ACDC News – Issue 21-01

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Hearty welcome to Owen Roberts

On December 1, Dr. Owen Roberts became a faculty member in the Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communications (ALEC) Program at the University of Illinois. He will be working with colleagues in advancing the agricultural communications curriculum (undergraduate and graduate), teaching courses, and helping students and professionals communicate effectively and grow in their careers.

Owen brings to this effort his experience as president of the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) and 30-plus years of honored communications and journalism experience at the University of Guelph. Located near Toronto in Ontario, it is Canada’s leading agricultural university. His professional connections range broadly from the Association of Communication Excellence (ACE) and AAEA –The Ag Communicators Network in the U. S. to agricultural journalist organizations throughout the world. As well, he strengthens the worldwide mission of the Agricultural Communications Documentation Center.  His University of Illinois e-mail address is oroberts@illinois.edu.

“We in ALEC are tremendously excited to have Dr. Roberts join our team,” reports Director David Rosch.  “Our Illinois students will be well served by the breadth of his professional experiences and perspectives in agricultural communications.”


COVID-19 has “brought the restaurant to your home. And that’s here to stay.”

This message greeted participants in “Foodservice: delivered,” a recent virtual conference of the Produce Marketing Association. The four panelists emphasized that once the foodservice industry re-emerges from the coronavirus shutdowns, it will be changed forever. They offered examples and advice about how the industry can make sure the change is for the better.

“Think of ways to serve,” an executive chef urged, for example. “When we think about what it means to be in hospitality, it means to serve. This is a call to action.”

 

You can read the 2020 news article in The Packer by open access here. We are actively adding documents about the communications aspects of COVID-19, globally.


Mutual influence – best for communicating about nature

In communicating with others, our influence on them affects how much we are influenced by them. A research team from Germany and the United Kingdom  reported evidence of this tendency in a recent issue of Nature Communications.

Using an experimental perceptual task, they found that participants took more advice from the partner who took more advice from them. “…we showed that reciprocity is both a dynamic process and is abolished when people believed they interacted with a computer. Reciprocal social influence is a signaling medium for human-to-human communication that goes beyond aggregation of evidence for decision improvement.”

 

You can read this journal article by open access here.


What every ag and food communicator should know

Lyle E. Orwig summed up four decades of learning last month as he retired from Charleston|Orwig (now C.O.nxt), a communication agency he founded, Hartland, Wisconsin.  His career adventures took him from what associates described as “the farm fields of Illinois to the most influential circles within food and agriculture.”

 

You can read 12 top takeaways from Lyle’s distinguished career here.


How behavioral sciences can promote health, safety and self-governance in today’s risky online ecosystem

Major web platforms “have deep knowledge of users’ behavior, whereas users know little about how their data is collected, how it is exploited for commercial or political purposes, or how it and the data of others are used to shape their online experience.” A four-nation research team offered that perspective in a 2020 article in Nature Human Behavior.  They identified untapped technological cues and competencies needed to help promote truth, autonomy, and democratic discourse.

 

You can read the article 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.

January 22, 2021

Deadline for research papers for presentation at the 2021 ACE Conference (held virtually) June 21-22. Contact: Research Director Garrett Steede at gsteede@umn.edu

February 2-3, 2021 (online/virtual symposium rescheduled from on-site)

National Agricultural Communications Symposium (NACS) will feature (1) research or professional papers and (2) research and innovative ideas posters.

Information about papers: Dr. Shuyant Qu at squ@iastate.edu  Information about posters: Annie Specht at specht.21@osu.edu

February 12, 2021

a)Deadline for research proposals to the Research and Academic Programs Learning Community for presentation at the 2021 ACE Conference (held virtually) June 21-22. Contact: Vice Chair Laura Fischer at laura.fischer@ttu.edu

b)Deadline for posters. Contact: Secretary Shannon Norris at norriss@nmsu.edu

c)Deadline for theses and dissertations. Contact: Vice Chair Laura Fischer at laura.fischer@ttu.edu

April 12-15, 2021

“Mediterranean Agriculture, Food and Environment.” Annual conference of the Association for International Agricultural and Extension Education (AIAEE) in Thessaloniki, Greece.

Information: https://aiaee2021.wordpress.com/


Sixteen hints on how to be your own weather prophet

We close this issue of ACDC News with some weather wisdom from a century ago. The “Reflections Farm and Food History” website of Farms.com features 16 hints published in a 1919 issue of The Farmer’s Advocate.  They were attributed to the New York Sun. Here are a couple samples:

  • “A foggy morning is usually the forerunner of a clear afternoon.”
  • “A ring around the moon means a storm is coming soon.”

 

You can read the 14 others here.


Best regards and wishes for your year ahead

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 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 acdc@library.illinois.edu

ACDC News Issue – 20-12

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Part of the next food revolution

A 2019 journal article, “Edible urbanism 5.0,” advanced a “novel concept that considers trade-offs between ecosystem services and disservices.” Authors Alessio Russo and Guiseppe T. Cirella observed that two decades of promoting urban agriculture and food systems have devoted little attention to ecosystem disservices.

“Edible urbanism integrates three main principles of sustainability by fulfilling food security, resilience, and social inclusion,” they said. It links site-specific, best practices by integrating a green infrastructure approach with modernized food production techniques. Authors introduced international examples of “edible cities” and offered recommendations for future edible urbanism as part of the next food revolution.

You can read this open-access article here.


Survey shows COVID-19 is changing how Americans shop, eat, and think about food

 The 2020 Food and Health Survey by the International Food Information Council revealed that 85% of Americans have made at least some change in the foods they eat or how they prepare it because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Among those who have made any change, the biggest – far and away – is that 60% of Americans reported cooking at home more. Respondents also said they were snacking more (32%), washing fresh produce more often (30%) and thinking about food more than usual (27%).

You can review a summary of findings here.


What Czech food producers experienced using regional food labels: Mixed results

This 2019 journal article involved promotion of local foods. It featured results of a telephone survey among 208 producers who used the Czech “Regional Food” quality label. Reported findings:

  • Producers saw a positive improvement of sales following acquisition of the label.
  • They did not notice greater interest in their products during campaigns to support awareness of the Regional Food label.

Findings prompted a recommendation that it is worthwhile to keep the regional food label but improve its visibility by better marketing support.  Examples included more visible and frequent local events and more assistance in securing new distribution channels, such as government institutions, schools, and hospitals.

You can read the article here.


