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Princess Elisabeth Antarctica: an International Polar Year outreach and media success story

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Author(s): Joseph Cheek | Ben Huyge | Jean de Pomereu

Journal: Polar Research
ISSN 0800-0395

Volume: 30;
Start page: 1;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: Media and outreach | media strategy | Antarctic research stations | energy management system | renewable energy | reducing environmental footprint

ABSTRACT
One of the priorities of the fourth International Polar Year (IPY) was to increase awareness of the polar regions and polar science among the general public through education, communication and other forms of outreach. This paper reports on the media coverage of Princess Elisabeth Antarctica (PEA), Belgium's “zero-emission” Antarctic research station designed by the non-profit International Polar Foundation (IPF) to run on wind and solar energy and to employ state-of-the-art forms of energy management and other “green” technology. This paper provides background information on PEA, a review of IPF's media strategy for the project, a description of media coverage of the station and a discussion of the way in which the IPF's main messages were reported in the media. IPF staff surveyed approximately 300 media reports released between February 2004, when the PEA project was announced to the general public, and June 2010, when the IPF presented their findings at the IPY conference in Oslo. PEA was featured 580 times in print and web media in Belgium, and 303 times outside Belgium. Major international agencies such as the Associated Press, Agence France Presse, the BBC, Al-Jazeera and Reuters covered the project. On television and radio, PEA was featured in news broadcasts from all four major television networks in Belgium, most major radio stations and 34 different television and radio news outlets outside Belgium. The paper concludes that the media coverage for PEA was significant and suggests reasons why the project was so widely reported.
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