along your reactions, suggestions and ideas. Feel free to invite our help as you search for information. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @ACDCUIUC. And please suggest (or send) agricultural communications documents we might add to this unique and valuable collection. We welcome them in hard copy (sent to Ag Comm Documentation Center, Room 510, 1101 S. Goodwin Avenue, Urbana, IL 61801) or in electronic format sent to

Click Here for a printer-friendly PDF of this newsletter.