a sailor. A social conversation soon centers on the
reporters area of military interest.
12. Mismatched headlines. A copy editor puts
headlines on a story, not the reporter who wrote it. With
time and space constraints, catchy headlines are
vulnerable to error. Do not blame the reporter for a
ROLE OF THE PAO/SENIOR JO IN
Learning Objective: Recognize the role of the
PAO/senior JO in media relations, and develop an
awareness of news media communications strategies.
In most cases, the CO readily consults the PAO and
senior journalist for sound guidance about news media
encounters. Remember, the CO is not the public affairs
specialist of the commandyou and the PAO have
earned that title. If you cannot provide the answers for
the CO, assure him that you will get them. Do not expect
the CO and XO to take up the slack and deal with media
The CO relies on the PAO and senior journalist to
perform the following media-related functions:
Advise if a media interview is a good idea, is
authorized and within policy to do.
Research the interview issues.
Research background on the reporter and news
organization working the request.
Act as the interviewer in rehearsing the possible
questions and answers likely to be asked during
Arrange the interview, including the establish-
ment of ground rules and location.
Monitor the interview and tape-record to to make
an in-house record, and follow up on any
promised items to be provided later.
Act as liaison with the news organization, and
provide video copies or news clippings of the
interview to the interviewee.
Provide after-action feedback to determine if the
desired message was delivered.
In the previous chapter segments, we covered the
strengths and weaknesses of the news media. Now we
will cover ways the Navy uses to educate the news
people who have the tendency to be skeptical of the
The three communications strategy options are as
l Winging it
Obviously, the Navy will use the reactive strategy
in unanticipated events, such as an accident or incident.
However, the best option is to be proactive and plan
public communications as carefully as military leaders
plan an operation.
Avoid the winging it communications strategy.
Why? Because you run the risk of backing down to
critics in the communications war of words battle. If
this is done, the critics will educate the news media, our
families and the public while we remain silent.
The proactive strategy provides the following
The ability to see media regularly by allowing
The ability to recognize that each reporter is dif-
ferent by getting to know each one respectively.
The ability to recognize that each news organ-
ization has different needs by knowing that
particular organization. (For example, television
needs action video while print media need words
The ability to receive unforseen benefits by
providing a candid and honest approach to news
people. (For example, if a reporter respects you,
he may call you before running a negative story
to get your side of it.)
The proactive strategy also offers an opportunity to
gain new insights from news persons. Reporters often
provide valuable insight into issues and events of vital
interest to military people. By casually interviewing the
interviewer, you can get an entirely new perspective to
an existing issue.
RELEASE OF NEWS TO THE MEDIA
Learning Objective: Identify the various methods used
to release news to the media and any specific associated