The Media and Apollo 11 40th Anniversary

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matthewota

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It amazes me on how much more attention the media of the UK and Australia are giving to the Apollo 11 40th anniversary compared to the media in the United States.

Seems US media is more concerned with pop star news :-(
 
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MeteorWayne

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That's interesting. I admit I haven't heard much from the US media about it, but then again, I avoid TV when I can.

Have some examples of UK and AUS coverage? I'd like to read them and compare!
 
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seth_381

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Yea I noticed as well even on most news websites there's nothing I guess it shows the public's low interest in space.
 
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clint_dreamer

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matthewota":1btbyo31 said:
Seems US media is more concerned with pop star news :-(
You hit it right on the head there and it's such a sad statement on news media. CNN would much rather report on the death of a popstar 24/7, that everyone turned their back on till his death, instead of celebrating the greatest achievement in the history of mankind.

Kind of makes you wonder what would happen if the next moon landing coincided with the arrest of Britney Spears' son or something equally as lame.
 
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Smersh

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I think I have a solution. Send Britney Spears to the Moon on the first launch of the next Moon missions, then the media will cover it.

(Might be an idea to leave her there as well. :lol: )
 
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ZenGalacticore

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I guess most people just don't see the 40th anniversary of the first Moon landing as relevant to their daily lives. (I don't see how the death of Michael Jackson relates to their daily lives either.)

It seems most don't see or care about deeper issues and the long-term, they never have. I was only nine-years-old when they cancelled the Apollo program, and I was shocked and angry about it!! But no one else seemed to care, that I remember.

Even my dad- a highly educated, intelligent, and accomplished trial lawyer and former FBI agent- said 'Well, we beat the Soviets to it, and that's probably all that really matters to most people.' And he was probably right. To most people, beating the Russians WAS all that mattered at the time. But it's certainly not all that matters NOW!

Later on, when I was in high school, I was enthusiastic and excited about Gerard Oneal and his L-5 space colony concepts, as well as the upcoming shuttle; but I would've been hard pressed to find anyone else in my school that was as keen, except my best friend. (This was a high school with 1,600 students.)

It's depressing and distressing, the lack of widespread interest. But we have to keep the faith! One would think that in an economic downturn like we have now, that there'd be MORE interest than usual in such a fantastic accomplishment.
 
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CalliArcale

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If it's any consolation, the local media here in Minnesota seem to have taken the anniversary to heart. KMSP (local Fox affiliate) even had Buzz Aldrin on their show a few days ago; he was in town to attend the annual fundraiser ball for the hearing association, before heading on to participate in Apollo 11 anniversary celebrations. (Not sure the exact name of the charity, but they fund research and also help poor folks get hearing aids, especially kids.) He was on the morning show, which was quite a treat. ;-)

The morning programs on both KMSP and KSTP showed footage of Apollo 11 lifting off. I bet they'll have more coverage on Monday, the anniversary of the actual landing.
 
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AndyLP

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matthewota":dokhz8eh said:
It amazes me on how much more attention the media of the UK and Australia are giving to the Apollo 11 40th anniversary compared to the media in the United States.

Seems US media is more concerned with pop star news :-(

Yup.. and it's not the first time that happens.. You gotta wonder if media influences us the right way, and if it should be controlled more than now.. I mean.. Where are we heading?
 
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RonMaverick

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I don't blame the media at all I blame NASA.

The majority of the US would LOVE to hear about space news. For example, some of movies this year. Harry Potter, Star Trek, Terminator, Moon, Watchmen.. all movies that involve either time travel, physics or space. Or for better examples you could refer to Michio Kaku and Neil deGrasse Tyson (both physicists) having their books reach number 1. The US is very much into physics and space travel even if it is as just entertainment.

It seems NASA has built this border between them and the average American public. NASA's PR needs work. Often, when their work is explained to them it is perceived as something complicated. When people do ask questions about NASA related activities, the experienced often make fun or make them feel dumb for not knowing.

No one is expecting flying cars this soon (although just about every other futuristic idea has just about been created.) Also the school systems are horrible now. NASA TV is by far the most boring channel on tv unless there is a launch. Why watch that when there is The Discovery Channel and Nat. Geo. doing the same thing but better? This should tell them something.

