New NASA policy emphasizes open communication with media

Stung by recent press reports of political interference with scientists — the dictum that “Big Bang” be accompanied by “theory” was amusing; the suppression of global-warming findings less so — NASA has scrambled to repair the PR damage. Yesterday, administrator Michael Griffin released a new policy making clear that agency scientists can freely speak with journalists about their research, and offer up personal interpretations of their findings, without being bird-dogged by a public-affairs officer (though he warned that for un-media-savvy scientists, going “into an interview without a media professional is courting trouble”). The new policy promises that “scientific and technical information from or about (space) agency programs and projects will be accurate and unfiltered.” House Science Committee Chair Sherwood Boehlert (R-N.Y.) praised the NASA policy’s emphasis on open communication, saying it “should become a model for the entire federal government.” That’ll happen.