The International Space University (ISU) Space & Media Panel was held on the Melbourne Campus of Florida Institute of Technology also known (FIT) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 from 8 p.m. until 10 p.m. The panel was held to discuss how the media cover space-related events and the impact that social media has had on their job. The panelists included Space.com’s Leonard David, CBS News William Harwood, Reuters’ Irene Kotz; Jim Lewis who works for Communications Concepts based out of Cape Canaveral, Florida and David Livingston, host of the Space Show.
Livingston moderated the event and posed this question to the panel: “How do you assess space coverage from space reporting to everyday reporting then and now?”
“Back then I had an old Royal Typewriter with the ’R’ font missing so sending out a story on (r)ockets was a challenge compared with the internet being right there today, stories need to have added valor, explore something new,” said Leonard David in response.
Irene Klotz added, “A lot of misinformation or ‘hot air’ goes along with space reporting, so we need accurate information to translate in a manner that everyday people can relate to it.”
The question, “Is fact, ‘fact’ or can it be ‘suggestive?’” Bill Harwood stated, “Facts are not subject to interpretation, study and learn the subject before reporting on it.”
Another question was “Do you see yourselves as teachers?’” Leonard David stated “get a story that teaches you.” while Harwood commented, “We tell the reader, not teach them.” Prompting David Livingston to add, “Learn from the people you interview, as I work in radio, there is no way of knowing if you educate the audience or not, you have to rely on call ins for feedback.”
The question that garnered the single most attention was; “Is the way people get their news transforming social media?” Livingston stated that during the last SpaceX launch he received the most up-to-date reports from ‘Tweeters’ rather than the traditional forms of media. While Jim Lewis stated that he believes that the ‘citizen reporters’ are rapidly catching up to trained journalists.
Harwood expressed concern, responding that the protective measures and requirements used by trained journalists and editors could potentially be sacrificed and that accuracy will suffer.
Each year the ISU hosts a nine-week course in a different location across the globe. ISU’s main campus is located in Strasbourg, France. Of this year’s 125 members - only 12 hail from the U.S. making for a truly international affair. This year the ISU selected space journalism and gathered a variety of highly-experienced individuals to speak on the subject
Out of the approximately 125 members attending this year’s event only 12 are from the U.S. This makes the ISU a truly international event.