Communicators as canaries in the mine

We recently added to the ACDC collection a journal article emphasizing the key role of communicators within organizations. The article addressed “increasing numbers of organizations …run as fast food restaurants, focusing on: efficiency, calculability, predictability, and control of people.” Researcher Piet Verhoeven noted the positive results of this approach to management, as well as negative effects “that need to be addressed by organizations and societies.”

“Stakeholders who disagree with the opinions and ideas of the organization come knocking on the door and generally that will be the door of the CorpCom (corporate communication) professional.  … All types of tension throughout the organization, for example, those regarding environmental, health, and other societal issues, seem to converge on the CorpCom department.”

The abstract with terms and conditions for full-text access to “Corporate communication or McCommunication?” is available here. Or confer with us at acdc@library.illinois.edu


“Most Americans are wary of industry-funded research”

That is the title of a 2019 research report we added recently to the ACDC collection. It reflected results of a national survey among American adults.  In this study, 58 percent said they would be less apt to trust scientific research findings when the research was funded by an interest group.

“Public skepticism about industry funding is consistent with past Pew Research Center findings. For example, a 2016 survey found Americans trusted scientists more than food industry leaders to provide full and accurate information about the health effects of eating genetically-modified foods.”

You can read the research report 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 website addresses you can use to track updates.

February 2-3, 2021  (online/virtual symposium rescheduled from on-site)
National Agricultural Communications Symposium (NACS) will feature presentation of research and professional papers, posters, business meeting, and other sharing of information by faculty and professionals.

 

April 12-15, 2021

“Mediterranean Agriculture, Food and Environment.” Annual conference of the Association for International Agricultural and Extension Education (AIAEE) in Thessaloniki, Greece.

Information: https://aiaee2021.wordpress.com/


Trying to dodge infection

We close this issue of ACDC News with a saying from the Australian Bush. Maybe it can help us deal with the threat of infection during this global pandemic:

“If you’re not always grateful for what you get, be thankful for what you escape!”


Best regards and wishes during this challenging time

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 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 acdc@library.illinois.edu

 

 

ACDC News – Issue 20-11

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Extreme floods. Short memories.

“How long do floods throughout the millennium remain in the collective memory?” A team of environmental researchers at Czech University of Life Sciences asked that question as title of their 2019 article in Nature Communications. They tested data on 1,293 settlements founded across nine centuries (1118-1845) in the Vltava river basin in central Europe, enduring seven extreme (100-year or more) floods.

“We conclude that flood memory depends on living witnesses, and fades away already within two generations. Historical memory is not sufficient to protect human settlements from the consequences of rare catastrophic floods.” Authors offered suggestions for keeping memories alive – and history from repeating itself.

Do you wonder if a deep “eroding memory” tendency may apply to human experiences beyond devastating floods? You can read this article by open access here.


Where UK consumers place trust for information about novel foods produced by nanotechnologies

We recently added to the ACDC collection a 2018 Food Policy article about this topic. Researchers investigated levels of trust that United Kingdom consumers placed in 16 institutions as sources of information involving use of nanotechnologies in food production and packaging. Findings identified three different consumer groups and provided insights into the development of best practices and policies in risk communication and management.

You can read the article by open access here.


Online tools that reporters use to track wildfires before things get really hot

Joseph A. Jones recently identified a variety of tools and sources North American journalists use to “stay ahead of the smoke and fire.” His tips to members of the Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ) included databases, websites, situation reports, fire statistics, incident display maps, state forester and tribal contacts, and other sources.

You can read the August 12, 2020, SEJ online article here.


A new perspective on agricultural (including food) communications

For decades, we agricultural journalists and communicators have fielded questions about whether we talk to plants and animals. Of course, we do. And now we can add an assurance that our guts communicate with our brains. How else do we (and others) get “that feeling in our guts?”

We bring this up because of a 2020 article published in Automatic Neuroscience: Basic and Clinical. It reflects the recent work of University of Illinois researchers. They explained their findings as a kind of cross-talk between the entire brain and our small intestines (in particular) through neuronal connections.

“It’s not a surprise that the brain responds to signals in the gut, initiating motor functions involved with digestion,” a co-author noted. Looking ahead, he observed: “…we may finally begin to understand how hunger makes us ‘hangry,’ or how a stressful day becomes an irritable bowel.”

Read a research summary, “Gut communicates with the entire brain,” here.


Information issues in the wake of “Ag-Gag” legislation

A recent addition to the ACDC collection is entitled “Behind a veil of secrecy: animal abuse, factory farms, and Ag-Gag legislation.” It was published during 2016 in the Contemporary Justice Review. Authors Pamela Fiber-Ostrow and Jarret S. Lovell addressed “the abundance and increasing laws expanding the rights of agricultural interests over the rights and duties of American citizens and the animals with whom they coexist.”

You can read the abstract here with full-text PDF available for purchase from the publisher. Or confer with us at acdc@library.illinois.edu


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 website addresses you can use to track updates.

February 7-8, 2021 (online/virtual symposium rescheduled from on-site)

National Agricultural Communications Symposium (NACS) will feature (1) research or professional papers and (2) research and innovative ideas posters.

Information about papers: Dr. Shuyant Qu at squ@iastate.edu. Information about posters: Dr. Annie Specht at specht.21@osu.edu.

April 12-15, 2021

“Mediterranean Agriculture, Food and Environment.” Annual conference of the Association for International Agricultural and Extension Education (AIAEE) in Thessaloniki, Greece.

Information: https://aiaee2021.wordpress.com/


 Is it talent, luck, business skill, or ….?

We close this issue of ACDC News with a recent thought from Alex DiNovo, president of the DNO Produce group of companies, Columbus, Ohio. He was writing in The Packer about success in the roller-coaster fresh produce business.

“As far as I can tell, individual skill in this business is not as much about innate talent or God-given brilliance as much as it is persistently applied hard work and the lessons learned from failure in those endeavors.


Best regards and wishes during this challenging time

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 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 acdc@library.illinois.edu

 

 

 

ACDC News – Issue 20-10

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“Artificial intelligence and the future of humans”

As use of artificial intelligence (AI) continues to spread, will people be better off than they are today? To address that question, the Pew Research Center recently used a survey among 979 technology pioneers, innovators, developers, business and policy leaders, researchers, and activists. Responses suggested that most of those experts, whether optimistic or not, expressed concerns about the long-term impact of AI on the essential elements of being human.

You can review their concerns and suggested solutions in the research report here. They involve and speak to the future of all who are engaged in human interactions related to agriculture.


