Just the bees’ knees: Some reflections on reports of a “punny” industry

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!


Senior thoughts on Ag Comm

Okay, now that you’ve recovered from the sheer shock of seeing a new post on this blog, I’d like to introduce you to a series we’re doing this semester.  Yes, a series.  You’ve seen that word before on our blog. And this time, the posts have already been written and are prepared for publication.

Last fall, the seniors from our major completed their capstone course.  Over the semester, they extensively researched the communication skills of students in Purdue’s College of Agriculture and gave a presentation for faculty and staff about their findings.

In addition to their research, each student completed a piece for the department blog about communication, Purdue, agriculture, and/or the intersection of the three.

It’s my pleasure to introduce this wonderful of series of posts written by my fellow ag comm classmates.  Over the next several weeks, you’ll read about everything from how the media covers the bee keeping industry to the advantages of cooking for yourself.  You’ll gain insight into the students who comprise the ag comm program and learn a bit about agriculture and communication too!

I hope you’ll enjoy reading the thoughts of these burgeoning young men and women who are about to bid adieu to Purdue and embark on a lifetime of communicating excellently about agriculture.


Another Year, Another Chapter!

In my opinion, each academic year is considered a chapter in our program. It’s easy to apply this notion to the seniors who officially exited Purdue University as a graduate two days ago. They are now moving on with a drastically different lifestyle than they’ve known for the last four (maybe five) years. No longer will they come to our office with questions of course scheduling and internship opportunities. Rather, they are entering careers or graduate school with personal aspirations that no longer revolve around life on this campus. Therefore, I wish the very best to Ariel, Arlene, Audrie, Bethany, Chelsea, Christy, David, Elise, and Shelby!! Your futures are bright and the legacy you leave in AgComm is irreplaceable.

With that said, one class now leaves, but there are still three others that have just closed their respective chapters for the year. Is that a legitimate statement to make since they will be returning in the fall? I offer up an emphatic “Yes!” The reason is because as I watch each of these students move through the AgComm program, checking off requirements and taking advantage of internships and study abroad opportunities, I recognize a marked growth and change with all of them at the end of the academic year. They are building the framework for their future, each with his/her unique style and taste.

I love witnessing moments of intense enthusiasm when a student recognizes his/her true potential, or lands a premiere internship position. Yes! Now, that is what it’s all about. Each chapter leads to a sturdier framework that offers a deeper passion for their preferred niche in agriculture, as well as a greater level of professionalism to future employers.

A chapter marks the start of another great journey… and I truly look forward to seeing how our 40+ stories continue to unfold.

~ Abigail Borron, Academic Advisor