NASA HQ News Distribution Goes On-Line - July 1994
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Brian Welch Headquarters, Washington, D.C. July 20, 1994 (Phone: 202/358-1600) RELEASE: 94-121 HEADQUARTERS NEWS DISTRIBUTION GOES ON-LINE JULY 25 Distribution of news releases and other informational materials from NASA Headquarters will take a giant leap into the Information Age starting Monday, July 25. As of that date, Headquarters will no longer distribute news releases, contract announcements or notes-to-editors by mail. Use of electronic distribution services such as the Internet, Compuserve and Fax-on-Demand will become the primary means of informing the news media and the public about NASA activities and programs. Text-only versions of mission press kits also will be available via on-line services. "We are excited by the possibilities inherent in this new way of doing business," said Geoffrey H. Vincent, Deputy Associate Administrator for Public Affairs and head of the Agency's public affairs Internet steering group. "Over time, this change will save the taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars and allow us to meet our customers' needs in a much more effective and efficient manner." The changeover to electronic distribution of news material has been planned for almost a year, Vincent noted. "The Internet is quickly evolving, and we hope to evolve with it," he said. "In the years ahead, vast amounts of information on space exploration, from news releases to historical documents and photographs -- eventually even video -- will be available not just to reporters, but to teachers, students and anyone else who wishes to access it." Use of the Internet to obtain information on space- related topics is one of the fastest growing aspects of the service, he added. "Since July 8, for example," Vincent said, "there have been more than 90,000 inquiries on a computer server at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory for information on the collision of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 with the planet Jupiter. This is just one example of the tremendous interest that exists, and the virtually unlimited possibilities of this new technology." Although the primary means of news distribution will be by on-line services, news media currently on the Headquarters distribution list will continue to receive news releases by fax. Press kits will continue to be sent by mail for the foreseeable future, but that practice ultimately will be phased out as technological advances permit. ACCESS BY INTERNET The NASA Headquarters Internet database will contain NASA news releases, mission press kits, contract announcements, notes-to-editors, fact sheets and other publications. NASA press releases can be obtained automatically by sending an Internet electronic mail message to [email protected] In the body of the message (not the subject line) users should type the words "subscribe press-release" (no quotes). The system will reply with a confirmation via E- mail of each subscription. A second automatic message will include additional information on the service. Informational materials also will be available from a data repository known as an anonymous FTP (File Transfer Protocol) server at ftp.pao.hq.nasa.gov under the directory /pub/pao. Users should log on with the user name "anonymous" (no quotes), then enter their E-mail address as the password. Within the /pub/pao directory there will be a "readme.txt" file explaining the directory structure. ACCESS BY FAX An additional service known as fax-on-demand will enable users to access NASA informational materials from their fax machines. Users calling (202) 358-3976 may follow a series of prompts and will automatically be faxed the most recent Headquarters news releases they request. ACCESS BY COMPUSERVE Users with Compuserve accounts can access NASA press releases by typing "GO NASA" (no quotes) and making a selection from the categories offered. The Headquarters Newsroom also will operate an automated telephone system for users with problems accessing these information resources. The number is (202) 358-4043.