Factors affecting agricultural journalists and agricultural communicators
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Agricultural journalism and agricultural communication have been researched in depth, identifying job skills, job satisfaction, educational backgrounds, and curriculum issues. However, a study examining the spheres (subjective, institutional, contextual, and societal) that influence how agricultural journalists and communicators do their jobs—as indicated by Esser’s (as cited in Frölich & Holtz–Bacha, 2003) model of spheres of influence on journalists—could not be found. This study utilized Esser’s model to identify those factors and determine whether their influences differ demographically. A total of 256 members of the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists, American Agricultural Editors’ Association, North American Agricultural Journalists, and Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Life and Human Sciences responded to a researcher-designed instrument and a thirdparty Web-based survey tool. The respondents demographically resembled populations in similar studies. Data were analyzed using statistical tools and quantitative content analysis. This study found a relationship between the jobs that agricultural journalists and communicators do and the societal sphere (p=.04), which includes personal values, desire for self-realization, professional values, and conception of a journalist’s role. The spheres of influence of international organization (IFAJ, AAEA, and NAAJ) members and domestic organization (ACE) members were compared. The difference in the societal sphere was of medium effect size (d = .39), indicating that organizational membership influences members’ perceptions about themselves and their roles. Respondents indicated the most important skills for new agricultural journalists were personal attributes and skills, such as curiosity and adaptability; writing; and communication. The most important skills for new agricultural communicators were communication, personal attributes and skills, and journalistic skills. The most important future issue for agricultural journalists and communicators was agricultural technology and development. The findings indicate that agricultural journalists and communicators are influenced by their personal and professional values, perception of their professional roles, and desire for self-realization. Future agricultural journalists and communicators should seek training in personal attributes and skills, writing, communication, and journalistic skills. This study contributes to research in agricultural journalism and communication because it encompasses a global perspective by including respondents outside North America.
Chenault, Edith Anne (2008). Factors affecting agricultural journalists and agricultural communicators. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from