Thank you for sharing your concerns about the media's lack of coverage of the engineering profession. As I am sure you know, goal # 2 in the NSPE Strategic Plan addresses image. " Enhance the image and stature of engineering professionals."
I agree this is an issue for our industry and I am pleased to tell you that NSPE has made a renewed commitment to the public relations effort. We recently hired a public relations manager, and in addition to increasing publicity for NSPE and the engineering profession, we are exploring ways to enhance the image of engineers on a national level through a public relations or advertising campaign. As one of our media relations efforts, we are planning to establish a "speakers bureau" of P.E.s who can serve as spokespeople to the media on specific engineering issues, engineering in general and NSPE. We will promote this to the media as something the along the lines of "Your one stop for all your engineering questions" Is there anyone you'd like to recommend as we begin this endeavor?
I also agree that gatherings, such as editorial breakfasts on timely issues, are a good way to help educate the media about who engineers are and the key roles they play in the latest developments. I do not think, however, that "chewing out reporters" is the best way to win their favor and make them receptive to a future story idea. Since we recognize that media are overlooking engineers, we need to educate them about the significant role engineers play in the latest advances in fields across the board.
I do appreciate your interest in this matter and I'd be interested to hear some of the responses you've gotten when talking with the NY Times' reporters. This is an important issue and one that NSPE is working to correct. Thank you again for your thoughts.
Patrick J. Natale, P.E., NSPE
National Society of Professional Engineers
1420 King Street
Alexandria, VA 22314-2794
>>> <NSPE(--nospam--at)aol.com> 01/17/00 09:02PM >>>
Bob Johnson, PE ,PR Director for SEAOI, makes a very good point., namely that
the MEDIA does not give credit to Engineers for their achievements. This
situation is so pervasive that either the media people are ignorant or
thereis an unspoken conspiracy to keep our profession out of the public eye.
I have spoken many times to N.Y. Times reporters about this matter and have
at times "chewed them out" for this oversight. I have concluded from my many
discussions with them that they know fully well what Engineers do and what
Engineering is all about. For some reason they can't or won't give us the
recognition that we deserve. Whenever they report on some new invention or
breakthrough yhe credit is given to the company that created the product or
invention not to the individual engineers who made it possible. Other times
they use titles such as manager, agency official, flight controller, etc.
They don't seem to mind giving scientists credit for their contributions even
when the person in question is actually an Engineer.
I think that the Engineering Community, and NSPE in particular, should
initiate a dialogue with the Media. We should have an ongoing series of
conferences, seminars, workshops, lectures, meetings, etc. which would bring
together representatives from the print and TV Media and the leaders of the
various Engineering Societies. This dialogue could be initiated by NSPE in
cooperation with the journalism department of some prestigious university
such as Columbia.
Pat , I urge you to undertake such an effort. A lot of good can come out of
it. We will look into iniitiating such a project here locally.
Let me know if NSPE is interested in pursuing this issue.