Impact of socially-engaged theater across communities

That is the title of an article addressing the question of how diverse audiences from rural and metropolitan areas respond to powerful yet provocative material through engaged theatre. It was published in the Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement. Researcher Harrison Long analyzed the impact of a theatre performance which adapted Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn as interpreted by ex-slave and abolitionist Frederick Douglass. An ensemble from Kennesaw State University presented it in seven communities, including rural mountain towns.

Long observed in closing: “Socially engaged theatre creates a unique forum for constructive dialogue across communities between students and teachers, between performers and audiences. Wherever we went, “Splittin’ the Raft” prompted productive discussions about race, gender, economic equity, theatre, literature, music, and the social circumstances that inspire socially-engaged works.”

You can read the journal article here.


Whither the love of hunting?

We recently added a 2012 journal article of that title to the ACDC collection. Researchers Kristopher Robison and Daniel Ridenour analyzed several years of survey data on hunting and changes in hunting license acquisitions at the state level. They used the data to test a videophilia hypothesis. Findings indicated that a switch to certain kinds of electronic entertainment and the growth in urban living explained the decline in hunting.

“Unfortunately, revenue declines, animal over-population and an overall disinterest in conservation are probable outcomes of this major shift in recreational pursuits.”

You can read the Human Dimensions of Wildlife article here.


Remembering a special AG Comm leader and ACDC contributor

We honor Dr. K. Robert Kern, a respected agricultural communications leader, at word of his passing early last month. A 31-year member of the Iowa State University faculty, he chaired the ISU Extension Information Service for 17 years, was a professor of journalism and mass communication, and served as president of the American Association of Agricultural College Editors.
Farm-raised in Illinois, he earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Illinois and is recognized as the first agricultural communications graduate here. He put together this combination of interests during the 1940s, before a degree program existed.
Following retirement, he kindly contributed his professional papers to ACDC. Extending from 1950 to 2018, they feature handbooks, workbooks, journal articles, research reports, speeches, commentaries, history manuscripts, correspondence, and other materials of value for future research. In addition, podcasts about his career and international activities in more than 40 countries are part of the “Living Histories” here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo Courtesy of Legacy.com


Pakistani farmers’ use of mobile phones for accessing agricultural information

In this 2019 research report, more than 91 percent of sampled farmers in the Punjab province of Pakistan owned mobile phones. Market information ranked highest among farm-related uses. Major constraints on use included limited aptitude for using mobile phones and lack of awareness of information sources.

You can read the article in Ciência Rural 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 website addresses you can use to track updates.

September 14 through October 20, 2020
“British Library Food Season 2020.” Online program featuring the culture, history, sustainability, literature, and future of food. Many of the programs during this period are free. Source: Guild of Food Writers, based in the United Kingdom.
Information: https://bl.uk/events/food-season

November 16-17, 2020 (virtual conference rescheduled from on-site)
“Virtual Summit.” Ag Media Summit 2020 is a gathering of agricultural media and communications professionals. It is hosted by AAEA – The Ag Communicators Network, Livestock Publications Council (LPC), and Connectiv Ag Media Council. Information: https://agmediasummit.com/

November 18-20, 2020 (virtual convention rescheduled from on-site)
“Farm broadcasting – A trusted friend to agriculture.” Annual convention of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB).
Information: https://nafb.com/events/nafb-convention

February 7-8, 2021 (online/virtual symposium rescheduled from on-site)
National Agricultural Communications Symposium (NACS) will feature (1) research or professional papers and (2) research and innovative ideas posters.
Information about papers: Dr. Shuyant Qu at squ@iastate.edu. Information about posters: Dr. Annie Specht at specht.21@osu.edu.

April 12-15, 2021
“Mediterranean Agriculture, Food and Environment.” Annual conference of the Association for International Agricultural and Extension Education (AIAEE) in Thessaloniki, Greece.
Information: https://aiaee2021.wordpress.com/


On speaking skills

We close this issue of ACDC News with honored writer-farmer Wendell Berry’s perspective about the relationship between telling and knowing. It came to our attention in the “Cornerstones” section of Progressive Farmer magazine:

“The ability to speak exactly is intimately related to the ability to know exactly.”


Best regards and wishes during this challenging time

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 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 acdc@library.illinois.edu

ACDC News – Issue 20-09

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Novel food technologies: Are they routes – or barriers – to healthier diets?

Swiss researchers Michael Siegrist and Christina Hartmann addressed that question in their 2020 Nature Food article, “Consumer acceptance of novel food technologies.” They used a narrative review to explore factors that may explain consumers’ acceptance of gene technology, nanotechnology, cultured meat, and food irradiation.  Outcomes centered on understanding and taking seriously what consumers think.

“…disruptive food technologies will be needed to progress towards a more resilient food system,” they concluded. Taking into account the factors influencing consumers’ perceptions of novel food technologies during the early stage of development and introduction will hopefully result in a higher acceptance of such technologies.”

You can read the article here.


Environmental knowledge brokers: much more than neutral intermediaries

A team of researchers in New Zealand focused on this broker role in their recent analysis of collaborative decision making about water use and quality in the south island region of Canterbury. Tracking perspectives among community-based groups, they identified flaws in the common view of brokers as helping link knowledge producers and users to objectively translate science into policy-useable knowledge.

“Knowledge brokers are often portrayed as neutral intermediaries that act as a necessary conduit between the spheres of science and policy,” authors observed.  In practice, though, these brokers found their role complex at multiple levels and often conflictual, messy, and value laden. Authors identified kinds of expertise this influential, active, and “profoundly precarious” role requires.

You can read their 2020 article by open access in Palgrave Communications.


Code of ethics for food journalists

We have added to the ACDC collection a code of ethics developed and used by the Association of Food Journalists. It introduces 5 key principles, 3 questions to consider when putting them to practice, and 10 additional guidelines for food journalists.

You can read the code here.


Views Canadians hold about an “obesity crisis”

Recently we added a 2016 research report on results of a national public opinion poll from the Angus Reid Institute.  Findings indicated that:

  • Most Canadians (58%) reported someone in their household who was overweight or obese, either themselves or another person.
  • The vast majority (81%) of those who were themselves overweight or obese said it’s something that worried them.
  • However, most Canadians didn’t rank the matter of obesity as a crisis
  • More than one-half (54%) said they viewed it as an issue of personal freedom.
  • “Though Canadians are wary of government telling them what to eat,” …. they expressed “high levels of support for many of the recommendations the Senate committee put forward.”

You can read the report here.


Advice to reporters about need to cover local community banks

Shrinking numbers of small community banks and increasing need for credit in agriculture prompted an article on the website of the National Center for Business Journalism. Author Yu Zhang highlighted some recent changes and trends, then offered several story approaches for journalists. The 2017 article remains timely.

