When people ask me what I do in the Air Force, the best way I can describe it to them is, “I’m a journalist.” Though this is the best way I can describe it, it is not exactly true.
Our job isn’t burning cigarettes and back-alley meetings with cloaked figures in bad lighting. We leave that for Hollywood. Our job is to highlight the great things we do as an Air Force and as Airmen.
Our mission is to provide timely and accurate news stories, photos and videos to a worldwide audience.
This is the basic mission of the 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs Office, but what does that mean to the service members here? It means you are the news.
Ramstein Airmen work diligently to accomplish the mission every day, whether it is working with multimillion dollar aircraft or working quality-of-life initiatives for Airmen and their families, and their stories deserve to be heard.
The information we receive for our publications comes from many different places, but the biggest source is the people involved in the story. We strive to get out as much information about our Airmen as possible, but when it comes down to it, if we don’t know about it, we can’t cover it.
There is a lot that goes into creating our products for publication, but the first step is you. Without information from the people involved, public affairs isn’t notified, and we miss the opportunity to let the world know about the great things you and your organizations are doing on a daily basis.
These missed opportunities aren’t as simple as they seem. We aren’t just missing the chance to get a story in the base paper or on the website; we are missing a chance to tell your friends and family what you are doing, explain to the tax-payers how their money is being spent, educate our nation on what military life is like, and record our Airmen in the history books. At the very least, you are missing the opportunity to provide your parents with a newspaper clipping to pin to their refrigerator and brag to their friends.
Once we have your story, public affairs will do everything it can to get your story out to the widest possible audience. In order to do this, we distribute our products in the Kaiserslautern American newspaper, on our public website and throughout social media channels as appropriate.
The public website, which can be found at www.ramstein.af.mil, reaches more than 1.6 million people every year. The site showcases stories about Airmen performing their day-to-day tasks, stories from the perspective of the lowest ranking Airman all the way to the commander, news about base achievements and events, and a variety of helpful information.
The Kaiserslautern American is distributed at locations throughout the KMC and delivered to base housing residents every week, keeping our local population apprised of recent and upcoming events and stories.
Our social media pages include Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, which allow us to publish stories, photos, videos and time-sensitive information at the speed of the Internet. These avenues also provide two-way communication, allowing the audience to ask questions, make comments and request information. If you are not part of the approximately 23,000 people following Ramstein’s social media, I highly suggest it.
So, Airmen, supervisors, leaders: next time something interesting happens and there is a story to be told, give us a call.
Take that first step, because your story starts with you.