ACDC News – Issue 98-02

New link to rural media.

You will see a new listing this month on our page of links related to agricultural communications. It is the web site of the Rural Media Association of South Australia (RMASA), an association of rural journalists and others in the rural sector of South Australia who deliver information of interest or benefit to the rural community. You will find on the site current information about goals, activities and committees of the organization.

Please let us know if you are aware of other professional rural communicator groups with web sites not yet included in our page of related links.

How the public feels about the safety of food.

A survey report deposited recently in the Documentation Center sheds light on current public opinion about food safety. The document is: “Food safety survey revealing: study shows consumer acceptance of irradiation increasing,” Food Safety Digest, November/December 1997.

CMF&Z Public Relations conducted this survey among U.S. consumers and editors who cover food and food safety issues. Results suggest that consumers are becoming more concerned about the safety of food. The study also identifies food safety issues of greatest concern to consumers and shows sharp differences between consumers and editors on why food safety is becoming more important.

Let us know if you would like to see this report and do not have access to it, locally.

Fifth book published. 

Professor Bob Hays, agricultural communications faculty member and coordinator of the Agricultural Communications Documentation Center here at the University of Illinois, recently published his fifth book. It is entitled A Race at Bay: New York Times Editorials on “the Indian Problem,” 1860-1990 (Southern Illinois University Press, Carbondale, 1997. 357 pp.)

Through analysis of editorials in the Times, Hays examines what the newspaper commonly referred to over a 40-year period as “the Indian Problem.” The paper published nearly a thousand editorials about Native Americans between 1860 and 1900. Hays analyzes how editors addressed major aspects of the subject: status of the Indian, national Indian policy, the chiefs, massacres, treaties, public opinion, role of the press and others.

Over the 40-year period,

Hays reports, Times editors found public apathy and ignorance on the topic, plus a prevailing public opinion quite different from their own. He observes that by 1900 the paper “had come full circle in its philosophy concerning the Native American as ward of the nation.” Early editorial concerns that often centered on “thieving, murdering Indians” had shifted over the 40 years toward broken promises, land-grabbing settlers, graft and incompetence in government services, unfair taxes, flawed public policies and other injustices to Native Americans.

“I hope the retelling adds something to our understanding of why things are the way they are,” Hays explains, in describing the intent of this book. “If we understand better how we got here, we may be better prepared to decide where we ought to go next.”

“The shoemaker’s children are going barefoot,”

Observes Mark Stober, an agricultural marketing communicator who works with Dudnyk Advertising and Public Relations. He is a former president of the American Association of Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow.

Stober notes that communications in agriculture is changing rapidly, but he wonders if anyone is chronicling and analyzing the changes. His interest is more than academic in nature. He notes that, early in his career, he gained valuable perspective from studies of developments in rural media. The studies helped him understand the historic underpinnings of some of the communications organizations and changes that he has seen.

He wonders who are generating research to help today’s young agricultural communicators understand and respond to the many changes they see around them.

Make mine well done. 

Yes, it is true that some folks in midwestern America like their steaks cooked thoroughly. A sign above the kitchen door of one small-town restaurant in central Illinois reads: “When the smoke alarm goes off, it’s done.”

Best regards and good searching.

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