Merger prepares Airmen for future:Photographers learn journalism

by Airman 1st Class Marc Lane
Kaiserslautern American

Ramstein photographers are training to become photo journalists as part of the multimedia and public affairs merge.

The students completed an eight-week basic journalism course earlier this summer, and daily classes in news writing are now taking place, said Staff Sgt. Brian Hill, 435th Air Base Wing public affairs journalism instructor.

“The idea to merge the career fields has been around for a while,” said Sergeant Hill. “We’ve been waiting for the right leadership at the right time to make it happen.”
Talk of a merge began in 2005 and became a reality in the 435th ABW this past summer with an official merge.

“It was sort of shaky at first,” said Senior Airman Levi Riendeau, 435th ABW PA still photographer. “Now that I’ve become more comfortable with writing I feel that I have more to offer and therefore am more valuable to the Air Force.”

“As more bases develop training plans, the Air Force will monitor this development,” said Sergeant Hill.

“I personally feel that Ramstein’s training program is superior. I feel our training program could be the mold for Air Force-wide photojournalism training.”

As the merge occurred, PA set up a quality assurance section responsible for training.

“We would be doing our Airmen a disservice if we didn’t prepare them for future jobs within the new public affairs multimedia career field,” said Capt. Erin Dorrance, 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs chief. “Ramstein is the only base that I know of that offers this level of journalism training. We’re readying everyone to be able to do everyone else’s jobs.”

According to Sergeant Hill, the merge mirrors what the Air Force is doing with AFSO 21 by spotting redundancies and getting rid of them.

“It’s a good thing for the career fields in the long run. Now we can do more with less people,” he said.