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ACE Update – August 2016

  • President: Looking back and ahead

  • Memphis in the rearview mirror
  • ACE 2017: Renewal
  • Looking for money-minded members
  • Vote successful on retiree membership payments
  • The Journal of Applied Communications
  • Retiree: Remembering Morley Safer
  • Past president shares word of husband's passing

President: Looking Back and Ahead

This month’s newsletter rolls out the new ACE logo! Major kudos to Elizabeth Gregory North and those in her department at Mississippi State University who created it. The design was presented to and approved by the board at its Memphis meeting. I hope you’ll begin seeing it used across ACE platforms, including correspondence, marketing materials, the website (more on that later) – anywhere this great organization is represented.

My wonderful memories of Memphis (and the Peabody) and the terrific job Craig Woods, Keri Collins, Lesa Vold and the rest of the conference planning committee did are weighted by the death of a fellow ACE member just days after the conference; the deaths of fathers of two of our members; and the retirements of long-time members who were interwoven with my time in ACE.

Bob Ratliff, who was a member of the Memphis conference planning committee, retired the end of June and unfortunately died a few days later. Bob also helped plan the first ACE event I participated in. He and others coordinated a writing workshop in Oxford, Mississippi, in 2005 called Real people, Real stories, Real writing. I’ve hung on to the 5 x 8 notebook they provided. It’s on my desk right now, where it’s been for years. The front and back cover is “Soft Touch” and feels so darned cool I can’t stow it. Silly reason, I know, but there it stays. It carries memories and there is no digital comparison.

I am grateful that Bob helped plan a professional development activity that opened the door to more such opportunities and the chance to network with others who do the same thing I do— but perhaps much better. So many members have their own such stories about others in ACE. My sadness is tempered by knowing that new members of ACE can experience that same personal growth and satisfaction as they grow in the organization. ACE members are always happy to help peers overcome internet information overload and share relevant, professional information.

I knew many others who retired from their institutions this year. I’ve always been envious of their talent and believe their presence always elevated mine. Godspeed to them and keep in touch with ACE.

In addition, there are many positive developments in ACE:

  • 2017 conference co-chairs Tobie Blanchard and Jennifer Alexander and company are expertly directing us toward New Orleans. Please plan to join us there.
  • A task force is forming to redesign and improve our website. I asked Elizabeth Gregory North, who is heading the project, to please excuse my informality when I wrote in my note to her that the results will be flipping awesome!
  • A standing committee is being created to handle marketing strategies for ACE.
  • Efforts continue to enhance our collaborations with 1890s institutions.

I’ll end with what I said in Memphis: From videographers to photographers, editors, writers, media relations experts, graphic designers, IT, distance education, publication experts, to communication faculty members, and more, no other agricultural communication association has the breadth and depth of ACE. I’m proud to be a member.

– Steve Miller, ACE President

Memphis in the rearview mirror

With the 2016 Memphis conference a memory, it’s difficult to recap the many highlights. From the excellent keynote speakers, to the invited presenters and many unique ACE member breakout sessions, it was a jam-packed schedule of professional development opportunities. At last count we hosted 228 attendees, with approximately 50 first timers in the beautiful downtown Peabody Hotel. And what a surprise it was for me to represent ACE as ‘duck master’ in the time honored hotel tradition!

There are always a few things we wish we could have changed, but overall the conference survey results were very positive. The numerous networking opportunities and optional tours were also popular. The video editing workshop in partnership with the Extension Video Producers also received high marks.

Again, a huge ‘thank you’ to the 2016 planning committee for its hard work and creative approach in putting it all together. The planning materials and results have been shared with the 2017 committee to help provide additional insight on improving next year’s conference.

As always I welcome your comments and feedback, and look forward to seeing all of you in New Orleans!

Photo:  Presenting the ACE donation to the National Civil Rights Museum. Dennis Thomas - ACE marketing director, Terri Freeman - National Civil Rights Museum president, and Brad Beckman – 2015/16 ACE president

- Brad Beckman, Past President

ACE 2017: Renewal

The ACE 2017 conference committee is busy planning an engaging and inspiring conference — full of new ideas for renewing and refreshing your work, skills, and professional connections. Our theme is Renewal. Professional development and conference activities will center around five themes:

  • Refine (new and improved developments, advances, technologies)
  • Reinforce (strategies, tactics, technologies that emphasize or strengthen the message)
  • Re-energize (stimulating creativity, productivity)
  • Review (getting back to basics; fundamentals)
  • Repurpose (different avenues/channels for products, messages; value-added communications)

Please keep the themes in mind as you think ahead to breakout sessions you could propose. And If your ACE learning community would like to offer a pre- or post-conference workshop, let’s begin planning together now.

We’ve reviewed evaluations and recommendations from ACE 2016 conference attendees and committee members, but we’d like your input, too. What didn’t you learn in Memphis, but really wanted to? What skills and abilities are critical for you to learn or enhance to excel and advance in your career?

Your input will help us select keynote speakers, develop the call for breakout session proposals, and plan a schedule that meets your needs. Contact conference co-chairs Tobie Blanchard tblanchard@agcenter.lsu.edu and Jennifer Alexander jennifer.alexander@oregonstate.edu with ideas and questions.

- Jennifer Alexander

Looking for money-minded members

Many of us are communications professionals because numbers aren’t our thing. However, ACE needs a few members to help develop guidelines for the organization’s financial future as part of the ACE finance committee.

Don’t worry; you’re not being asked to become accountants. Just to help with ACE’s short-term and long-term financial goals. You don’t have to be a number cruncher to serve on the ACE finance committee – just someone who is willing to contribute to the financial health of our organization.

