UPAR: Do your part

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Torey Griffith
  • 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
Unit Public Affairs Representatives play an important role for their unit as well as for the wing, reporting the newsworthy actions of Team Whiteman as they happen.

"Why can't you PA folks just do it yourself?" you may ask.

Of the hundreds of awesome, reportable stories that occur at Whiteman every day, how many could be covered by the three-person team of reporters in the internal information section? Not so good at math? I'll tell you. We aim for two stories a piece each week, so that's sev-... six. Six stories.

A reporter with an ear to the ground at every shop on base would provide an endless supply of story material. This means you'd see less about new playground equipment and more about our very own heroes, such as those featured in the series, From the Frontlines.

Another advantage a UPAR would have in his or her own unit is a common connection to the newsmakers that a PA reporter would really have to work for. Building a relationship with the subject is an important part of the interview process. If that relationship is already there, the process is much easier.

For some reason, it seems as though organizations on base think public affairs is out to get them, as if we were a part of an anti-military watchdog group. Let me assure you, that is not our goal. Our mission is to tell the Air Force story, and we aim to paint a portrait that sheds the best possible light on our service branch. While bad news happens, and we must report that as well, our goal is to focus on the positive.

So what would your mission be as a UPAR? To tell a story; whether it be about how an Airman in your shop won an Air Force or command-level award, or how someone MacGyver-esqely imporvised a last-minute repair on an aircraft in order to complete a sortie. 

Your focus is the mission, and the wing commander's priorities: Deterrence, total force integration, and quality of life.

The mission of Air Force Global Strike Command is to develop and provide combat-ready forces for nuclear deterrence and global strike operations. This is what we do at Whiteman every day, with every squadron throwing in their piece of the puzzle, providing the president an invisible warship that can circle the globe, drop "warheads on foreheads" and fly home again before the dust settles, leaving the enemy scratching their heads, wondering what happened.

Deterrence is high on the commander's list and goes hand in hand with being a UPAR.
If you've ever read the Warrior and thought to yourself, "I'd love to see a story about ... " you're in the right mindset to become a UPAR. Aside from your work being published in the paper and the Web, you also earn positive recognition from your unit and wing leadership.

We offer a newswriting class that is worth one Community College of the Air Force credit, that teaches the art of enterprise news reporting. Call 687-6123 for more information about becoming a UPAR.