4 January 2018

AAS Press Conferences: Not Just for Reporters

Richard Fienberg, AAS Press Officer

AAS meetings feature hundreds to thousands of science talks and posters. So why does nearly all media coverage focus on the same few dozen discoveries? Because those are the ones being featured in AAS press conferences, which typically occur twice daily, coincident with the morning and afternoon parallel oral sessions. (To learn how presenters are chosen to appear in our briefings, see "How AAS Press Conferences Happen.")

Our meetings attract a good number of science writers, from a few dozen for smaller summer meetings to more than 100 for larger winter ones. Most attend the press conferences because they know they'll hear cogent presentations in plain English illustrated with publication-quality graphics and broadcast-quality videos — and that they'll have more time to ask questions than in a typical oral science session.

AAS press conference
Photos by Phil McCarten (left) & Todd Buchanan, CorporateEventImages © 2016 AAS

Regular meeting attendees sometimes ask whether they can sit in on press conferences. Some want to watch a colleague or student give a presentation. Students may ask to attend briefings because they're interested in the topics but aren't yet fully conversant in the associated astronomical jargon. Others are just curious.

The answer is always the same: come one, come all! AAS press conferences are open not only to press registrants but also to regular attendees. Everyone is welcome, as long as there's enough space in the briefing room.

You can find the press-conference program and the location of the briefing room via the "Press Information" link on every AAS meeting website. Press conferences are listed in the block schedule and mobile app too. See you there!