Multimedia, Public Affairs merge into Strategic Communication

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Christopher Marasky
  • 51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Osan's multimedia shop merged with the public affairs office June 1 to form 51st Fighter Wing Strategic Communications. The new office dramatically increases the capabilities available and keeps many of the traditional missions of the separate organizations.

The merger was the result of two actions. The first was a directive by the chief of staff of the Air Force to merge multimedia and public affairs offices across the Air Force. The merger was also an Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st Century initiative designed to increase efficiencies..

The career field managers for public affairs and multimedia began studying a merger of the career fields in November 2005. Several meetings took place to compare training plans and doctrine and to gather inputs from major command functional managers from both communities.

"Our goal is to create a new capability for the Air Force, not just merge two career fields," said Chief Master Sgt. Ron Nelson, multimedia career field manager.

The result of the study was a proposal to merge public affairs specialists with multimedia photographers and public affairs broadcasters with multimedia videographers to create new capabilities. Combining capabilities will increase operational effectiveness and national and international understanding by improving communication to internal and external audiences.

"I see us getting away from the "nice-to-have" things and focusing more on the operational mission and telling the Air Force story," said Master Sgt. Valerie J. Weaver base multi-media manager. "That is what strategic communications is all about."

With the merger, the graphics artist career field has been eliminated, and the photographic and video capabilities shifted to the strategic communications field, resulting in scaling back of the services offered.

"The new strategic communications Airmen are still going to be able to provide some of what was traditionally considered multimedia support," said Lt. Col. Michael E. Shavers, 51st Fighter Wing public affairs chief. "But the technology that exists now makes it easier for users to create many of the products that were traditionally done by multimedia."

As the graphic artists prepare to depart Osan, they are changing the images in the database to make them as accessible to the base population as possible to aid in the transition. Templates of graphics, posters, flyers, coins and other traditional multi-media products will be available to download. Many jobs that the multimedia shop used to handle are now going to be "self-help" and still and video equipment can be checked out.

"The merger of the two career fields will actually increase the ability of public affairs to tell the story of the 51st Fighter Wing and the 7th Air Force to the world," said Colonel Shavers.

(Air Force Print News contributed to this article)