Editor's note: The following selection is repeated - verbatim - from an ongoing "Ask the Administrator" dialog with Mike Griffin, located on InsideNASA, and can be viewed by anyone at NASA:
From: Anonymous (Goddard Space Flight Center): Regarding the letter about experiences on Constellation outreach and public relations on NASAWATCH.com on May 30, 2007, I would recommend that HQ PAO needs to coordinate with all Center PAO offices and educate the public about NASA. Have you develop the plan to communicate directly to public? They are the taxpayers. We need to tell them that NASA has benefits for everyone. Also, do you read posts on NASAWATCH.com? I find it very interesting than what PAO has on NASA website.
Response: We try very hard to provide insight for the public, as well as our Administration stakeholders and Congressional oversight committees, as to what we are doing at NASA, and why. Clearly some do not feel that we do this very well, and we are trying to improve. If you have specific ideas which you believe to be useful, I would urge that you communicate them to your Center PAO folks. It is hard for me to offer a better suggestion than this. Finally, no, I do not read NASAWatch, or any other blog.
Reader (space journalist) note: NASA's communications would be a lot more effective if their PAO people simply KNEW what innovative, interesting *** gasp *** even new programs are going on within NASA and their centers. As flattering as it is to have a PAO tell me "Wow, I didn't even know we did this here!" when I'm working on a story about some science or engineering project, it clearly shows PAO doesn't know what is going on at a center. I hear that phrase at least once a month, and sometimes during a space shuttle mission I hear it a few times a week. This isn't an issue restricted to any one center either. As a taxpayer myself, it makes me shake my head and wonder if there is some other lazy government job we could shuffle a few PAOs off to while they mark off the days until retirement.