Dana Topousis of the NSF discussed the role of the National Science Foundation in the new media landscape at a DCSWA workshop in 2009. She noted that the NSF.gov's "Discoveries" gets the most traffic of the NSF site. NSF sees its role as protecting scientist's free speech. One venture they launched is Science360.gov, as a 1-stop shop for any science news.
More notably, they stepped up when one print publication-- US News&World Report-- eliminated their science section. The NSF provided and funded the US News&World Report online section section to ensure science reporting remained viable. By providing continuity to the science section, they were able to let the publication continue producing Science until US News&World Report could rehire their own science staff.
|Alas, this column is not from the NSF, but we include this image to show how they tag their content.
NSF also partnered with Live Science including 'behind the scenes', image of the week, and the 10-question "Science Lives", and partnered with Discover magazine. Their older FAQ states "when we provide editorial content to media, as with our partnerships with LiveScience.com and U.S. News and World Report, the content is clearly labelled as such."
The NSF has also partnered with NBC News and with Discover magazine to present town hall forums ( http://www.nsf.gov/news/newsletter/jan_11/index.jsp) and funded panels and features for Discover magazine on science topics (http://www.sciencecheerleader.com/tag/nsf/). This is within its role as a grant-distributing entity, and it's heartening they devote their resources towards panels, aggregation and dissemination rather than towards commissioning a specific stance.
Myself, I see the NSF's role as providing continuity and stability in the media landscape with a sort of "the Dude abides" stance.
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