I hope you are following Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution on Twitter. Over the last few days they have been exploring the bottom of the Marianas Trench with a robot submersible called Nereus.
They have reached the bottom several times now and have already released a single photo to whet the appetite of science geeks across the world.
Including our local paper the Saipan Tribune, this feat of science and technology is being reported in a number of international publications including: New Scientist, Nature.com, US News & World Report, Discover Magazine, RedOrbit, National Science Foundation, Insciences Organisation, and Newswise among others.
Most of these stories are written as stories of science for the sake of science. They do not mention the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument, the Chamorro or Carolinian people, the Marianas, or really much of anything about the ecology of the region other than they were able to get a submarine as far under water as a commercial jet liner flies high.
That is where the Marianas Visitors Authority should step in. Imagine if all of these stories ended with, "The Marianas Trench Marine National Monument is a 95,000 square mile marine protected area designated by President George W. Bush in 2009. Commercial fishing and mining are restricted in this area the size of Oregon for the sake of scientific discovery and recreation. The monument protects 19 species of whales and hundreds of species of coral and fish." Would that interest you in the region? Maybe take the time to at least google it?
Maybe some day the story can continue with, "The Marianas Trench was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. A visitor's center and research center can be found on the island of Saipan, which maintains a catalogue of all scientific discovery within the monument borders since 2009."
Getting language like that into these science and environment stories requires making connections with reporters who will be writing these stories. The Friends of the Monument contacted many of these reporters during our campaign, which is how we got Agnes McPhetres quoted in several hundred newspapers articles back in January.
It is too late to rewrite these stories, but a good start for ensuring that we make the next round of press would be to contact the reporters who wrote these stories because it won't be long until the next research ship comes out to the Marianas. Maybe next time we can be ready.