NSF invites media to report on U.S.-sponsored Antarctic research (2002-2003 season)

May 29, 2002

Application Deadline: Friday, July 5, 2002

The National Science Foundation (NSF), manager of the U.S. Antarctic Program (USAP), is accepting written applications from professional journalists to visit Antarctica during the 2002-2003 research season (early November through mid-January).

NSF annually selects a small group of journalists, representing diverse audiences, to make individual visits to one or more of the three U.S. Antarctic research stations -- McMurdo, Amundsen-Scott South Pole and Palmer -- to report on NSF-sponsored scientific research. Applicants must submit the equivalent of two typed pages detailing specifically what they plan to cover while in Antarctica. NSF public affairs officers can help applicants to craft a proposed reporting plan. Competition is intense for a very limited number of slots and space on aircraft is severely constrained. Logistical limitations make it nearly impossible to modify reporting plans once in Antarctica.

A key selection criterion is USAP's ability to provide the logistical support needed to carry out a specific reporting plan. Reporters should be aware that the ongoing reconstruction of NSF's South Pole station, coupled with the need to give scientists and construction cargo priority on a limited number of flights, may prevent any media visits to the South Pole this season.

A selection committee of USAP science and logistics personnel and media officers from NSF's Office of Legislative and Public Affairs reviews all proposals and selects finalists. The committee looks for proposals that indicate an understanding of the nature and challenges of NSF's scientific enterprise in Antarctica and the desire to communicate that understanding to the public.

Applicants should focus on visiting a very limited number of projects because transportation is highly dependent on weather and delays are common. The time reporters may spend on the continent must be tightly coupled to their reporting. Proposals from print, television, and radio journalists as well as from online news operations are welcome. U.S. mass media that serve primarily language-minority audiences also are encouraged to apply.

NSF's Office of Polar Programs offers a separate program to support artists and writers in Antarctica whose primary form of expression is not journalistic. For information see: http://www.nsf.gov/od/opp/aawr.htm, or contact: Guy Guthridge, (703) 292-8033/ gguthrid@nsf.gov

Application: Focused applications with thorough reporting plans that indicate solid working knowledge of the U.S. Antarctic Program and its science goals stand the best chance of selection. Feature film proposals and general reporting about the Antarctic, travel, or logistics are not given priority. U.S. media receive preference in selection.

Expenses: Reporters or their employers pay for round-trip transportation to -- and accommodation in -- Christchurch, New Zealand (if traveling to McMurdo or South Pole) or Punta Arenas, Chile (if traveling to Palmer). Reporters must visit NSF headquarters in Arlington, Va., at their own expense for pre-trip planning. NSF furnishes, at no cost to journalists, cold-weather clothing solely for use in the field as well as housing, transportation and food in Antarctica.

Medical: Finalists must pass comprehensive physical and dental exams conducted at their own expense by their personal physicians and dentists and subject to screening by the U.S. Antarctic Program. Certain medical conditions may disqualify a candidate from visiting Antarctica, even if selected as a media visitor.

How To Apply: Contact NSF (by phone or by e-mail) as soon as possible to express interest and to discuss areas of professional interest. Freelancers must supply evidence of a firm commitment to publish or air their work on their prospective employer's letterhead.
-end-
Send the letter and any supporting materials (such as a limited number of clips or videotaped segments) to:
National Science Foundation
Office of Legislative and Public Affairs
4201 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 1245
Arlington, VA 22230
Attn: Peter West or Amber Jones,
(703) 292-8070/pwest@nsf.gov or aljones@nsf.gov

National Science Foundation

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