ACDC News – Issue 98-15

What are the ethical duties of those who communicate with consumers about agriculture?

A new audiotape in the Documentation Center addresses this question, through a presentation made during September at the National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA) Issues Forum, “Ethics in Agriculture,” in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The speaker, Dr. Kris Bunton of the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, Minnesota, emphasized these three ethical duties of professionals in agricultural relations:

  1. Minimize harm to people (those reached and those represented).  Avoid “using” people to convey a story and respect the dignity and diversity of people featured in messages.
  2. Tell the truth.  Maximize the truth of what you tell and minimize efforts to manipulate audiences.
  3. Minimize conflict of interest.  Tell who you are and whom you represent.

Dr. Bunton, of the Department of Journalism and Mass Communications, also offered several tests to evaluate the ethics of one’s persuasive communications.

Let us know if you would like to learn more about this presentation.  Ask about the audiotape entitled, “The Ethics of Ag Relations.”

Three other ethics-related presentations from Issues Forum. 

Here are the titles of three other communications-related presentations that have been added to the Documentation Center from that conference, in the form of audiotapes from NAMA:

  • “Precision farming: who owns the information?”
  • “Consumers: how much do they know and how much should they know about food production?”
  • “Meat processing and handling: how much should be told?”

A copy of the “1998 CMF&Z Food Safety Survey” has just arrived, through the generosity of CMF&Z Public Relations, Des Moines, Iowa.

The Food Safety Survey was conducted in conjunction with the Industry Council on Food Safety, a restaurant and food service industry coalition.  CMF&Z has helped monitor food safety issues in the U.S. since 1993.

This 39-page report summarizes results of a survey among newspaper editors and a random sample of American consumers about a range of food safety issues.

  • Perceived importance of food safety.
  • Beliefs of editors about how informed the American public is about food safety.
  • Food safety issues of greatest concern and most open to consumer action.
  • Consumer perceptions of media credibility on food safety issues.
  • Attitudes of consumers and editors toward the role and credibility of interest groups.
  • Perceptions about how effectively various groups communicate with the media.

A word of thanks from Turkey. 

“I would like to thank you for your kind help,” wrote an online agribusiness user located in Turkey.  “It became very useful for us.”
In this case, the Documentation Center staff had provided service in the form of a referral to another information source.

New scanner in the Center.

A new scanner in the Agricultural Communications Documentation Center will help us provide more materials and images to you, in electronic form.  Let us know if you would like to explore this possibility as you gather information for your projects.

Where are we finding agricultural communications literature these days? 

Well, from many sources.  But interlibrary loan is one of the most interesting (and labor intensive).

For example, during early November we reviewed documents loaned to us from libraries at the following institutions: University of New Mexico, Virginia Polytechnic University, Chicago Public Library, North Carolina State University, Michigan State University, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Illinois Benedictine College, University of Iowa and Purdue University.

We appreciate efforts of the University of Illinois Library in helping us carry out this time-consuming process.  Interlibrary loan helps us identify materials that might not otherwise be available to users of the Center.

 Would you like our help in announcing a meeting related to agricultural communications?

If so, let us know.  We will be glad to call such meetings to the attention of online readers of the “News and Announcements” page.

Best regards and good searching. 

Please let us know if we can help you find information and/or if you can suggest documents that we might add to this collection.

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