I’m looking for six members so we can get organized for the long run: two to serve one-year terms, two to serve two-year terms, and two for three-year terms (for those serving shorter terms, initial appointments may be renewed for a full three-year term). This will get us on a rotation so finance committee members aren’t starting from scratch each year.

If you’re interested – or want to nominate someone I can contact – please let me know by Sept. 1. Please contact Becky Koch at becky.koch@ndsu.edu or 701-231-7875. Thank you!

- Becky Koch, Treasurer

Vote successful on retiree membership payments

By an overwhelming majority, ACE members voted to approve a change in how retirees pay for their life memberships. The change reduces the years of payment to become a life member from five to three, paying $100 a year, or the full $300 upon retirement

This adjustment does not change the cost of life membership. Groups may want to consider gifting a lifetime membership to retiring ACE members. Life membership takes effect on approval by the ACE board and after a single payment of $300 or three annual payments of $100 each.

- Holly Young, ACE Executive Director

The Journal of Applied Communications

If not already, check out the latest online edition of the Journal of Applied Communications (Vol. 100, No. 2).  This issue has nine articles that include a book review and research covering among other things a review of promotional pieces; employee perceptions of Extension’s brand; the effect of transparent communication in agriculture; and implications for advertisers trying to reach Millennials.

We hope you will take some time to explore the research our ACE members are conducting and even consider contributing to JAC. We welcome book reviews, commentaries, professional development articles, and research manuscripts. The submission information is online.

- Courtney Meyers, Research Director

Retiree: Remembering Morley Safer

Brad Schneller recalls his own memories of 60 Minutes investigative reporter Morley Safer

Morley Safer has been called “the best of the best.” I was fortunate to get to know Morley when he began his career as a reporter at the Sentinel-Review newspaper in Woodstock, Ontario, Canada.

When I came to Woodstock in June 1953, I boarded at the home of Harper and Pearl Hammond. The Hammond house was just two blocks from where I began Extension work with the Ontario Department of Agriculture as Assistant Agricultural Representative for Oxford County.

I had the front room upstairs and next to it was a smaller room that within a few weeks of my arrival was rented by Morley. This was his first job. He had enrolled at the University of Western Ontario but quit after attending a few lectures.

It took some time to get to know Morley. Our work schedules differed. I was out most evenings at meetings and when he was in his room, his door was usually shut. When we did get to talk we didn’t seem to have much in common.

I got the feeling that Morley felt out of place in Woodstock. It seemed the people were not as friendly as he expected. To some local people, Morley didn’t seem to have the same accent. Even though he was from Toronto, they thought he had a Bronx-like accent. Also, he may have felt prejudice.

I tried to console him by telling him that even though I was from a farm — and not that far away — that more than one person cautioned me that it would take maybe two or three years of hard proven work before I could be expected to be fully accepted by the farm people in Oxford County.

I did arrange for Morley and me to have an evening of double dating with two farm girls. To Morley, that was an evening to forget. Different chemistry!!

But after all these years, what remains indelible in my memory of Morley and his incredible career, was coming up the stairs of the Hammond home late one evening in the Fall of 1953. Morley’s door was open. He was standing shirtless in front of the dresser mirror and he had his Star of David solidly crunched in one hand. He had a look of anger

I asked “What was wrong?” His reply, “I’m going to be the best investigative reporter in the world.”

Alf Burman, the editor at the Review, had given him a rough time that day.

As a junior reporter, Morley was assigned the police, city hall and town meetings. And the reporting tasks were, to him, a tad mundane. Not the headline grabbing stuff that he expected or considered himself capable of writing. After only a few months as a reporter at the Sentinel-Review, Morley left unannounced.

Later, every time I heard Morley’s voice on the radio or saw him on TV reporting from London, Paris, or Vietnam — and for nearly 50 years on 60 Minutes — I was reminded of that night in Woodstock.

In the years since only once did I try to connect with Morley. That was in the 1980s. I wanted to ask him to speak at a Northeast AAACE regional meeting being held in Ontario. I wanted him to talk via telelecture on aspects of investigative reporting. “Sorry,” was the reply from a secretary. “Mr Safer will be flying that day – returning from some assignment in Asia.”

One week after the CBS 60 Minutes special on Morley’s life, he died on May 19, 2016 in New York City of pneumonia. He was 84.

— Brad Schneller

Past president shares word of husband's passing

Former ACE president and long-time member Pat Calvert informed us of the death of her husband Cam Calvert on June 8, right before their 32nd wedding anniversary. Pat and Cam were married at the ACE meeting in Fairbanks, Alaska in 1985. She wrote this note about that meeting in the June 2015 issue of the retirees’ newsletter:

Thirty years ago this week I traveled to our nation’s 49th state – Alaska, Land of the Midnight Sun – to attend the ACE International Conference in Fairbanks. Denali’s mountaintop glistened in the distance as the most memorable day of my life – June 27, 1985 – began! At noon that day I became president of the Agricultural Communicators in Education, accepting the gavel from USDA colleague Larry Quinn. What a humbling, exhilarating and challenging experience! Three hours later, my best friend, Cam Calvert, an ARS animal scientist, and I married each other at the Alaska Statehouse Courtroom with ACE friends Betty Fleming and Bill Carnahan in attendance. That evening we surprised everyone at the conference banquet held on the banks of the historical Chena River. Raising champagne glasses, we all celebrated both our future life together and the continued impact and success of ACE! A great beginning to life’s next adventure.

If you would like to contact Pat, her email is calvertpat@aol.com.

Newsletter editor: Beth Forbes. Send submissions, upcoming webinars and ideas to forbes@purdue.edu. Contributors this issue: Steve Miller, Brad Beckman, Jennifer Alexander, Becky Koch, Holly Young, Courtney Meyers, Brad Schneller and Janet Rodekohr

Copyright © 2016 Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Life and Human Sciences. All rights reserved.

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