More examples of low-quality NASA TV programming- Press Conferences

Hello space fans! Just to provide a more recent example to show the difference in professional quality I want to show you two news conferences: First, is an example of a space shuttle mission press conference at the end of the program dealing with an issue with the External Tank. Second, is a recent press conference about discoveries on oceans on outer planets moons.

Notice the following of the first press conference:

  1. Professional dress by all three members (PAO, NASA HQ leader, and Program Manager)
  2. Professional lightning and sound
  3. Professional background and studio set up
  4. Great detailed information and exchange between press and NASA leadership
  5. Confident and natural speaking by all-great camera presence and voice


Now look at the 2017 press conference. Notice what we see here….

  1. Awkward dress (some in casual, some in professional, some not sure of themselves)
  2. Terrible sound and lighting (Sound doesn’t work at first, lighting and camera angles of the various participants is awkward and not well orchestrated)
  3. Studio set up seems awkward and unprofessional (sometimes the speaker is on the stage, sometimes off…doesn’t look like it was designed for this at all)
  4. Interesting information-delivered by people that should not have been the public face of the projects (JPL has some great camera and voice presence science leaders…Mars missions show this…for some reason this great discovery had a bad press plan)
  5. Speakers seem nervous, out of their elements and unrehearsed. The PAO seems green and inexperienced and hand gestures seem artificial. Voice presence of many are not as NASA as usual.

I know that people need practice and experience but its just sad that NASA TV and PA seems to be pushing people into the public light that need more experience. NASA should hire folks with more TV and radio experience, voice and visual professional presence like Rob Navias, instead of hiring fresh out of college J-Schoolers. I am not sure that is what they are doing, but the quality of PAOs at press conferences and all the push for casual vs. professional are making NASA look less like the champions of the space profession and more like they are trying to be hip-trying too hard.

I am hoping they return to the professional mode and stop trying to be “exciting” by getting things to look thrown together like a high school newscast.

NASA TV has great potential, but it has been disappointing lately.


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