Working with Media Gives ISU Extension National & International Attention During Floods of 2008

Jim Fawcett, Extension Field Agronomist, Southeast Area

Problem Statement:

Despite the excellent educational programs offered by ISU Extension and its marketing efforts, there are many people in Iowa and across the country who are not familiar with university extension activities. Without public knowledge and support, future funding for ISU Extension is in jeopardy. Working with the media is one method to increase the exposure of ISU Extension to the general public.

Programmatic Response: 

The wet spring followed by the floods offered ISU Extension an opportunity to increase their visibility by working with the media to highlight the difficulties of Iowa farmers and the response of ISU Extension. During the spring and summer of 2008, in addition to working with the local media, other media contacts that I made included: 1) a television spot on the NBC national nightly news about late planting, 2) an article in the New York Times about flooding affects on farmers, 3) a radio spot on Australian radio, and 4) a spot on Canadian public television. 

In addition, Noah Adams, long-time co-host of National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered” did a special program on the activities of an ISU Extension Agronomist in the aftermath of the flood. I spent 2 days with Noah while he followed me to field visits and extension activities. He also spent the night in our home and visited my home farm with me. The “Crop Doc Fights for Iowa Farms” program aired on July 17 on the Day to Day show on 170 stations around the country. The program is archived at


I have heard from people across the country who heard, saw, or read about the activities of ISU during the floods of 2008. One direct result of the NPR broadcast was a contact from a job shadow coordinator who wanted to have potential future ISU students job shadow me for a day.


180 Other ANR Programs

Page last updated: April 6, 2009
Page maintained by Linda Schultz,