GATHERING AND DISSEMINATING NAVY NEWS
A fundamental definition of news a key part of
newswriting is basic to a journalist's understanding
To gather and disseminate news, you must first
know what news is and how and whereto find it.
News is new information about anything. It is
material previously unknown (or at least unpublished)
that the public, in whole or in part, needs or wants to
know. News also can be thought of as information that
someone or some group, such as the Navy, wants the
public to know.
of the craft. Some think of news as a combination of the
compass points: north, east, west and south. Although
this is not strictly the beginning of the term, the idea does
emphasize the broad dimension the field covers. News
The primary commodity of the mass media is news.
This commodity is mass-produced by world events and
is retailed in printed, pictured and spoken form to
millions of customers. As a Navy journalist you are a
middleman for this commodity. However, you handle
only the portion known as Navy news.
In Chapter 2, you learned what news is and the ways
in which it is presented to the public. In this chapter, you
will learn the types of news sources and the methods
used to obtain and distribute news.
When performing your job as Navy journalist, you
will find that there are three primary sources of Navy
news. They are as follows:
Messages, directives and official correspon-
Special contracts (both official and unofficial)
maintained by the public affairs officer and his
or her staff
The future file
TYPES OF NEWS SOURCES
LEARNING OBJECTIVE: Identify the types of
news sources used in producing and
disseminating Navy news.
For an energetic and resourceful journalist, the
avenues for finding news stories are limitless. In reality,
however, you will find that your job in the Navy does
not afford you the luxury of spending days, or even
hours, tracking down elusive leads that may eventually
result in one story.
As stated in Chapter 1, the Navy journalist is a
public information specialist, and not a free press
journalist. Your job is to tell the Navy story. That means
you must write positive copy about your command and
its people (save adverse news situations). You are
employed by the Navy. Therefore, you are expected to
work for the Navy.
This is especially true regarding a ship or station
newspaper to which you may be assigned. Such
publications may be compared with the house organs of
civilian businesses covered in Chapter 4. Their purpose
is to inform, educate and entertain their readers and to
provide a means of recognizing the achievements of the
personnel in the organizations they represent. They are
not intended as forums for exposes.
Information about practically every significant
event that occurs in the Navy is passed on to those
concerned via messages, directives or official
correspondence. This includes news of coming events;
current fleet exercises and operations; collisions at sea;
search, rescue and salvage operations; plane crashes;
acts of heroism; weather warnings and unusual weather
conditions; changes of command; personnel
promotions; new performance records; participation of
Navy teams in athletics; upcoming charity drives and
countless other occurrences.
Messages are transmitted between commands by
rapid means, such as radio, teletype and flashing light.
When a message arrives aboard ship or at a shore
activity, a number of copies are made and distributed to
various departments. The PAO normally gets copies of
all message traffic that might be of interest in carrying
out PAO duties.