Consumer magazines appeal to various special
interests of the public. Technology, business, sports,
hobbies, theater, gossip and humor are among the major
subjects reported. These provide an opportunity to tell a
story in greater detail or from a particular point of view.
Stories need not be as timely as in a news magazine.
INTERNAL OR PROMOTIONAL
Internal or promotional publications reach the
internal and external audiences of companies, agencies,
professions or vocations. They are also called trade
journals and house organs. Public Affairs Communica-
tor is an example of a trade journal.
Many PAOs and senior journalists are asked to
assist authors of books dealing with military subjects.
More than 30,000 books are published in this country
annually. Because of the continuing importance of the
Navy and the armed services as a whole to our society,
authors of virtually all classes of books (nonfiction,
adult, juvenile, general, text and pictorial) rely on the
public affairs office for help in gathering material.
You may assist book authors by making available
unclassified research or background materials. Contact
CHINFO when an authors request involves more than
locally available materials.
Learning Objective: Identify the various types of media
actions that lead to distorted messages.
Pure media consumers do not have a difficult time
understanding the news media. However, when a media
consumer is faced with actually using news media
channels, that person must have a more detailed
awareness of how the media operates.
The following is a list of the general news media
sins that lead to distorted messages:
1. Short deadlines. Reporters are always under
tight deadlines, which means you must be prepared to
react, on short notice, if it is in the best interest of the
2. Time or space limitations. Print, radio and
television have very small spaces (such as a paragraph)
and short periods (such as a minute, 30 seconds) to tell
3. Inexperienced reporters. Most reporters do
not know the difference between a rear admiral and a
chief petty officer. Military reporters relate to the word
Tomahawk as an American Indian weapon, not a U.S.
Navy cruise missile. Translate military terminology into
civilian terms, if possible. Educating the reporter before
an interview helps.
4. Nonattributed news. Be careful when using
sources without clearly identifing them, such as a
naval officer said. . . . Establish interview ground rules
before the interview and how you will respond to
unknown sources or critics. Ground rules will be
discussed later in this chapter.
5. Editor negligence. Information suspected of
being wrong or misleading is not always checked out by
senior editors. The PAO should always challenge data
or facts that he believes to be wrong and go directly to
the reporters boss if necessary.
6. Competition. Too often, a sloppy job is done
by news reporters because of news media competing to
get the news first. However, competition can be positive.
For example, editors and news directors know that if
reporters are abusive to sources, access will eventually
become more difficult and the competition will have an
7. Prize journalism. Some reporters are looking
for the big story of waste, fraud and abuse to win
professional acclaim and praise.
8. Mob journalism. In a crisis, many news
reporters arrive on-scene and demand access to crisis
events and interviews. You must be cool and stay in
control if this situation occurs.
9. Pack (trend) journalism. Once a single
exclusive story hits the wire services, a whole pack of
stories on the same subject appears. For instance, if the
Navy experiences a series of aircraft accidents over a
short period, the media pack will focus its stories on
naval aviation safety and training.
10. Checkbook journalism. News media buy a
story or source. For example, a television station may
pay air fare, meals and lodging to bring a family (next
of kin) to the crisis.
11. Hitchhiker journalism. Areporter, who thinks
something important has or is about to happen (at a base
or ship), stations himself outside the gate and picks up