Tuesday, June 02, 2009

We've Hit Rock Bottom

nereus woods hole submarineI 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.

bottom of the marianas trenchThey 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.

7 comments:

marie said...

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kob said...

A very good point. But I would contact Woods Hole or send them this link.

There is no mention of Saipan, or anything close to the other points you make, in the Woods Hole press release.

And it is likely Woods Hole will sending out more press releases about its exploration of the Mariana Trench. I suspect that many news organizations are writing from information supplied by Woods Hole.

The Saipan Blogger said...

You are probably right about contacting Woods Hole. Their cruise is almost over. We're trying to get someone from their science team to come over for one day.

Saipan Writer said...

You can add the BBC to the list. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8080324.stm

Anonymous said...

The real truth, Angelo, is that the Challenger Deep is not even in the marine monument. It is located well SW of Guam and is far closer to Yap than to Saipan and the non-existent visitor's center.

The Saipan Blogger said...

Not getting the Visitor's Center has mostly to do with the Justice Department. I haven't explained it on this blog, but ask me in person and I will.

The Saipan Blogger said...

and you are correct, Challenger deep is outside the EEZ of the United States...barely.