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Media Advisory 04-29

NSF Invites Media to Report on U.S.-Sponsored Antarctic Research (2004-2005 Season)

September 16, 2004

This material is available primarily for archival purposes. Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts.


Application Deadline: Applications must be postmarked no later than Thursday, Sept. 30, 2004

The National Science Foundation (NSF), manager of the U.S. Antarctic Program, is accepting written applications from professional journalists to report on NSF-supported science in Antarctica during the 2003-2004 research season, which begins in early November and ends in mid-February. If selected, journalists will visit Antarctica for a limited time during the season to report on field science.

NSF annually selects a small group of journalists, representing a range of news organizations, 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's scientific program. Applicants must submit the equivalent of two printed 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 an extremely 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 NSF'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 Amundsen-Scott South Pole station, coupled with the need to give scientists and construction cargo priority on a limited number of flights, may limit any media visits to the South Pole this season.

A selection committee of Antarctic Program 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 and ability to communicate that understanding to the public.

Applicants should focus on visiting a 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 strongly 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:, or contact: Guy Guthridge, (703) 292-8033 /

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 travelling to McMurdo or South Pole) or Punta Arenas, Chile (if travelling to Palmer Station). Logistical restraints make it impossible to visit both Palmer and the Pole and McMurdo in one season. Reporters must visit NSF headquarters in Arlington, Va., at their own expense for pre-trip planning. NSF furnishes at no cost 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 from prospective employer to publish or air their work on the employer's letterhead.

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, (703) 292-7761 /


Media Contacts
Peter West, NSF, (703) 292-7761, email:

Program Contacts
Guy G. Guthridge, NSF, (703) 292-8033, email:

The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2022 budget of $8.8 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.

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