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Involved in a Press Release? Involve the AAS Press Office, Too!

Wednesday, August 8, 2018 - 15:10

Steve Maran, my predecessor as AAS Press Officer, created a monster. In the early days of email he started forwarding press releases to reporters who regularly covered astronomy. The list included only a few dozen email addresses, and Steve sent them only a few press releases each week. Three decades later, the AAS press list numbers more than 2,500 science writers worldwide, and I now forward more than 1,200 releases each year — an average of about 5 every business day.

The announcements we forward come from universities, observatories, government agencies, scientific societies, and other organizations worldwide where researchers are working to advance the astronomical sciences. There are other services that aggregate scientific press releases, such as EurekAlert and AlphaGalileo, but when we ask reporters and public-information officers (PIOs) on the AAS press list if our email distribution is still valuable to them, the vast majority respond with a resounding "Yes!" For example, PIOs tell us that if they post an astronomy release online but forget to send it to the AAS, they get less media coverage than usual. This is true both in the US and internationally.

Not all PIOs know about the AAS service, though, so we depend on AAS members and other astronomers to tell them about it. If you make a newsworthy discovery or win a prestigious prize or otherwise do something that leads your institution or funder to issue a press release, please make sure they send a copy by email to press-release@aas.org so that we can distribute it to our press list and help you get the attention you deserve. Refer them to the instructions on our website.

Only science writers are eligible to join the AAS press list, but anyone can monitor the steady stream of astronomy-related press releases by following the AAS Press Office on Twitter (@AAS_Press) and/or by checking the Astronomy in the News section of the AAS website daily.

Questions? Contact me by email.

Richard Tresch Fienberg
Press Officer
AAS Press Officer
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