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News Release 09-165

NSF Invites Media to Apply for Antarctic Reporting Slots

Applications for the competitive program are due September 21, 2009

Photo of gentoo penguins at the north end of the Antarctic peninsula.

Gentoo penguins photographed last year at the north end of the Antarctic peninsula.
Credit and Larger Version

September 1, 2009

The National Science Foundation (NSF), manager of the U.S. Antarctic Program, is accepting written requests from professional journalists to report from Antarctica during the 2009-2010 research season.

Selected journalists will deploy to Antarctica for approximately one working week between November 2009, and February 2010.

NSF annually selects a small group of journalists, representing a range of news organizations, to make individual visits to Antarctica to report on NSF's scientific program. As logistics permit, it may be possible to visit a limited number of additional field science projects. The reporting plan described below should include these requests in detail.

How to apply: 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 that has the best chance of meeting minimum criteria.

Competition is expected to be intense for a 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 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 will look 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.

Application Deadline: All applications must be received by NSF no later than 5:00 p.m. ET, Sept. 21, 2009. U.S. media receive preference in selection.

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 Antarctica, travel or logistics are not given priority, though film makers may apply to the Informal Science Education program administered by the Education & Human Resources directorate of NSF. Applications should also include the outlet(s) and media types (television, online, print, etc.) that the eventual reporting will appear in and anticipated audiences reached through the reporting.

Expenses: Reporters or their employers pay for round-trip transportation to--and accommodation in--Christchurch, New Zealand. 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 while in Antarctica.

Medical: Finalists must pass comprehensive physical and dental exams conducted at their own expense by their personal physicians and dentists and are subject to screening by the U.S. Antarctic program. Certain medical conditions may disqualify a candidate from visiting Antarctica, even if initially selected as a media visitor.

How To Apply: Contact NSF (by phone or by e-mail) as soon as possible to express intent and to discuss areas of professional interest. Freelancers must supply evidence of a firm commitment from a prospective employer to publish or air their work.

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: Dana Cruikshank                    

(703) 292-7738 /


Media Contacts
Dana W. Cruikshank, NSF, (703) 292-7738,

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2017, its budget is $7.5 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 48,000 competitive proposals for funding and makes about 12,000 new funding awards.

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