Report from the Public Affairs Committee
R. Andrew Cameron, Public Affairs Committee Co-Chair
Here we are on the verge of April and the last December meeting of the Society is but a
memory. The Public Affairs Committee conducted several successful events and also had a
few surprises. First, coverage of the meeting by the national scientific press was very
good. We had over a page of coverage in the Research News section of Science offering
details from the symposia. The press room served as a focus for local television coverage,
and the interviews conducted there were broadcast on local news programs. It was a
surprise to us that water resource issues and river conservation were of such great
interest to local New Mexicans. Excellent local newspaper coverage resulted from the very
interesting discussion of water resource issues at the Public Affairs Panel Discussion.
The panel was even attended by a member of the New Mexico state legislature. We thank the
three experts on water resources, Dr. Clifford Crawford, Dr. F. Lee Brown and Mr. Norman
Gaume, for their interesting presentations.
A local public radio announcer, Marcos Martinez, presented two workshops on media
relations for symposium leaders and Division Chairs as part of our ongoing program to
provide support to the Society for interacting with the news media.
A short meeting to gauge the interest of Society members on hormone-disrupting
chemicals was extremely well attended and plans were made to continue this thread in the
The Committee has begun an initiative to establish a science writing prize as a way to
foster high-quality coverage of science for public consumption. We will continue this
effort through the coming year. Also we will continue to pass along appropriate public
information alerts as we receive them.
I want to thank Peter deFur (DCPB) for his exemplary efforts as chairman and then
co-chair of this committee. He has established a high standard of public communication
about science to emulate. Lastly, I am pleased to announce that Dominique Didier (DSEB)
has agreed to serve as Co-Chair for the next two-year period.