Scroll Top

Penchant for print

By Communications chairman Stephen Cadogan.
Have you “a penchant for print”?
That  is the title of a research study recently brought to IFAJ network subscribers by ACDC, the Agricultural Communications Documentation Center, University of Illinois.
The study of  media strategies in communicating agricultural information in the US was carried out around 2006 by Amanda Ruth-McSwain of the Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Life and Human Sciences, which is headquartered in New Hampshire, in the US.
Five years later, it again raises the question, what is the future for print journalism.
Basically, Amanda concluded that  agricultural communication professionals overwhelmingly chose print media to communicate their agricultural information.
The growth of social media may have helped to reverse this trend, in the five years since the study was carried out. Or maybe not. There’s nothing straightforward about the choice.
Instead, it’s an area of paradox after paradox, as the researcher discovered.
What is your view? After reading this, why not take part in the related poll on the IFAJ home page, headed “Print Penchant”.
Participants in Amanda Ruth-McSwain’s study focused their efforts on print media for various reasons, even though they perceived television to have the most impact in communicating to their audiences.
They  focused on the agricultural trade print media, although they suggested at the same time that  the trade media was  diminishing and slowly becoming obsolete, and the wider consumer media was becoming the only viable mass media communication choice.
Participants in the study chose to work with print media for reasons such as  familiarity, the ability to communicate more complex information, more time to work with the medium, and more ease in establishing personal relationships.
Several implied that personal bias, previous experience, and personal success rate were the main factors in making print their medium of choice for agricultural information dissemination – despite the gratifications associated with television.
Clearly, agricultural communication professionals may not have been taking advantage of the different communication tools, concluded  Amanda Ruth-McSwain.
She suggested that  if they were to enhance their efforts with wider consumer media outlets, agricultural media coverage would increase.They might  have to forsake their comfort level and communicate with a changing, less interested, and non-traditional media representative.
The study took place against a background of research  indicating that newspaper and magazine readership had declined, broadcast television viewership had also declined, while radio listenership had remained stable at 90% of Americans listening,and Internet was the only mass medium that had increased its audience (Brody, 2004).
Amanda Ruth-McSwain recommended that ag-communication professionals  study other fields of science communication, to point them in the right direction.

Related Posts