22 December 2009

Hot News Rises

Posted by Michael McFadden

Missed the meeting? Catch highlights from news organizations and bloggers!

Beaucoup bloggers descended on the Fall Meeting this year, contributing to a towering plume of science stories from the gathering. Getting a lot of coverage isn’t unusual for AGU’s biggest meeting of the year. But online outlets, including bloggers, are picking up slack left as traditional print media outlets–long the mainstays of the meeting’s coverage–continue to dwindle.

Hot magma blows up into the water, as seen by the JASON submersible (image from NOAA and NSF)Truly smoking was a report on the first views of planetary crust forming deep beneath the Pacific Ocean. The story made it onto national television networks, perhaps because of its scientific importance, but more likely because of spectacular, high-def, video footage of balls of flame belching from an undersea volcano like cannon blasts. National Geographic’s version can be seen here.

Another story lacked fire and brimstone but got carried far and wide. When people feel an earthquake these days, they don’t just shake; they tweet. The U.S. Geological Survey is looking into using tweets to home in on quakes in record time. See the coverage by Science News. Be sure to also check out NPR’s recent Science Friday to hear Sid Perkins, who wrote the Science News story linked above. You can even tell Ira Flatow about how the meeting went!

A story that also has legs–-some probably unsteady–and is appreciated much by AGU members who are social media mavens is this bubbly video report posted on Wired. It’s about, no less, why geologists love beer. Caught on camera, often with beers in both hands, Fall Meeting-goers offer quasi-scientific rationales for mixing geoscience and brew.

To sample the gamut of this year’s press coverage, try Google News or look for AGU’s tweets on stories. Also see the roundup of AGU coverage by the Knight Science Journalism Tracker.

Re: the growth of blog coverage: A couple of years ago, a Google news search would turn up 1,000-2,000 hits on stories in traditional news outlets. Now it takes a blog search to reach those kinds of numbers. Meanwhile, the count among traditional outlets is down in the hundreds.

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably already found our new AGU Fall Meeting blog. There’s also a Fall Meeting blog roll which will guide you to some 30 other blogs posting meeting reports.

—Peter Weiss, AGU Public Information Manager