Internet Policies: May 2007 Archives

Editor's note: Once again, it seems that NASA HQ and JSC PAO just cannot agree on whose version of a routine ISS status report gets released. Solution: they release both. Why the fuss? Well, JPL PAO complains that it cannot afford to give their employees cell phones with email capability (most kids walking home from Junior High have that) and other PAO organizations complain about looming budget cuts to other vital functions. Yet instead of trying to make their organization more efficient, PAO manages to find ways to make it less efficient. The following two versions of the 18 May 2007 ISS status report were issued within minutes of each other. The first one went out from JSC at 4:09:21 PM EDT. The NASA HQ version went out at 4:56:10 PM EDT.

Editor's note: I just learned that JPL PAO media reps do not have the ability to get email 24/7. According to a JPL PAO source, JPL simply "does not have the money to provide Blackberry's to their staff". First of all, please tell me just how much that would cost for the PR employees of an arm of NASA (albeit a contractor), all of whom use nasa.gov email addresses, whose parent organization manages a substantial portion of NASA's space missions. What happens if news breaks (and it does) after business hours? Secondly: Earth to JPL: it is now possible to get email on Treos and handheld devices other than Blackberry's - even really cheap phones. Call Rent-A-Geek and they will set it up for you. Thirdly: for an entity whose amazing people can reach across billions of miles to reprogram 30 year old spacecraft now travelling outside our solar system, this has just got to be plain embarassing. You guys want to help build the Interplanetary Internet - and your PAO staff shuts off email after hours?

Reader note: "Please do not post my name or email address, as JPL still shoots messengers. The JPL PAO excuse does not ring true. Virtually all JPL managers have, or have access to either Blackberries or Treos. The Treos seem to be more prevalent. Probably due to pricing. FWIW, almost everyone on my team has a Treo, and we are just worker bees. Also FWIW, it's inconvenient as hell to have a cell phone with a built in camera when you frequent places where cameras aren't allowed."

Reader note (a veteran space journalist): "Some PAO at several NASA centers have the addictive blackberries. I'd say JPL PAO doesn't want them. They are, by far, rank lowest in returning phone calls and setting up interviews of any PAO shop I've dealt with across NASA or DOD or even private industry. NASA HQ comes in second, but I believe JPL PAO people think if they just ignore it, then it will go away. So, if they are "reachable" 24/7 (or more than they are now) then it will probably just go away."

Editor's note: Have a look at the Winds website at NASA JPL. In the lower center of the page there is a link to "Lampson Concerned About Survival Of Vital Hurricane Tracking Satellite". Apparently (and I am giving them the benefit of the doubt here) the webmaster was unaware that his not an original "article", but rather, it is a press release from Rep. Lampson's office - someone who has been critical of the Bush Administration's space policies. If you go to this link there is nothing to note that it is indeed a press release, rather, it says what it was written by "staff writers". The full press release - labeled as such - can be found here at SpaceRef.com. Lampson's office has not put the press release online yet. I have asked JPL PAO and the responsible officials for this website what their policy is with regard to linking to external news sources and political press releases, but they have not responded. Indeed, they have updated this page since I initially sent my request. One would think that NASA's Office of Legislative Affairs would have some say in matters such as this.

Editor's update: The website has been modified and JPL PAO says that indeed they were not aware that they were linking to a press release. Yet, the phrase "Lampson Concerned About Survival Of Vital Hurricane Tracking Satellite" now points to this LA Times article - one that makes no mention whatsoever of Rep. Lampson (D- TX) but mentions the comments of Ron Klein (D-FL) instead.

Editor's further update: The link is now gone altogether.


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This page is an archive of entries in the Internet Policies category from May 2007.

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