Also.. I am not sure if NASA realizes this or not.. but there is a new generation out here. My generation where the majority was born 20 years AFTER the moon landing. I know this may be hard to digest, but no one that I knows cares at all about what NASA has done or is doing. Their replies are similar to "that was then, what have they done now? "

So far IMO NASA has yet to convince me why I should be interested or INVEST in what they do, opposed to other MORE APPROACHABLE fields that my gen has literally grown up with like computers, telecommunications, 3D animation and biotech to name a few. Now there are even more options coming up like solar & renewable energy. Let's not even get into the music scene.

Personally I know about the Mars rovers and the ISS but to the average guy he does not care, especially in these times. At most people only see the launch of the rovers. They hear NASA is still searching for life.. most people do not know the more important details like recent finding traces of water. I hope NASA can do something about their image.

I am tired of trying to convince my grandparents AND my friends why they should watch the next shuttle launch each time. That's all we are doing here. Being NASA's personal cheerleaders because they have not adapted their own modern methods of advertising & informing the public. That is not CNN's job or BBC's job to advertise.
 
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Chryseplanatia

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It's pretty clear that NASA is often their own worst enemy when it comes to PR. JPL is a bit ahead in that game, but HQ... well, let's just wait and see. I'm hoping that the new administrators (Bolden and especially Lori Garver) have a bit more media IQ.

I remember clearly the TV networks, once it was clear that Apollo 14 would not fall into the same fate as 13, switching over to the daytime soaps while I was playing hookey to watch the moonwalks. I just could not believe it. "General Hospital" instead of the most amazing adventure of our time (or 40 years later, but I digress). But don't blame the media on that one... it was pressure from the viewers that done it.

As stated elsewhere, I have an Apollo book out right now and there has been a lot more interest in terms of written media in Europe than the US. Of course, as the anniversary neared, there was a frenzy of "disposable" media interest; mostly radio. Quickly done, quickly forgotten. Meanwhile, Belgium and Britain and France (!) and others are eating this up. They LOVE Apollo, even though there is some envy mixed in here and there.

So what's wrong with us?

As George Bush famously said, it's much easier to run a dictatorship. That's why I think there is a good chance the Chinese will be setting up shop in the lunar equatorial zone long before we get back to our by-then 50+ year accomplishment. And maybe that's just what we need.

There will be many who will squawk, "Hey, we already did that." But I think a whole lot more people are just going to be outraged. Many of the poloticos who voted down space appropriations will scream "How can this have happened? Who missed the warning signs?? HOW CAN THIS BE???" and we, the true believers (older and grayer), will say: it was YOU. IT WAS YOU, and your disenfranchised constituents who were more concerned with owning a new 80-inch TV than a national vision for space and science.

OK, I'm ranting here. But I give Apollo talks here and there (many more lately), and it just astounds me how few people, people who are INTERESTED in Apollo, know anything about Constellation. NASA, are you listening? Let's forget for a moment that the tech baseline is getting all gooey on us and may shift again. Let's just work the the IDEA of Constellation and Ares and Orion, Altair, etc. While China and, possibly India, are warming-over Soyuz technology for their lunar efforts, we have a choice: we can go or we can watch. Not much else.

I hate to go against Aldrin and Collins (well, mostly Collins) re the Mars question. After all, they are the GODS and I am at best an acolyte. But I just don't think we can generate the national will to get to Mars. I did note that Armstrong was considerably more restrained, even for him. Not sure he's quite there on the Mars question, And if you remove the cycler idea, maybe Buzz would not be quite so fanatical about it either.

But back to the point: NASA needs to climb in bed with the media and, as Borat might say, "Make Space a-Sexy." I've worked oessage from the top is always the same: don't bore me with the facts. I want pretty pictures, some cool CGI graphics, and lots of flash 'n' dazzle. Make space COOL. Make space SEXY.

Because without the media onboard, these spaceflight programs don't have a chance.
 
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bobble_bob

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MeteorWayne":3abxtqsd said:
That's interesting. I admit I haven't heard much from the US media about it, but then again, I avoid TV when I can.

Have some examples of UK and AUS coverage? I'd like to read them and compare!
The BBC has been the main broadcaster providing coverage. Every night they have done a "live 40 years ago" broadcast, details what would have been going on at mission control and on Apollo on each day. They did a "live from the moon" program showing the famous footage as if it was live, with reaction from people.

They have also done interviews with the Apollo crew and did a 1 hour feature on Neil Armstrong. There has probably been alot more stuff on TV that i missed. Everytime i see the TV guide there was something Apollo/moon related on
 
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missionunknown

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Yes there has been a quite frankly impressive bunch of programmes commenorating the apollo moon landings this month, starting early on in july. I watched nearly all of them on bbc iplayer on the internet as i don't have TV. But to be honest i have never ever seen an interview with neil armstrong on british television or anywhere so i think it was long overdue, hell i don't think i've seen many with aldrin either. There was also a progremme about why armstrong has become so elusive which was mildy interesting. But there were 4 or 5 decent apollo documentaries of which i was grateful of.