You can read it here.


Welcoming two new ACDC associates

We are delighted to welcome two new graduate assistants as this academic year begins. Both are candidates for graduate degrees in library and information science here at the University of Illinois.

Eunchae Hong earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from the University of Illinois and gained archiving experience in the Illinois Fire Service Institute. She also has circulation experience from the Illinois Law Library and skills in marketing and outreach.

Kevin Wiggins earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from the University of Northern Iowa (UNI). He brings work experience from the Iowa Attorney General’s Office, UNI Rod Library, UNI Museum, and Living History Farms, Urbandale, Iowa.


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 website addresses you can use to track updates.

 

September 14 through October 20, 2020

“British Library Food Season 2020.” Online program featuring the culture, history, sustainability, literature and future of food. Many of the programs during this period are free. Source: Guild of Food Writers, based in the United Kingdom.

Information: https://bl.uk/events/food-season

 

November 6-17, 2020 (virtual conference rescheduled from on-site)

“Virtual Summit.” Ag Media Summit 2020 is a gathering of agricultural media and communications professionals. It is hosted by AAEA – The Ag Communicators Network and Livestock Publications Council (LPC).

Information: https://agmediasummit.com/

 

November 18-20, 2020 (virtual convention rescheduled from on-site)

“A trusted friend to agriculture.” Annual convention of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB).

Information:  https://nafb.com/events/nafb-convention

 

April 12-15, 2021

“Mediterranean Agriculture, Food and Environment.” Annual conference of the Association for International Agricultural and Extension Education (AIAEE) in Thessaloniki, Greece.

Information: https://aiaee2021.wordpress.com/


From climate to pandemic?

A year ago, the term “climate emergency” was peaking to become Oxford Dictionaries “Word of the Year” for 2019. Global use of that term surpassed all other types of emergency to become the most written about emergency by a huge margin. We close this issue of ACDC News wondering if the coronavirus pandemic may be emerging as “Word of the Year” for 2020. Or what candidates might you expect?

Please pass along your “Word of the Year” candidate(s) here.


Best regards and wishes during this challenging time

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 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 acdc@library.illinois.edu

ACDC News – Issue 20-08

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“Win the Davidson Leader. Let’s keep the local news alive”

That banner headline in the December 2, 2019, issue of the Davidson Leader rural community newspaper represented a first for Canada. Publisher and owner Tara de Ryk, was giving the 116-year-old paper away – through an essay contest. She had edited this Saskatchewan weekly for 21 years, most of those as owner and publisher. It had repaid her investment and provided funds for retirement.

Now ready to move on from newspapering, she announced that the paper was for sale and found no interest. She considered closing it down, but local residents urged her to reconsider.  A fellow community journalist suggested she conduct a contest to identify “some young up-and-coming good journalist” who has interest and skills but lacks financing to buy into the business. That’s what she did. For a $1 entry fee, contestants could write an essay (500 words maximum) about why they would be “the perfect fit to take over this well-established newspaper business.”

You can learn more about the outcome of this “kind of crazy” adventure by reading an article, “This Publisher Launched a Contest to Give Her Newspaper Away For $1” in the Ryerson Review of Journalism.


How next-generation farmers and consumers in five countries view food and farming ahead

We recently added to the ACDC collection a 24-page research report about how more than 3,000 16- to 38-year-old farmers and consumers in five countries view the future of food and farming. Conducted during 2019 by research firm Kantar and commissioned by Corteva Agriscience, this survey tapped into a 20-year vision held by these two groups in Brazil, China, France, Russia, and the U.S.

In particular, they expressed shared interest in protecting the future of food, securing the future of independent farms, amplifying engagement between farmers and consumers, and confronting climate change.

You can read the report from Corteva.


Climate change in the American mind

That title identifies a 2019 survey report from the Yale University Program on Climate Change Communication and George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication.  It provided findings from a nationally representative survey involving 1,291 U.S. adults during March 29-April 8, 2019.

An executive summary of this 71-page report highlighted 17 aspects of responses in terms of existence, risks, causes, levels of concern, interactions about, information sources used, and local implications.

You can read the “Climate Change In the American Mind” from the Yale University Program on Climate Change Communication and George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication.


Teaching environmental reporting – “a daunting undertaking”

That’s how University of Colorado researchers Richard Stevens and Deserai Crow introduced their research report about teaching journalism students how to report on complex topics like science and the environment.  After examining contemporary literature, they engaged 120 journalism class members in a strategy that combined visual representations of abstract concepts, media texts, and interactions by blogging and discussion. They found that students improved dramatically in their grasp of scientific data, critical analysis, and applications of theoretical frameworks to questions.

You can read their article, “Teaching Millennials to engage THE environment instead of THEIR environment: A pedagogical analysis” in Applied Environmental Education and Communication.


Fond farewells to Courtney and Emily

Congratulations and hearty thanks to our departing ACDC graduate assistants, Emily Benton and Courtney Smith. Both recently completed their graduate degrees in Library and Information Sciences in the iSchool here at the University of Illinois.

In a wide range of ways, they strengthened the collection, operations, and services of the Center – always in great spirit. They will be missed here and have our best wishes.


What Czech food producers experienced using regional food labels: Mixed results

This 2019 journal article involved promotion of local foods. It featured results of a telephone survey among 208 producers who used the Czech “Regional Food” quality label. Reported findings:

  • Producers saw a positive improvement of sales following acquisition of the label.
  • They did not notice greater interest in their products during campaigns to support awareness of the Regional Food label.

Findings prompted a recommendation that it is worthwhile to keep the regional food label but improve its visibility by better marketing support.  Examples included more visible and frequent local events and more assistance in securing new distribution channels, such as government institutions, schools, and hospitals.

You can read the article “Benefits of regional food quality labels for Czech producers” at Journal on Food System Dynamics.


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 website addresses you can use to track updates.

September 15-17, 2020 (virtual conference rescheduled from on-site in June)

“Spice up your creativity.” Virtual Institute of the Cooperative Communicators Association (CCA).

Information: https://www.communicators.coop/professional-development/cca-institute

November 14-18, 2020 (on-site conference rescheduled from July 25-29)

“Ag Media Summit 2020.”  AMS is a gathering of agricultural media and communications professionals in Kansas City, Missouri. It involves AAEA – Agricultural Communicators Network, Livestock Publications Council, (LPC), and Connectiv Ag Media Council.

