The AAS emails to approximately 2,000 accredited reporters and institutional public-information officers (PIOs) press releases and related announcements about astronomy and space science from universities, observatories, government agencies, and scientific societies. There is no charge for this forwarding service. Press releases must come from an authorized press officer or from the director or department chair of the issuing organization. That person, or another press officer at the issuing organization, must be included as a contact with name, phone number, and email address. The agency or agencies funding the research must be acknowledged in the text or in a note at the end. Items are forwarded at the discretion of the AAS Press Officer.
Appropriate & Inappropriate Subject Matter
We distribute press releases on discoveries in the astronomical sciences, major project milestones, major appointments and awards, and widely visible sky phenomena. We forward conference announcements only if we think they are germane and if journalists are offered complimentary registration. We use a similar approach to announcements about new books, i.e., they must be germane and journalists must be offered a complimentary review copy.
We usually don’t distribute releases on astronomy-related education and outreach projects — not because we don’t like them (we do!), but because very few journalists on the AAS Press List have education or outreach on their beat. We rarely forward policy statements, except for those from the AAS itself or its subject-specific divisions. Similarly, we rarely forward announcements of webcasts or other online activities unless they provide opportunities for journalists to interact directly with newsmakers. We don't distribute releases about scientific journals — about science results published in those journals, yes, but about the journals themselves, no. We rarely distribute product announcements, and we rarely distribute job postings — we make exceptions only for items of particular and personal interest to science writers covering astronomy.
Sometimes we’ll “tweet” the headline and URL of a release that we don’t forward by email (our Twitter handle is @AAS_Press), so even if you’re not certain we’ll forward what you send us, if it’s related to astronomy, go ahead and send it.
To Submit a Press Release for Forwarding
Send it by email to email@example.com. That way it will automatically go to AAS Press Officer Dr. Rick Fienberg and AAS Deputy Press Officers Dr. Inge Heyer and Dr. Larry Marschall; you never know which of us is on duty on any given day, so it’s important that your release goes to all of us. Should the alias not work (i.e., should your message bounce), our individual addresses are firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, and firstname.lastname@example.org. We encourage you to send all your astronomy-related press releases to email@example.com, even if you already post them on EurekAlert, AlphaGalileo, Newswise, or any similar services, as these have only limited overlap with the AAS Press List.
Format & Graphics Requirements
We send releases in plain-text format without attachments, so we prefer to receive them that way, i.e., as plain text in the body of an email message. Also, if your release is posted online, please supply the URL.
If your release is accompanied by photos, illustrations, and/or videos, we recommend that you make them available over the internet and include the URL(s) in the text of your release. If your release is embargoed, please arrange to have any graphics posted online at the embargo time and not before. Alternatively, you may post the graphics on a password-protected website during the embargo period and provide the username and password for reporters in your press release.
Note that we forward embargoed releases only to accredited journalists who have agreed to abide by embargoes. We do not send embargoed releases to public-information officers until after the embargo expires, as required by the editors of the journals Science and Nature.
Forwarding a press release does not imply endorsement of the contents by the American Astronomical Society, and we will add a header to this effect to every release we post to the AAS Press List.