If that wasn't enough there was even a programme on apollo wives and one about russian space dogs but i never got round to seeing them.

All this stuff on tv has certainly got me inspired and yes it amazes me also the lack of interest in the U.S or my my closest mates. Frankly i'm amazed that the american public got bored by apollo 13, but i think people have said the reason for that was because the whole operation from earth > moon was protrayed as being glitch free and therefore easy. I don't think the public were very aware or at all aware of the fact that apollo 11 very nearly ended in disaster.
 
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ZenGalacticore

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I don't know why anyone would ever think that manned spaceflight was easy or 'routine'. It will never be easy or routine, at least in our lifetimes. And even when it appears to be- like air travel is today- there will still be catastrophic disasters.

That's one reason I'm cautious about us rashly leap-frogging off to Mars. If something goes horribly wrong like Apollo 13, there will be hardly anything that ground control will be able to do to remedy the situation. And a Mars disaster, though it won't stop us, by God, would still set us back decades. (The media would of course be all over any disaster, and negative pessimists, naysayers, and the-in my eyes- utterly despicable "we CAN'T do it" crowd would never shut-up!)

America really does need to recapture its CAN DO! attitude. I'm so sick of the 'Can't doers'. America wasn't built on the attitude of "Can't do".
 
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Shaky

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Agree with all of you on NASA and PR. I am quite the space junkie and yet when I go to the NASA site I am bored bored bored. There is little to really grab your attention, information is not well organized... I mean it is an okay site as site design goes, but come on, this is SPACE EXPLORATION! When I was a kid you could send a letter to NASA and they would send you posters, picture books and other materials. I wore those things out into pulp it was so much fun. What does NASA have for kids now? Hint, I hear kids like video games. Hint. I hear NASA has some expertise in simulations. Hint enough?

I'm not kidding, what kind of special skill does it take to make traveling into space boring to most people?
 
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bobble_bob

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ZenGalacticore":sf3fhafs said:
I don't know why anyone would ever think that manned spaceflight was easy or 'routine'. It will never be easy or routine, at least in our lifetimes.
I dont think people think its easy, but i think Nasa make it look easy. Ive thought for some time now that Nasa are a victim of their own success. They make launching shuttles very easy to an outsider who doesnt cover the mission on a daily basis like alot of us do here. We know the daily challenges, the years of preperation and the high risks involved. But to someone on the outside, they see launch after launch every few months will little trouble. Then when something does go wrong like Challenger or Columbia they're surprised
 
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clint_dreamer

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Shaky":8cnzwde7 said:
Agree with all of you on NASA and PR. I am quite the space junkie and yet when I go to the NASA site I am bored bored bored. There is little to really grab your attention, information is not well organized... I mean it is an okay site as site design goes, but come on, this is SPACE EXPLORATION! When I was a kid you could send a letter to NASA and they would send you posters, picture books and other materials. I wore those things out into pulp it was so much fun. What does NASA have for kids now? Hint, I hear kids like video games. Hint. I hear NASA has some expertise in simulations. Hint enough?

I'm not kidding, what kind of special skill does it take to make traveling into space boring to most people?
The routine of it all made the public stop paying attention. Always reminds me of the sad scene in Apollo 13 when the astronauts are "broadcasting" live to the world and Mrs. Lovell notices that they are not actually on TV.
 
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jim48

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As a child of the '60s I remember vividly Apollo 11. That was so cool! We did it! Americans--humans--on the moon!! 40 years later I agree that the media coverage could have been far, far better. Curious that overseas report better coverage than here in USA. Kinda' sets me back to see current photos of '60s astronauts, who look like they are one step from the banana peel to the grave. I recall them as young, of course. I am saddened whenever I read of an old astronaut passing. Well, cheers, Y'all! Life is for the living. Let us do more in the way of space travel, shall we?
 
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StrandedonEarthsince1970

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I think the lack of media coverage is because space travel fits into the old quote about war (not sure by who): "Long moments of boredom punctuated by moments of sheer terror." With space travel the "terror" could/should be replaced by "excitement," although I'm sure that "terror" fit for more than a few people in Mission Control when hearing that Eagle was heading for a boulder field with fuel running low...
 
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