Information: https://agmediasummit.com/

November 18-20, 2020 (virtual convention rescheduled from on-site)

Annual convention of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB) will be held virtually. Additional information on the set-up and registration for registrants and Trade Talk exhibitors will be announced by September 1.


The worst of cowboy writing

In closing, we hope to inspire you with the winning entry in the Western category of the 2019 Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest. You may recall this whimsical international literary competition, sponsored by the English Department of San Jose State University, California. Entrants are challenged to compose opening sentences in the worst of all possible novels.

Stephanie Karnosh of Springboro, Ohio, topped the Western category of worseness with this entry:

“Yeehaw, boys, and so long,” called Eugene ‘Bullettooth Dynamite’ Jones as he rode off into the torrential downpour  on his 32-inch-tall miniature horse, Kevin, hiding a frown because he knew deep down in his heart he had yeed his last haw.”


Best regards and wishes during this challenging time

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 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 acdc@library.illinois.edu

 

ACDC News – Issue 20-07

Access to a Printer Friendly PDF of this newsletter.


Communicating to reduce waste of fresh produce

Researcher Michael Blanke, University of Bonn, developed a concept paper summarizing key “hot spots” for waste generation in Europe along the food supply chain. He cited examples of communications countermeasures such as these to reduce food waste in private households, the major origin of it in Western Europe:

  • Superstores discontinue promoting multi-packs of fresh produce
  • Abandon the “Display until” or “Sell by” date
  • Engage volunteers in collecting and arranging use of extra perishable food
  • Use social media to “food share” extra perishables in private households

You can read the article, “Challenges of Reducing Fresh Produce Waste in Europe—From Farm to Fork” at MDPI.


Uses of smartphones and social media in 11 emerging economies

Findings of a 2019 survey by the Pew Research Center indicated that text messaging was the most popular social activity among these mobile phone users. A median of 82 percent across all 11 countries said they used their phones to send text messages within the past year. Sizable shares also reported taking photographs or videos.  A median of about 60 percent used their mobile phones to search for information about health and medicine.  About the same share (59 percent) said they used their phones to learn something important for work or school.

You can read the research summary for the Pew Research Center.


“People have been faking it for years”

In this seemingly post-truth era, you may find a touch of perspective in a brief article of that title we came across recently in a 2013 issue of Science magazine. Author Yael Fitzpatrick introduced an exhibition, “Faking it: Manipulated Photography before Photoshop,” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The exhibition explored manipulation of non-digital photography from the 1840s through the early 1990s.

It did not mention manipulations of early agricultural photography.  Are you aware of potential examples (early or recent) we might add to ACDC? If so, we welcome them at acdc@library.illinois.edu.

You may be aware that AAEA – The Agricultural Communicators Network – has an “AAEA Photographers’ Code of Ethics” which addresses manipulation of photos and videos.


Butter cows: a unique sculptural medium

Pamela Simpson, professor of history at Washington and Lee University, sketched the history of sculptured butter cows in a 2019 issue of Sculpture Review. She explained that butter sculpture has roots in ancient food molds and table art for Renaissance banquets. In the United States, it debuted during the late 1800s and first quarter of the 1900s.  It appeared at fairs and expositions.

“Both amateur and professional sculptors used this unusual medium for busts and portraits, dairy-related subjects, and models of buildings. The ephemeral nature of the medium and the novelty of food as art drew crowds to exhibits advertising butter as the natural, healthy alternative to oleomargarine.”

From experience, we know that “Where’s the butter cow?” remains a common question today from visitors attending state fairs that feature sculptured butter cows.

You can read the journal article “Butter Cows and Butter Buildings: A History of an Unconventional Sculpture Medium” with the provided pdf.


Remembering “a passionate and influential advocate for smallholder farmers around the world”

We in ACDC join many others in remembering a long-time colleague, Burton Swanson, who passed away recently. During his career in international rural development here at the University of Illinois, he served in more than 40 countries throughout the world.  He co-founded and later directed the International Program for Agricultural Knowledge Systems (INTERPAKS). This unique multi-disciplinary program provided research and professional development in support of extension and rural development. It placed special emphasis on improving extension and advisory systems – and livelihoods of the rural poor.

Several years ago Professor Swanson contributed valuable INTERPAKS resources to the ACDC collection. They include more than 900 documents he authored or gathered as references for his academic career. One of several books he authored was translated into seven languages. His many honors included the Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Society for Agricultural Extension.

You can read a memorial to him, “Remembering Burt Swanson,” at ACES News.


Congratulations and thanks to Kimberly Villanueva

During May, Kimberly completed her undergraduate studies in the journalism stream of agricultural communications here at the University of Illinois. She also completed more than a year of valuable service as student assistant in ACDC. We extend our hearty congratulations, sincere thanks, and best wishes.

As a member of the ACDC team, Kimberly contributed a sharp eye in identifying literature about agricultural journalism and communications. As well, she effectively helped review and process it to serve users during the years ahead.


Communicator events approaching

Uncertainties of the COVID-19 health issue continue to prompt flexible event planning, as you know. Here are plans of which we are aware, with website addresses you can use to track updates.

 August 11-13, 2020 (on-site conference rescheduled from April 15-17 with virtual option.)
“Charting the course.” Conference of the National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA) in Kansas City, Missouri.

Information: https://www.nama.org/agri-marketing-conference.html

September 14-16, 2020 (virtual conference rescheduled from on-site in June)
“Spice up your creativity.” Annual CCA Institute of the Cooperative Communicators Association in Buffalo, New York.

Information: https://www.communicators.coop

November 14-18, 2020 (on-site conference rescheduled from July 25-29)
“Ag Media Summit 2020.”  AMS is an industry-wide gathering of agricultural media and communications professionals in Kansas City, Missouri. It joins together AAEA–The Agricultural Communicators Network, Livestock Publications Council, and Ag Media Council of Connectiv

Information: https://agmediasummit.com


Farmers worrying about bad public relations (a half century ago)

We close this issue of ACDC News with a thought from Paul C. Johnson, long-time editor of Prairie Farmer. He was speaking in 1970 at a seminar on communicating agriculture to the non-agricultural public.

“I do not agree with the often-stated opinion that farmers have bad public relations. I think we spend too much time worrying about whether people think we are good guys or bad guys. … We have proved that we can produce food successfully. We have proved that we could be good citizens in the rural community that was. We have yet to prove that we can successfully contribute to the rural community that is to be. If we prove to our neighbors, both urban and country non-farm, that we can throw our influence and our skills into organization on the side of solving the social problems of our time, we won’t need to worry about our public relations.


