ACDC News – Issue 21-04

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“What Hollywood can teach researchers about scientific storytelling”

Screenwriting classes and a TV production internship have boosted the science communication skills of Josh Ettinger, author of this 2020 career column in Nature.  As a PhD candidate at the University of Oxford, UK, he suggested that scientists should learn from screenwriters, who are experts in creating narratives.


You can read the advice he offered from his screenwriting experience here.

When academic reports become media narratives: bridging the language gap

A viewpoint article we have added from the journal Food Policy called attention to that gap. It appeared through an examination of ethics in the practice of agricultural and applied economics. University-based agricultural and resource economists Anna Josephson and Jeffrey Michler discussed ethical issues that arise during the collection, management, and analysis of data. They also addressed ethical issues that agricultural and applied economists face as they formulate, fund, and disseminate their research.

“Bridging the ‘language gap’ between researchers and journalists is key to reducing distortions introduced when academic stories become media narratives,” the authors emphasized. They suggested “working to educate both sides of the discourse” as a way to help ensure less information is lost in translation.


You can read the article by open access here.

Environmental journalists speak out about racial equality in news organizations

 “The Society of Environmental Journalists stands with journalists of color who are shedding light on systemic racism, inequities, and discrimination inside and outside of the newsroom.”  This statement introduced a declaration which SEJ adopted recently.


You can read the two-page document here.

Strong potentials for academic libraries in partnering with communities

Libraries at colleges and universities are uniquely well suited to become a productive force for researcher-community partnerships, according to a 2021 research report we have added to the ACDC collection. In findings reported in the Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement, a team of researchers concluded that academic libraries can:

  • Offer expertise in teaching research inquiry skills
  • Facilitate collaborative work throughout the research process
  • Provide space and other material resources for research
  • Curate the “too-often-hidden intellectual resource of research support staff”


You can read this journal article by open access here.

How not to write about African cuisines: a guide for American food journalism

We have added to the ACDC collection a research essay with suggestions for broadening the American culinary canon.  Writing in Gastronomica: The Journal for Food Studies, Naa Baako Ako-Adjei observed that despite some broadening of the American palate, Americans have shown little interest in the cuisines of Sub-Saharan Africa.  Noted reason: “…limited and often stereotyped representations of African cuisines by food journalists and restaurant reviewers in newspapers and gourmet food magazines.”


“…it is important that food journalists not reinforce stereotypes about African cuisines, such as that they are undifferentiated from one another or that they are interchangeable with Southern cuisine (or Brazilian or Caribbean cuisines). Also, discussions about war and famine in restaurant reviews should no longer be axiomatic.”


You can read the essay by open access here.

Communicator events approaching

Uncertainties of the COVID-19 health issue continue to prompt flexible event planning. Here are plans of which we are aware, with contact information you can use for details.

May 20-22, 2021

“Back in the Saddle” American Horse Publications Equine Media Conference for members, in Irving, Texas. AHP is celebrating 50 years.


June 6-9, 2021

“Connect. Create. Achieve” 2021 Institute of the Cooperative Communicators Association (CCA) in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Information at:

July 20-22, 2021

“Breaking New Ground.” 2021 Agri-Marketing Conference in Kansas City, Missouri.


June 21-23, 2021

“Elevating Voices.” Virtual conference of the Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Life and Human Sciences (ACE).


Swedish writer wins Science Fiction Award

We close this issue of ACDC News with a second winner in the 2020 Bullwer-Lytton Fiction Contest. As mentioned last month, it is a whimsical literary competition that challenges entrants to compose opening sentences to the worst of all possible novels. The English Department at San Jose State University has sponsored it since 1982.  This winning entry in the Science Fiction category caught our attention because it featured communicating about food. It came from David Hynes of Bromma, Sweden:


“You folks from outa town?” inquired waitress Ginny, shifting her wad of gum, notepad at the ready to take orders, while the slime-green, scale-covered, three-eyed members of the Dzznks family, who had traveled many a parsec from their rock planet home in the Large Magellanic Cloud, rubbering their eyes over the menu in Buck’s Diner, wondered if ‘grits” tasted just as good as they sounded.”

Best regards and wishes

ACDC is a resource for you, so please 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 valued international collection. We welcome them in hard copy (sent to Ag Comm Documentation Center, Room 510, 1101 S. Goodwin Avenue, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL 61801) – or in electronic format sent to








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