SEPTEMBER 7, 2016, MILLINGTON, Tenn. (NNS) – The Navy’s American Connections Media Outreach Program, which this year replaced and modernized the legacy Fleet Home Town News (FHTN) Program, passed a major milestone last month, eclipsing 100 million media impressions for the year.
Media impressions indicate the potential reach of a story or photo appearing in print, broadcast, online or social media, among an audience of readers, viewers or listeners, according to the Public Relations Society of America. While not an exact predictor of readership or viewership, it is considered a public relations industry standard for measuring an audience’s exposure to a piece of content.
The program, announced via NAVADMIN 148/16, was established to share the Navy story in media across the country serving markets which generally do not receive Navy news and information. It leverages Sailors’ local connections to communities across America–hometown, location of high school or college attended, a family member’s hometown, etc.–as well as the relationships that exist between Navy units and their namesake cities and states, to ensure Americans throughout the country understand their Navy, its mission and its contribution to national security.
“I’m proud of the milestone not for the number, but for the fact that it means that potentially 100 million Americans know more about their Navy because of a story they read or saw about a local Sailor,” said Cmdr. John Gay, director of the Navy Office of Community Outreach (NAVCO), the activity that administers the program. “Because the Navy is concentrated largely on the coasts, getting news and information about the Navy into markets like Detroit or Kansas City is a challenge. By leveraging the ties our Sailors and our ships have to cities and states across the country, their American Connections, we can share the Navy story nationwide.”
The American Connections Media Outreach Program has three primary components.
The first, NAVCO’s Fleet Content Sharing Service, ensures that thousands of high-quality stories and photos produced for official Navy outlets each year are shared with civilian media. NAVCO has a team of specialists who search dozens of Navy web sites and other products, find stories and photos, identify local connections or namesake ties and distribute them to media across the country. The key, NAVCO officials say, is the identification of local ties, such as a hometown, in all stories and photo captions submitted to official Navy media outlets. While NAVCO reviews photos and stories shared with Navy.mil, DVIDS and many other sources, commands are also encouraged to include email@example.com when distributing photos and stories.
“It is great to hear and see the photos I take end up around the country,” said USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) Seaman Jamaal Liddell, from Jacksonville, Florida. “It is even better to let the person in the photo know that their parents got to see their photo because the local media was able to get their hands on the photo through the NAVCO program.”
Under the second component, Media Production Visits, NAVCO deploys small production teams to commands to produce feature stories and accompanying photos on assigned Sailors. The stories are provided to the local media outlets where Sailors have local connections and posted on the NAVCO’s media outreach blog, www.navyoutreach.blogspot.com. The blog makes it easy for Sailors to share their stories using their own social media networks. NAVCO also provides each participating command with detailed media feedback reports with links to all coverage.
“Please continue your good work writing stories about enlisted personnel; it means a lot to families,” said Arthur Biladeau in an email to NAVCO. His son, Missile Technician 1 Adam Biladeau, serves at the Strategic Weapons Facility, Atlantic in Kings Bay, Georgia, and was featured in a story that appeared in his hometown newspaper in Villa Park, Illinois.
The third component is NAVCO’s Media Advisory Service, which preserves a popular capability from the legacy FHTN program, allowing Sailors to receive recognition in local media when they receive awards, earn qualifications, retire, reenlist, get promoted or reach other career milestones.
Since its inception, the American Connections Media Outreach Program has shared more than 14,000 stories, photos and other products with media across the United States, according to NAVCO officials.
For more information about NAVCO and the American Connections Media Outreach Program visit www.outreach.navy.mil or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.