Best regards and wishes during this challenging time

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 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 acdc@library.illinois.edu

ACDC News – Issue 20-06

Access to a Printer Friendly PDF of this newsletter.


Timely reminder for agricultural journalists

On May 3, members of the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists got a timely reminder about the work of agricultural journalists. IFAJ President Owen Roberts used the United Nations celebration of World Press Freedom Day to highlight an example of their special role in keeping people informed and safe.

“The world will change hugely in the next 365 days as we grapple with the pandemic,” he emphasized. “But two things won’t change: these are farmers’ needs to feed the world, and journalists’ role in helping them do so.”

You can read the reminder on the IFAJ website.


How the world feels these days about the environment

We recently added to the ACDC collection a global snapshot of how satisfied people are with their efforts to preserve the environment and the quality of their air and water.  Results show wide-ranging results of this 2019 World Gallup Poll among adults in 145 countries and areas.

You can read the findings on the Gallup Blog. They were released April 22, on the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.


“Polarized communities and local journalism”

During this U.S. election year, rural journalists and communicators may find special interest in a case study reported during 2018 in the journal Journalism.  Researcher Andrea Wenzel used focus groups, story diaries, and local interviews to analyze how increasingly partisan attitudes and messages affect relationships and media in “a complexly purple” region of Kentucky.

Findings highlighted how partisan distrust weakened links among actors in local storytelling networks. Distrust involved media and extended to fellow residents and community groups associated with “other” political perspectives. Findings offered an example of how use of communication infrastructure theory can strengthen trust through collaborative engagement on local issues.

You can read the abstract for the article, “Red state, purple town: polarized communities and local journalism in rural and small-town Kentucky,” Or confer with us at acdc@library.illinois.edu to get access.


Where to begin communicating about weight (and obesity)

Begin with words? Begin with silhouettes?

Findings of recent research among adults in Australia suggest the latter. “Silhouettes may act as an effective visual cue in initiating weight related discussions,” concluded the authors of a 2019 article in BMC Public Health. Participants in an online survey were asked to categorize their own body size using medically accepted words and previously published silhouettes.

  • A majority of respondents were able to self-perceive their weight status accurately using silhouettes
  • Females were significantly more likely than males to be accurate in their self-perception, using both medicalized words and silhouettes
  • Weight status misperception was more likely to exist among those in the underweight BMI or obese BMI categories than in the healthy weight or overweight categories
  • Respondents in the obese BMI category were significantly more likely to accurately self-perceive their weight status through silhouettes than medicalized words.

You can read the journal article, “Is social exposure to obesity associated with weight status misconception?” at BMC Public Health.


Impact today of radio broadcasts and audio CDs on smallholder farmers in Uganda

We have added to the ACDC collection a 2019 research report that identified audio media as vital sources of information for resource-poor farmers in western Uganda. Researchers Mark Kaahwa and Chang Zhu involved 1,000 smallholder banana farmers in a study featuring a baseline survey, an intervention, and an end-line survey.

Results revealed a statistically significant association between radio broadcasts/audio CDs and knowledge gain regarding most banana farming practices by farmers. Farmers’ characteristics such as age, gender, and level of education did not influence the uptake of knowledge.

You can read the research report, “The effectiveness of audio media in enhancing farmers” knowledge,” at the International Journal of Recent Contributions from Engineering, Science and IT .


Sample dilemmas help teach ethical decision making in an agricultural sales course

A 2020 article in the journal Applied Economics Teaching Resources reported on use of a hypothetical case study to help university students identify and address ethical dilemmas. The title is: “The ethical choice: confronting ethical dilemmas with industry participants in a curriculum.”

Researcher Cheryl Wachenheim of North Dakota State University introduced students to dilemmas such as using “little white lies” to customers and others as part of the sales process. The article included six questions the teacher can use to guide use of the case.

You can read the article, “The Ethical Choice: Confronting Ethical Dilemmas with Industry Participants in a Curriculum,” at Applied Economics Teaching Resources.


Communicator events approaching

Uncertainties of the COVID-19 health issue continue to prompt flexible event planning, as you know. Here are plans of which we are aware, with website addresses you can use to track updates.

June 23-25, 2020 (postponed until 2021; other opportunities planned for 2020)
Annual conference of the Agricultural Relations Council (ARC) in Roanoke, Virginia.

Information: https://agrelationscouncil.org/conference-registration

June 24-25, 2020 (virtual conference being offered)

“Be inspired Chicago!” Annual conference of the Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Life and Human Sciences (ACE).

Information: https://www.aceweb.org/

June 24-28, 2020 (cancelled for 2020)

Conference of the International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors at the University of Nevada, Reno, Nevada.

Information: https://www.iswne.org

June 24-29, 2020 (cancelled for 2020)

“Farming today for the society of the future.” Annual Congress of the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) in Bredsten, Denmark.

Information:  https://ifaj.org/events/annual-congress

 August 11-13, 2020 (on-site conference rescheduled from April 15-17)
“Charting the course.” Conference of the National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA) in Kansas City, Missouri.

Information: https://www.nama.org/agri-marketing-conference.html

September 14-16, 2020 (on-site conference rescheduled from June 1-3)
“Spice up your creativity.” Annual CCA Institute of the Cooperative Communicators Association in Buffalo, New York.

Information: https://www.communicators.coop

November 14-18, 2020 (on-site conference being planned)
“Ag Media Summit 2020.”  AMS is an industry-wide gathering of agricultural media and communications professionals in Kansas City, Missouri. It joins together AAEA–The Agricultural Communicators Network, Livestock Publications Council, and Ag Media Council of Connectiv

Information: https://agmediasummit.com


A few words of caution about advancing technologies

We close this issue of ACDC News with an observation by Charles Chaput in The devil and politics:

“Fools with tools are still fools, and the more powerful the tools, the more dangerous the fools.”


Best regards and wishes during this challenging time

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 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 acdc@library.illinois.edu

ACDC News – Issue 20-05

Access to a printer friendly PDF of this newsletter.


How new agri-marketers should talk to farmers

David Vincent of Rooster Strategic Solutions recently offered seven tips for new college graduates as they join the ranks of agricultural advertising agencies and agribusinesses to begin working with farmers and ranchers.

  • Farmers are some of the smartest people you’ll ever meet.
  • Farming is hard, hard, hard work.
  • Farmers are alike, but not homogeneous.
  • Do your homework.
  • Respect their time.
  • Common courtesy goes a long way.
  • Share the farmer’s enthusiasm!

You can read the article, “Rooster Blog: How New Agri-Marketers Should Talk to Farmers”, via AgriMarketing Weekly.


