ACDC News – Issue 19-04

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Case report: Attempted editing of a scientific report on sea level rise

The ACDC collection now contains two 2018 articles about removal of the word “anthropogenic” (term for people’s impact on nature) from the draft executive summary of a sea level rise report for the U. S. National Park Service. The scientific report is intended to inform officials and the public about how to protect park resources and visitors from climate change. Evidence of editing was reported during early April in a Reveal News article from the Center for Investigative Reporting. The final Park Service report was released during mid-May with the removed wording restored.

You can read both articles here and here.

Australians extend their highest honor to a rural journalist

We join many others, globally, in congratulating Australian rural journalist Leigh Radford for being awarded the Order of Australia Medal in 2019 Australia Day honours. The Order of Australia is the pre-eminent way Australians recognize the achievements and services of their fellow citizens. Across 30 years he served through the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) in regional and national rural programming. As reporter, presenter, then national head of rural and national programs with ABC Regional, he touched lives across the nation, and beyond.

Leigh Radford

A news item from the Australian Council of Agricultural Journalists explained that, as head, “he led a team of over 300…and was responsible for iconic radio programs like ‘The Country Hour’ and TV productions like ‘Landline” and “Backroads” and groundbreaking programs like “Heywire’.” Associates in Rural Media South Australia also emphasized his numerous voluntary services and a “lasting legacy that will improve the productivity, profitability and welfare of rural communities across the Australian continent.”



How consumers in 10 countries view print and paper in a digital world

We recently added a 16-page report of findings from a 2017 survey involving more than 10,700 consumers in 10 countries.  It was commissioned by Two Sides North America, a non-profit organization interested in paper as a renewable resource and was conducted by Toluna, an independent research firm.  It assessed consumer preferences, attitudes, and trust, as related to print and paper. A few of the findings:

  • Respondents said they prefer to read the printed versions of books (72%), magazines (72%), and newspapers (55%) over digital options
  • 53% said they are concerned that overuse of electronic devices could be damaging their health
  • 51% said they trust stories read in newspapers (51%) more than in stories found in social media (24%)

You can read this research report here.

Five barriers to engaging non-operating landowners in conservation practices on rented farmland

Efforts to promote conservation programs often focus on farm operators. A 2019 research report in the journal Land Use Policy looked at landowners not directly involved in farm operations. Interviews with 40 non-operating landowners, farm operators, farm managers, and extension personnel in three Midwest U. S. states identified five categories of barriers to adoption of conservation practices. They included:

  • Cash rent lease terms
  • Rental market dynamics
  • Information deficits and asymmetries
  • Cognitive and interpersonal factors
  • Financial motivations of non-operating landowners

Authors suggested that agricultural conservation programs could readily apply these insights.

You can read the article here.

Progress in preserving historic audio-visual resources

We are delighted to report progress in preserving and digitizing some classic Extension communications films (circa 1960) and a 1969 audio tape about the future of farm broadcasting in the U. S. They came into ACDC as part of the Francis C. Byrnes Collection – and in risky condition. Thanks to the Preservation, Conservation, and Digitization Services of the University of Illinois Library, they are now cleaned and rehoused in archival-quality cases and canisters. Most films are from the influential National Project in Agricultural Communications (NPAC). Sample topics involve:

  • Missed signals in Extension (seven situations)
  • Changing the change agent
  • The changing scene
  • Fidelity of report

The audio tape, “Future of farm broadcasting,” features a panel discussion at the 1969 National Association of Farm Broadcasters (NAFB) convention in Chicago, Illinois.

Contact us at if you are interested in reviewing these historical resources.

Communicator events approaching

April 30-May 2, 2019
2019 Annual meeting of the Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA) in Charlotte, North Carolina USA. Information:

May 24-28, 2019
“Communication beyond boundaries.” 69th annual conference of the International Communication Association (ICA) in Washington, D.C. USA. Information:

June 2-5, 2019
“Southern accent on fresh ideas.” Annual institute of the Cooperative Communicators Association (CCA) in Savannah, Georgia USA. Information:

June 24-27, 2019
“Communications connections.” Annual conference of the Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Life and Human Sciences (ACE) in San Antonio, Texas USA. Information:

July 27-31, 2019
“Global connections in America’s heartland.” International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) Congress and Ag Media Summit (AMS) in Minneapolis, Minnesota USA. Joint meeting of AAEA – The Agricultural Communicators Network, Livestock Publications Council (LPC), the Connectiv Agri Media Committee, and the national Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow (ACT). Combined AMS and IFAJ information available at

September 12-13, 2019
“Extending horizons: Extension’s role in climate, rural industry, and community challenges. Conference of the Australasia Pacific Extension Network (APEN) in Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia. Information:

Scrubbing the academic jargon

We close this issue of ACDC News with a thought we read recently in correspondence. It does not address agricultural communications, in particular – but does it sound familiar?

“I often wonder how many communications practitioners are out there who might benefit from academic research once it has been scrubbed of its 50-cent words and academic jargon.”

We in ACDC read thousands of academic research reports and often ponder the same thing. They heighten our respect for communicators who translate, distill, simplify, and otherwise make the findings of science understandable to diverse audiences.

Best wishes and good searching

We have a new email! You can now reach us at

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 international 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