To inaugurate our new series, I’d like to begin with a post written by my fellow Ag Comm. co-worker, fellow Downton Abbey fan, and the gal who introduced me to PHD Comics, Lisa Schluttenhofer. As those of you who have previously read this blog know, Lisa is an Ag Comm. major and Spanish minor who will graduate this May.
In several of my classes, I’ve been instructed to avoid clichés and puns “like the plague.” However, there is an industry in which, for some reason, even the most educated journalists fall back on overused slogans, puns, and old adages.
I would like to present this nearly ubiquitous contradiction to the cliché rule: the beekeeping industry. Sadly, puns seem to be the only way to introduce anything related to my favorite six-legged insect.
Here is just a sampling of real leads encountered in the last few years:
“She’s the queen of her hive.”
“There is quite the buzz in the beekeeping world.”
“City residents are making a bee-line to beginning beekeeping classes.”
“It’s not a sting operation, but beekeepers are giving a honey of a deal at the local farmers market.”
Feel free to groan.
Despite the puns, beekeeping is serious business. In fact, honeybees are responsible for pollinating nearly one-third of our daily diet, including fresh fruit, vegetables, and nuts. Without honeybees and beekeepers, we would miss out on a meal each day.
The honeybee population has plummeted since the introduction of a small parasitic mite called Varroa destructor, and in recent years, beekeepers have reported a phenomenon known as Colony Collapse Disorder. The media were all over that, shall we say, like “honey on a biscuit.” (Ok, I made that one up.)
These news articles introduced the American public to a relatively unknown field. The importance of pollination and the realities of this ag industry were indeed, news to some people who realized for the first time that without honeybees, much of every consumer’s food would not be around or would be very expensive.
It’s a crucial industry, and while the puns are cute, they don’t convey the seriousness of the situation. So, if you are beginning a career in agriculture, remember the importance of the honeybee. For those entering the journalism field, consider the words of your first mass communication class. Avoid the puns; report the news. Oh, and “bee” happy!