Media Legs

Posted on July 22, 2010 by Andy Shepard, CIOERT Associate Director, UNCW

Photo of NBC team.

The NBC team stands still for a minute for a picture with the ship, submersible, and science crews who helped make their live reporting a huge success. Segments were transmitted for the Today Show, NBC Nightly News, and Dateline.

Between Legs 2 and 3 of the FLoSEE expedition, media partners will join us to do several events for public outreach. Partners include: NBC News (Today, Nightly News, Nightline), CNN, BBC, and NOAA’s Office of Ocean Exploration and Research (OER). Most science missions do not have the time or resources to include the kind of coverage we are lucky to get on the FLoSEE expedition.

One of our expedition scientists asked: why we are doing the media legs? Are we selling something? Do we have a message? After all, the media legs changed our schedule and require time and effort from everyone.

CIOERT and its parent program, NOAA’s Ocean Exploration and Research, are science and technology programs that believe in, and treat outreach and education as priority program objectives, dedicating resources to these activities. Exploration is an exciting endeavor that captures public attention. Advanced technologies are fascinating. Discoveries are newsworthy. Most importantly, an ocean-literate public will care more and do more to support ocean stewardship, which is an important part of NOAA’s mission statement, “Science, Service, and Stewardship – to understand and anticipate changes in climate, weather, oceans, and coasts, share that knowledge and information with others, and to conserve and manage marine resources.”

Photo of red gorgonian.

A beautiful red gorgonian at a depth of 219 feet on the mesophotic reef at a location known as “The Ledges”.

Today JSL II Dive 3791 hosted Kerry Sanders, NBC News, as part of his DWH spill series (day 94 post-spill). Prior to the dive, a live-link was established with the Today Show. Dr. Larry Robinson, newly appointed NOAA Assistant Undersecretary for Oceans and Atmosphere, rode in the sphere on JSL II Dive 3792. They sampled corals and sponges and conducted video transects on an ancient shoreline, now a live bottom reef, 75 miles offshore, and in 210 feet of water. The last deployment was not an official dive, but a staged launch for live broadcast on NBC Nightly News. NBC provided this invaluable coverage, the kind of leveraged public outreach that the CIOERT budget could not have afforded. We thank NBC and Dr. Robinson for their commitment to ocean science and resources.