air force news

news agency

The Air Force News Agency (AFNEWS) with headquarters at Kelly Air Force Base, Texas, is a field operating agency of the Secretary of the Air Force Office of Public Affairs (SAF/PA).

Mission

AFNEWS gathers, packages and disseminates printed and electronic news and information products during wartime and peacetime. The agency manages and operationally controls the Headquarters Air Force Broadcasting Service (AFBS) and its detachments, Army and Air Force Hometown News Service, Air Force Internal Information Directorate, and Command Business Operations Directorate. AFNEWS is the executive agent for work-force standards and Armed Forces Radio and Television Service (AFRTS) wartime planning for the American Forces Information Service, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs.

During a major military operation or humanitarian relief effort, AFNEWS deploys a Air Force Combat Information Team to gather print and electronic news reports, feature stories and audiovisual products on Air Force support to the operation. In times of crisis, the agency also activates and operates the Air Force Hotline -- a toll-free telephone service that provides information to the public on Air Force activities.

Personnel

AFNEWS has approximately 521 Air Force and Army military and civilian personnel assigned at more than 29 locations worldwide.

Organization Headquarters:

Air Force Broadcasting Service

HQ AFBS manages AFRTS outlets owned and operated by the Air Force. Its mission is to inform and entertain DOD personnel and their families in Central and Southern Europe, Southwest Asia, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the Azores and the Pacific Rim.

HQ AFBS provides budget estimates for broadcasting investment equipment; develops operations and maintenance budgets; coordinates, approves and maintains work force standards; and coordinates the assignment of military and civilian personnel to Air Force broadcasting outlets. The headquarters centrally manages the operations and procurement of all broadcasting equipment used in its outlets, and coordinates with DOD and other military departments on AFRTS matters of mutual interest.

During wartime, AFBS, its outlets and personnel support the AFRTS mission of providing news and information to all DOD elements in place or deployed to an area of operation.

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Army and Air Force Hometown News Service

The service reports on the individual accomplishments of active-duty and reserve members and certain DOD civilians. The service sends news releases to media outlets serving their hometowns.

More than 14,000 newspapers, radio and television stations subscribe to the hometown news service. Together they receive more than 1 million print and
photo stories, and radio and television interviews annually. A staff of Army and Air Force active-duty personnel and civilian employees produce these products using computer-automated typing, printing and distribution methods.

Hometown news service stories report military awards, promotions, transfers, education and training achievements, and participation in military exercises. The service has two divisions. The Broadcast Division produces radio and television from around the world. Hometown news service teams cover such stories as major exercises and disaster relief efforts.

The Print Media Division produces news releases and print news features to help Army and Air Force members receive public recognition for their accomplishments and retain their identities in their hometown communities.

Air Force Internal Information Directorate

The internal information directorate provides timely, accurate and relevant Air Force and DOD news and information to the total Air Force community. The directorate manages the Air Force Bulletin Board System (AFBBS), and administers the Air Force's official home page on the Internet, Air Force LINK (http://www.af.mil). The directorate also conducts research to determine the effectiveness of its products and services as well as customer satisfaction. The directorate has two divisions.

The News Operations Division provides news coverage to internal audiences on events and issues affecting Air Force missions, programs, policies and
activities. It interprets and analyzes the news value of events that shape the Air Force and quickly gathers and disseminates that information via print and electronic products to Air Force people. The division includes the Airman Magazine Branch, Electronic News Branch, and Print News Branch.

The Communication Services Division staff writes, designs, prints and distributes products such as Air Force Facts Sheets, Air Force Updates and general officer biographies. It is the system administrator for AFBBS. The division also oversees the directorate's communications research program. The division includes the Programs and Products Branch, Communications Design Branch, Communications Technology Branch, Research and Strategies Branch, and Print Management Branch.

Command Business Operations Directorate

The business operations directorate directs the agency's personnel, budget, logistics, radio and television maintenance, wartime planning, manpower and organization, individual mobilization augmentee, and communications and information programs.

The directorate provides business operations support to the Air Force public affairs regional offices in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York City. The directorate is also responsible for DOD work-force standards and AFRTS wartime planning.

Mission Statement

Support public affairs by creating and delivering timely and credible products and services. Communicate and broadcast news, information and entertainment through print and electronic media -- keeping the "Total Force" and families, and the American public informed during peace and war.

Vision Statement

AFNEWS people building the Department of Defense's most respected organization, the leader in keeping people informed.

History

The Air Force News Agency, formerly the Air Force News Center and before that the Air Force Service Information and News Center, was activated June 1, 1978. It was formed through the merger of several SAF/PA functions -- the Internal Information Division from the Pentagon, Command Services Unit from Bolling Air Force Base, D.C., and public affairs units in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York City.

The Air Force Hometown News Center, formerly at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., joined the agency at Kelly Air Force Base in June 1979. The Army Hometown News Center, previously at Kansas City, Mo., moved to Kelly in October 1980. The agency's AFRTS division became a directorate in October 1980 and was designated the Air Force Broadcasting Service in October 1983.

In October 1981, the Air Force Orientation Group was assigned to the agency for support purposes. Responsibility for the Air Force Office of Youth Relations transferred to the agency in September 1984. Because of budget and personnel reductions, the youth relations office was inactivated Aug. 1, 1991, and the Air Force Orientation Group inactivated April 1, 1992.

Hometown News Service Products

Hometown News Release, DD Form 2266, is a quick and simple way to showcase the activities and accomplishments of soldiers and airmen. A service member simply fills out a form and forwards it through their public affairs office to the hometown news service. The service uses the form to produce a news release and market it to newspapers in locations where the service member has family ties.

