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SVP press coverage



As a working reporter who wasn't able to get to either meeting in person, I 
went through the SVP conference abstracts, then checked the press conference 
list. The press conference list is intended to be the most interesting talks 
for the general press, and they did a pretty good job. I wrote about Dave 
Unwin's pterosaurs and Ross MacPhee's study of the Pleistocene megafauna. My 
lead for New Scientist was Karen Sears's talk on how bats likely evolved their 
long wing digits very rapidly (a really neat example of evo-devo at work). I 
also did very short notes on the St. George, Utah trackway, Nick Longrich's 
report of a Cretaceous aquatic mammal, and reports of a possible fossil chimp 
and a giant snake. Every reporter is likely to make some different selections, 
and many are likely just to cover the press conference. I think Ken Dial's work 
is neat stuff, but I had covered it when it came out in Science, 

Paleontology works better than geology for the general reader. GSA has a larger 
press officer (with a full-time staff member doing PR), so they sent out more 
detailed press releases. However, none of them excited me or my editors enough 
to cover the story. (GSA's abstract book has grown enormous and I didn't have 
the time to dig into the large numbers of talks.)  Gerta Keller has been saying 
the KT impact and the extinction don't match for so long I don't consider it 
news, and that account sounds like it was based on a paper published sometime 
in the past year. She's insistent enough and contrary enough to offer the 
potential of a good story, so her claims do get picked up by some reporters. 
-- 
Jeff Hecht, science & technology writer
jeff@jeffhecht.com; http://www.jeffhecht.com
Boston Correspondent: New Scientist magazine
Contributing Editor: Laser Focus World
525 Auburn St., Auburndale, MA 02466 USA
v. 617-965-3834; fax 617-332-4760