“Being left behind amidst Africa’s rising imagery”

That title of a 2017 journal article refers to what author Eric Otenyo described as “the continued marginalization of the Maasai people amidst the myth of a rising Africa.”

“In sum, the Africa rising myth and penetration of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in rural areas masks the dispossession of Maasai means of livelihood, and therefore worsening the groups’ conditions of living.”

You can read this article, “Being Left Behind Amidst Africa;s Rising Imagery”, in a Volume 21 issue of Australasian Journal of Information Systems.


Early (pseudo) scientific advertising of fruits and vegetables

Thanks to researcher Michelle R. Nelson for alerting us to a sweeping new research report published in the Advertising and Society Quarterly.  She and co-authors Susmita Das, and Regina Jihea Ahn analyzed (pseudo) scientific advertising of fruits and vegetables during the early 20th Century. Their findings revealed that “in an era of scientific discovery and therapeutic ethos, fruits and vegetables were advertised as medical tonics.” The “prescriptions” included daily doses to ward off or cure real or imagined medical ailments (flu, listlessness, acidosis).

Authors concluded that marketers of national food brands and grower organizations contributed to public knowledge – and confusion – about nutrition and foods in early medicalization of fruits and vegetables.  They suggested: “What is most needed now is perhaps a broader social marketing and transdisciplinary approach that uses both communication and advertising to engage in nutrition education…”

You can read “A prescription for health”, in the journal Advertising & Society Quarterly.


Useful resource for communicators in helping farm families remain safe

We recently added to the ACDC collection a report describing a uniquely valuable source of agricultural injury and fatality reports. The resource, www.AgInjuryNews.org, is maintained by the National Farm Medicine Center, Marshfield, Wisconsin.  It is identified as the largest public database of such reports.

This interactive web-based system tracks agriculture-related injuries and fatalities reported in news media and other sources. Launched in 2015, it is finding use and value for ag safety stakeholders from around the world. For example:

  • News reporters gather data and case reports of incidents in their regions.
  • Producers gain examples and talking points for safety meetings with employees.
  • Extension educators, agriculture teachers, insurance companies, and other organizations use it in interactions with students, producers, and others in farming communities.
  • Local fire departments and FFA chapters use it in safety messages and training.

You can read the report at the Marshfield Clinic’s site.


Communicating human values in the world of animal welfare be cautious about channels to use

A German Animal Welfare Initiative offers instructive insights about communicating in the realm of distinct human values.  We recently added to the ACDC collection a research report about a sector-wide initiative in Germany to improve animal welfare standards.  Researchers addressed three principal value components: (1) Self-enhancement, achievement, power; (2) Self-transcendence, openness to change, self-direction, universalism; and (3) Conservation, security, tradition.

Face-to-face and online surveys among German citizens revealed that “for meat products…the consideration of specific information needs of targeted audience is essential.” In this case, the sector-wide initiative was communicated via websites of the organization and participating companies. However, survey respondents rarely mentioned online sources. “…the majority of consumers referred to brochures, flyers and interpersonal sources.”

You can read the research article, “How different consumer groups with distinct basic human values gather, seek and process information on meat topics”, at the journal International Journal on Food System Dynamics.


How environmental reporters pioneered journalism for a “post-truth” era

Researcher Declan Fahy of Dublin City University, Ireland, used that title for a 2018 commentary we have added from Environmental Communication.  “Since the specialism was formed in the 1960s, environmental journalists have reported on politically partisan issues where facts are contested, expertise is challenged, and uncertainty is heightened.”

“Over decades, environmental reporters resolved these conceptual problems. In the process, they reconfigured the definition of objectivity — in three ways.”

  1. Viewed as the application of “trained judgment”
  2. Viewed as the implementation of a transparent method
  3. Viewed as the pluralistic search for dialogue-based consensus

Environmental reporters, “by engaging deeply with the nature and impact of knowledge, have reconfigured the concept of objectivity, providing a conceptual model and guide to action for their peers. They are pioneers for contemporary ‘post-truth’ journalism.”

You can read the abstract for the article, “Objectivity as Trained Judgment: How Environmental Reporters Pioneered Journalism for a Post-truth Era”, or confer with us at acdc@library.illinois.edu


Communicator events approaching

Uncertainties of the COVID-19 health issue continue to prompt flexible event planning, as you know. Here are plans of which we are aware, with website addresses you can use to track updates.

May 21-25, 2020 (virtual conference being planned)
“Open communication.” 70th annual conference of the International Communication Association (ICA) at Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia.

Information: https://icahdq.org/page/ICA2020/

June 23-25, 2020 (cancelled on-site; alternative virtual events being planned)
Annual conference of the Agricultural Relations Council (ARC) in Roanoke, Virginia.

Information: https://agrelationscouncil.org/conference-registration

June 24-25, 2020 (virtual conference being planned)
“Be inspired Chicago!” Annual conference of the Association for Communication Excellence (ACE), Hyatt Regency O’Hare, Chicago, Illinois.

Information: https://www.aceweb.org/

June 24-29, 2020 (cancelled for 2020)

“Farming today for the society of the future.” Annual Congress of the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) in Bredsten, Denmark.

Information:  https://ifaj.org/events/annual-congress

July 25-29, 2020 (on-site conference being planned)
“Ag Media Summit 2020.”  AMS is an industry-wide gathering of agricultural media and communications professionals in Kansas City, Missouri. It joins together AAEA – The Agricultural Communicators Network, Livestock Publications Council, and Connectiv Agri-Media Committee.

Information: https://web.cvent.com/event/3edf6233-1a53-4e57-bfe5-6d7765331a75/summary

 August 11-13, 2020 (on-site conference rescheduled from April 15-17)
“Charting the course.” Conference of the National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA) in Kansas City, Missouri.

Information: https://www.nama.org/agri-marketing-conference.html

September 14-16, 2020 (on-site conference rescheduled from June 1-3)
“Spice up your creativity.” Annual CCA Institute of the Cooperative Communicators Association in Buffalo, New York.

Information: https://www.communicators.coop

September 24-26, 2020 (Rescheduled to September 23-25, 2021)
“Risky business” Annual conference of the Canadian Farm Writers’ Federation (CFWF) in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. Hosted by the Eastern Canada Farm Writers’ Association.

Information: https://cfwf.ca/events

 


A moral compass for small-town living

We close this issue of ACDC News with an enduring insight from Will Rogers:

“So live that you would not mind selling your pet parrot to the town gossip.”