Print and photo feature releases are in-depth personality features, which normally result in a one-half to full-page spread, are created from interviews conducted at field locations around the world. They include a personal photo of each individual and several "stock" photos of the event or story line.

Radio news releases, out of all the hometown news products offered to the media, are the closest to pure hard news. These concise 60-second bites of information give the hometown audience a glimpse of a national or international event through the voice of a local service member.

Video news releases are 90-second television feature stories generated from field interviews with individual soldiers and airmen around the world involved in newsworthy events or activities. The hometown service tailors the releases to each broadcast outlet's tape format requirements, and includes font information, a suggested anchor introduction and a script.

Holiday Greetings are short, 10-15 second messages available in both video and audio. The Holiday Greetings Program involves three teams -- Mediterranean, Pacific and European -- who set up cameras and microphones at overseas bases, outposts and aboard ships to allow soldiers, airmen, sailors and Marines the chance to send video greetings to family and friends back home.

Obtaining Internal Information Products

Air Force Bulletin Board System gives the public affairs community instant access to the latest Air Force internal information products 24 hours a day.

Written products are available in plain text format so they can be downloaded to any computer and imported into any word processor or desktop publishing program. Digital photographs, information graphics and other artwork are available for Macintosh and MS-DOS compatible computers.

Air Force Link is the Air Force's official home page on the World Wide Web. The home page offers almost all AFNEWS internal information products, including print products, audio files, and eventually video news releases. Products are available through the Internet at http://www.af.mil.

Facts on Demand is an automated service that offers Air Force news and information products to anyone with a facsimile machine. The Facts on Demand service is available 24 hours a day at DSN 224-6031 or toll free at 1-800-422-USAF.

Listserv uses the Internet to provide Air Force news and information products via electronic mail subscriptions. For directions on using the list server send electronic mail to sysop@afnews.pa.af.mil.

Air Force Internal Information Products

Airman (AFRP 35-1) is a monthly news and feature magazine. Airman regularly publishes special reports on topics of current interest to readers. This includes an annual almanac edition that provides facts, figures and information on Air Force people, weapon systems, bases and other topics. The magazine is available through the base publications distribution office (PDO), and electronically through AFBBS and Air Force Link.

Air Force Policy Letter Digest (AFRP 35-3) is a six-page monthly newsletter. The directorate facilitates its final production and dissemination. The policy letter is the primary medium for communicating unclassified Air Force, DOD and national policy to Air Force leaders and supervisors as well as to retired senior Air Force members. It is available through (PDO),AFBBS, the list server and Air Force Link.

Air Force Fact Sheets contain information on Air Force aircraft, missiles, major commands and selected high-interest subjects. Fact sheets are used as reference material for base newspaper staffs and Air Force speakers. Public affairs offices also use them to answer questions from the public, media and other government agencies. They are available through AFBBS, Facts on Demand and Air Force Link.

Air Force News Service (AFNS) provides timely Air Force and DOD news for use by Air Force base newspapers (including Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard), AFRTS broadcast outlets and other Air Force and DOD organizations worldwide. AFNS is available from Air Force Link, the list server and AFBBS.

AFNS Art and Photo Supplement is a package that complements AFNS with graphics, illustrations and photography. It is mailed monthly and availableon AFBBS. AFNS Executive Summary is designed to give commanders a brief look at Air Force news. Distributed by electronic mail and available on Facts on Demand.

AFNS Weekly is a weekly compilation of AFNS executive summaries. It is available only through the list server.

Air Force Public Affairs Staff Directory provides information about the location, duties and rank/grade of key Air Force public affairs staff members at Air Force and joint military installations worldwide. Distributed to all public affairs offices and available on AFBBS.

Air Force Radio News is a five-minute, weekday news program transmitted by satellite to AFRTS outlets overseas. This program allows instant access to timely and topical news and information for and about the Air Force community. It also can be heard on Air Force Link or by calling toll-free 1-800-264-2066, commercial (210) 925-7253 or DSN 945-7253.

Air Force Satellite News Service consists of video news releases (VNRs) produced weekly on current issues. This product is downlinked by more than 500 military and civilian clients. VNRs are widely used on commander's access channels as well as private sector news media.

Air Force Speech Series are original speeches about national days of recognition as well as special topics. Distributed to public affairs offices and available on AFBBS.

Air Force Television News is an award-winning 30-minute biweekly television program covering news and policy issues of interest to Air Force people and families. The program is available in videotape format for presentation at Commander's Call, on the commander's access channel, or for viewing on local cable outlets. A condensed version is offered to public affairs offices worldwide for use at Commander's Call. The program is also uplinked biweekly via satellite in the United States.

Air Force Updates provide the latest information on significant issues, policy, doctrine and data to help Air Force communicators better inform internal and external audiences. The format is flexible, ranging from a plain, single-page update on current Air Force issues to complex, in-depth booklets. Also available on AFBBS.

Biographies provide biographical information on Air Force active-duty and Air Force Reserve general officers, air attaché officers, key and senior executive service civilians and the chief master sergeant of the Air Force. Available on AFBBS, Facts on Demand and Air Force Link.

Commander's Call Topics is a monthly publication for use in commander's calls that provides current information on key Air Force-wide items of interest or importance to Air Force military and civilian members and their families. Distributed by mail, electronic mail and available from AFBBS.

Editor's Notebook provides base newspaper staffs tips on journalism techniques and ways to improve the communication effectiveness of base newspapers. Distributed to public affairs offices.

Lithographs are color reproductions (18 inches by 24 inches) of photographs or paintings of Air Force subjects. They are used throughout the Air Force for display in building hallways and common-use areas to promote esprit de corps. Lithograph sets, which consist of up to 12 individual lithographs, are produced annually. The inventory list is maintained on AFBBS.

June, 1996


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