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space (spās) n. 1. space beyond the atmosphere of the earth.

prag·ma·tism (prgm-tzm) n. A way of approaching situations or solving problems that emphasizes practical applications and consequences.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

NASA Public Affairs Office

If you read Space Pragmatism a lot, you know I am very interested in Public Relations for Space. It occurred to me that before I should judge NASA's PR department, I should do some more research. Here is what I found out.

The Public Affairs department, under HQ, links to the NASA News site. It is headed by the acting director Dean Acosta (Acting). No bio was listed. It has news releases, launch schedules, speeches, and some lovely downloads for your desktop wallpaper (4 for Humans in space, almost all Apollo).

What bugs me is what is missing. Where is the PR strategy. It is neither listed formally, nor is it obvious to me what it is from the content. The Reach video I saw at the 21st National Space Symposium, which I also downloaded from a difficult to access site at NASA, is not listed nor even hinted at. NASA TV is not mentioned. Is that not a PR channel, already paid for and waiting? What are they doing to implement the Aldridge Report's recommendation 8.2:

The Commission recommends that industry, professional organizations, and the media engage the public in understanding why space exploration is vital to our scientific, economic, and security.
And I don't yet see any implementation Roger G. Gilbertson's comment from the Audience to that commission on April 16, 2004:

And so my One Urgent Request...Give Us More! Distill the Spirit and Energy of everything you've heard of what is Possible to its Quintessence! Make an MTV Video ­ An X-Box Game! Show us a human and a robot doing a "High Five" on Mars! ... Give us your Results in a form powerful enough to keep a nation of nine-year olds Awake All Night!
Amen. Tell me who to contact, Mr Griffin. I have a number of ideas myself. I would be happy to help.


3 comments:

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Boston Kain said...

Perhaps the reason you cannot find information on the PR strategy is because the current appointees to the NASA PAO have been put there to publicize the President and the current administration and not the agency for which they work. For an example of this look at this NYT's article where the PAO from Goddard claims exactly that while turning down a request from NPR because it is too liberal.

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/29/science/earth/29climate.html?pagewanted=2&ei=5094&en=df8f81d4867a2143&hp&ex=1138597200&partner=homepage