Public Affairs and Visual Information merger to enhance strategic communications
By Staff Sgt. Jason Barebo, 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
/ Published August 02, 2007
WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. --
A new era of Air Force communication capabilities began Aug. 1 at Whiteman as the Visual Information shop started the process of merging with the Public Affairs office.
"The merger is happening because in a world of 24-hour news cycles and instant communication there is a real-time demand to tell the Air Force story to the public," said Maj. Joe DellaVedova, 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs chief.
"Melding the specialties of photography, broadcasting and Public Affairs will enable the Air Force to communicate as one strategic communication entity."
The career field realignment happened at the Air Staff-level earlier this year and all Air Force bases are expected to complete the transition by Oct. 1.
"We - the Communications Squadron and Public Affairs - decided to lean forward with this merger in August so that we can ensure seamless support to Whiteman customers through the upcoming Comm Squadron restructure and heavy personnel deployments," said Lt. Col. Mike Finn, 509th Communications Squadron commander.
"The multimedia shop will continue to provide world-class visual information products and services to Whiteman," said Colonel Finn.
"This merger will not change that. This is an opportunity to fuse two naturally related functions into a powerful strategic communications capability for Team Whiteman."
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.
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.
As of now, both the Public Affairs and Visual Information shops will remain in their current locations and no phone numbers will change.
"We want to implement change so people will see results quickly, but we also want to do it correctly," Major DellaVedova said.
"We will continue to take feedback from customers. We're always looking for better, smarter ways to do things. In the future we may look at trying to combine offices into one central location. Being fully integrated will maximize the opportunity for synergy between our two specialties."
A successful merger also necessitates additional training, Major DellaVedova said. Public Affairs professionals must learn advanced photography skills, and photographers and broadcasters must learn more about journalism.
"The photographers have been writing captions, now they'll get a chance to turn those captions into a full story with proper training and experience," he said.
"We all want to make this merger work. When it comes to making the mission happen we're one team, working together to tell the Air Force story."
For more information regarding multimedia, call 687-5731. For more information regarding public affairs, call 687-6123.