Update: press releases

The goal of the project is to establish a strong connection between the astronomical community in Brazil and the press, in order to efficiently reach the general public in the country.

In this semester, we have managed to receive funding for three undergraduate fellowships, and have assembled a team of two Astronomy majors and one Journalism major. They are currently working together to produce press releases for recent discoveries made by Brazilian astronomers, and have in the first two months of work written and published three articles. We expect to increase production in the second semester, after they gain more experience.
We have also made contact with several news channels in the country, and this has ensured that, in many cases, we are the contact point when journalists need to verify any information related to astronomical news. We believe this to be an important step, since it recognizes the Brazilian Astronomical Society (SAB) as the national authority in the subject, as opposed to personal contacts the journalists might have, as was the case before. This has also led to a two-page article, written by the project coordinator, published in the highest circulation variety magazine in the country, with over a million readers, a fundamental step to increasing visibility of our initiative.
Even though we have started producing the releases, they haven’t yet been picked up by the press for publication. We have tried different ways to do this, including the university press office and direct contact with the press, but neither has worked as expected. Therefore, we have hired our own service of press consultants, in hope that this leads to a higher success rate. This is paid both by SAB and the OAD funds. The main test for this new attempt will be the SAB annual meeting, to be held in September, when we are making a strong effort to appear in the media.
The first release to the press was a comment on the so-called “end of the world” rumour, which has received major attention nationwide and has considerably improved our position in the Brazilian press.
Press Releases: Article 1, Article 2, Article 3 (Portuguese)