Best regards and wishes during this challenging time

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 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 acdc@library.illinois.edu

ACDC News – Issue 20-04

Access to a printer friendly PDF of this newsletter.


Navigating the tricky world of MOOCs for teaching nutrition

A 2020 article in Nutrients journal shed light on complexities of teaching, learning, and communicating within the fast-growing arena of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). A team of researchers at Monash University (Australia) aimed to evaluate learner participation and perceptions in an evidence-based nutrition MOOC. Through it, they also provided recommendations for engaging international online lay audiences.

It’s not surprising to imagine the challenges course leaders faced in working with learners in 158 countries – with varied educational backgrounds.  It takes one’s breath to imagine closing the course with 3,799 qualitative comments about what students learned and preferred in course content and teaching methods.

The article title is “Promoting evidence based nutrition education across the world in a competitive space.” You can read it here.


On “social media hypes” about agro-food issues

Findings of four case studies of social media activity about agro-food issues in the Dutch livestock sector revealed that:

  • Events and controversies generated peak and selective activity on social media.
  • The activity involved a few recurrent themes in the realm of activism, scandals. and conflicts – and was judgmental.
  • Stakeholders “need to adopt a proactive and interactive approach that transcends the view of social media as a mere communication channel to respond to crisis situations.”

You can read this 2018 research article, “Social media hypes about agro-food issues: Activism, scandals and conflicts,” here. It was published in the Food Policy journal.


“Warm up the energy brain. Focus the eagle eye.”

That is the subhead of an editing quiz we have added to the ACDC collection. It involves a 25-question quiz featured at the 2019 conference of the International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors (ISNWE). Agricultural communications students, teachers, and professionals may find it useful in learning or brushing up on the Associated Press Stylebook.  The quiz involves multiple-option questions, followed by answers. You can read it here.


Detecting fake news about environment and healthcare

A new research report in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health described progress toward an automatic system for detecting dubious sources of information, fake news, baseless rumors, or gossip. Authors analyzed tweet chains and linked them in a systematic way to gain a general picture of false news and information. Cited examples involved assessing validity of tweets related to World Environment Day 2019 and news about a dead whale in a western Mediterranean port.

You can read the article here.


Early report on the “deplorable state of affairs” in assessing the effects of commodity promotion

We recently added to the ACDC collection a critique of analytic procedures used in the 1940s to evaluate effectiveness of farm product advertising and promotion.  Economist Alois F. Wolf cited examples in evaluating promotion of citrus fruit, walnuts, fluid milk, apples, potatoes, and peaches.  Among the problems identified: lack of knowledge of interrelations involved, misuse of statistical data, lack of objectivity, and lack of data interpretation.

You can read this article in the American Journal of Farm Economics, here.


Research for sustainable development needs to work faster

Bruce Currie-Alder of the Canada-based International Development Research Centre (IDRC) emphasized that need in a 2016 journal article we added recently to the ACDC collection.

“Why is it so difficult to realize sustainability in practice?” he asked. “The answer lies in the fact that universities and research centers persist with 19th century methods of data gathering, scholarly analysis, and journal articles. Today’s world needs science in real-time, whether to detect drought, confront Ebola, or assist refugees. Research needs to work faster and embrace 21st century practices including data science, open access, and infographics.”

You can read the commentary, “Silent revolution in research for sustainability,” in the Journal of Renewable Energy and Sustainable Development here.


Reminder: Welcoming your feedback and ideas

We invite you to participate in our listening survey to help us serve your interests. Participating includes answering 10 questions that will take about 10 minutes. The ACDC Coordinator will review, synthesize and keep your responses confidential. If you have any questions about the research study, please contact Janis Shearer at jshearer@illinois.edu. If you have questions or concerns about your rights as a participant please contact the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Office for the Protection of Research Subjects at 217-333-2670 or via email at irb@illinois.edu.

Thank you for your help. Please click here for the survey.


Communicator events approaching

Uncertainties of the COVID-19 health issue are prompting flexible event planning, as you know. Here are plans of which we are aware, with website addresses you can use to track updates.

April 23-24, 2020 (Postponed to this Fall)
100th anniversary reception celebration and spring regional workshop of AAEA – The Agricultural Communicators Network in Chicago, Illinois.

Information: https://agcommnetwork.com/events/regionalworkshops/

May 21-25, 2020 (virtual conference being planned)
“Open communication.” 70th annual conference of the International Communication Association (ICA) at Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia.

Information: https://icahdq.org/page/ICA2020/

June 1-3, 2020 (members to be notified by mid-April)
“Spice up your creativity.” 2020 CCA Institute of the Cooperative Communicators Association in Buffalo, New York.

Information: www.communicators.coop/cca-institute-2020/

June 22-25, 2020 (virtual conference being planned)
“Be inspired Chicago!” Annual conference of the Association for Communication Excellence (ACE), Hyatt Regency O’Hare, Chicago, Illinois.

Information: https://www.aceweb.org/

June 23-25, 2020 (on-site conference being planned)
Annual conference of the Agricultural Relations Council (ARC) in Roanoke, Virginia.

Information: https://agrelationscouncil.org/conference-registration

June 24-28, 2020  (cancelled for 2020)
Conference of the International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors at the University of Nevada, Reno. Nevada.

Information: https://www.iswne.org

June 24-29, 2020 (cancelled for 2020)
“Farming today for the society of the future.” Annual Congress of the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) in Bredsten, Denmark.  Hosted by the Danish Food and Agricultural Journalists.

Information:  https://ifaj.org/events/annual-congress

July 25-29, 2020 (on-site conference being planned)
“Ag Media Summit 2020.”  AMS is an industry-wide gathering of agricultural media and communications professionals in Kansas City, Missouri. It joins together AAEA – The Agricultural Communicators Network, Livestock Publications Council, and Connectiv Agri-Media Committee.

Information: https://web.cvent.com/event/3edf6233-1a53-4e57-bfe5-6d7765331a75/summary

 August 11-13, 2020 (on-site conference rescheduled from April 15-17)
“Charting the course.” Conference of the National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA) in Kansas City, Missouri.

Information: https://www.nama.org/agri-marketing-conference.html

 


“The food in this restaurant is terrible”

We close this issue of ACDC News with a well-worn joke. The response, of course, is: “Yeah, but there’s a lot of it.”  Might the joke parallel information available today when everyone has a view and a global voice regarding food, the environment, energy sources, and other issue-laden dimensions of agriculture?

Here’s to the skilled, dedicated journalists and communicators as trusted informers and mediators of complex issues they address.


Best regards and wishes during this challenging time

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 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 acdc@library.illinois.edu