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LOFAR Surveys paper splash gives rise to media splash

Submitter: Frank Nuijens
Description: The special issue of Astronomy & Astrophysics that bundled twenty-six research papers on the LOFAR Two-Metre Sky Survey (LoTSS, see earlier AJDI by Timothy Shimwell) was published on Tuesday 19 February 2019. To mark this event, the ASTRON Comms Team orchestrated an International PR offensive that turned the LOFAR Survey paper splash into a big media splash.

Together with our partner institutions in The Netherlands, Italy, France, Germany, Sweden, Poland, Ireland and the UK we sent out a press release accompanied by beautiful images and three videos (overview video produced by ASTRON, fly-through the radio sky produced by Robert Schulz and galaxies in radio and optical by Rafael Mostert).

The results of our joint PR efforts were overwhelming. More than 900 articles in 85 countries were written in the media about LOFAR and the discoveries of the survey, with a potential reach of 780 million readers. The image above shows a 'heat map' of how many articles were published per country. And that's just the articles we know about through our media monitoring system, which only tracks written content. It doesn't include the items on radio and TV. Our reach was increased even more on social media, where a total of 129 tweets about LoTSS were viewed more than 5 million times.

In The Netherlands the news was picked up well, with articles in big media like Tweakers, NOS, NRC, Volkskrant, De Telegraaf and an interview with Huub Röttgering on De Wereld Draait Door that had 1.3 million viewers.

We are proud that our international radio telescope LOFAR was in the limelight on the world stage.
Copyright: ASTRON Comms Team
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