Elements of News

Timeliness
Journalists stress current information - stories occurring today or yesterday, not several weeks ago. News story submissions should generally be no more than a week old.

Impact

Stress the important information that impacts the audience - Airmen and family members, and members of the general public, when appropriate. Don't overlook the "me factor" that your audience craves. Broad appeal is important.

Prominence
News stories about prominent people tend to generate more interest than those about ordinary people. Readers are especially interested in what our leaders have to say about important issues and events. That's not to say that we should exclude articles about ordinary people, but that we appreciate the importance of prominence.

Proximity
This element can be physical - stories occurring here at Minot - or psychological, Airmen interested in the lives of other Airmen around the globe. On one hand, the Air Force community is local and on the other hand, it's global.

Singularity
Deviations from the normal - unexpected or unusual events, drama or change - are more newsworthy than the commonplace. In the Air Force community, most stories with this characteristic will deal with change: budget, manpower, infrastructure, processes, etc.

Conflict or Controversy
Conflict is also another common thread in Air Force news stories: overcoming hardships, balancing career and family, war. Conflict is also present in organizational and service rivalries, sports news and features, and self-improvement. In each of these stories, the conflict can be positive.
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While the focus of the Minot AFB/PA office is typically on Mission, People and Infrastructure articles, writers can submit several other types of articles as long as there is a clear military relationship demonstrated in the writing. These other articles include:
- Sports
- Travel features
- Self-improvement articles
- 'How-to' articles
- Hobby features
- Personality features
- Historical features
- Editorials/commentaries

Minot AFB's Editorial Policy & Submission Guidelines

This Web site, www.minot.af.mil, is the only official, publicly accessible Web site for Minot Air Force Base, the 5th Bomb Wing and 91st Missile Wing.

This Web site is a means for the installation commander to keep Airmen and members of the general public informed of news and information affecting the installation.

Only information cleared for public release in accordance with Defense Department Web Policy and Air Force Instructions 35-107 and 33-129 will be posted to this public Web site. The guidelines on this page are intended to help members of the Minot AFB community to submit appropriate information for publication on this site.

To view Web disclaimer policy, please click HERE.

For more information, call the Minot AFB Public Affairs office at (701) 723-6212 or e-mail.

Editorial Policy

The Minot AFB's Public Web site is the commander's primary communication tool to transmit information to the base community. The following editorial policy guidelines apply to achieve this goal:

1. The public Web site provides the commander a primary means of communicating mission-essential information to members of the organization. The commander normally defers all decisions on news propriety, story placement, publication date and use of photography to the Public Affairs officer.

2. News and feature stories on people and organizations provide recognition of excellence in performance and help set forth norms for mission accomplishment.

3. News coverage and content will conform to policies of the Air Force and the commander. News reporting will be factual and objective. News coverage will avoid morbid, sensational or alarming details not necessary to factual news reporting. News writing will distinguish between fact and opinion. When an opinion is expressed, the source will be identified. This public Web site will not publish commercial news or editorials.

4. This public Web site will keep Airmen and members of the general public accurately informed about military matters affecting their futures. This will assist the commander in improving morale and quelling rumors.

5. News and editorial content will provide information to all members of the Minot AFB community to improve the quality of their lives and thereby the effectiveness of the work force. This includes officers, enlisted members, civilian employees, family members, retirees and Reservists and Guardsmen.

6. This Web site will de-glamorize the use of alcohol and tobacco products. Articles concerning the club, unit, or other activities may mention these products as long as the emphasis is on the activities and not the products.

7. This public Web site will not display commercial advertising.

8. Event announcements published on this Web site must be made available to all readers without regard to race, religion, sex, national origin, marital status, physical handicap, political affiliation or any other non-merit factor.

9. The contents of this Web site will conform to applicable regulations and laws relating to libel and copyright, the Air Force Privacy Act Program and Standards of Conduct, as well as U.S. Government printing and postal regulations.

10. Locally originated articles will reflect the policies of the commander and be in the interest of the Air Force. Editorials should help readers understand Air Force policies and programs. They must not imply criticism of other government agencies, nor advocate or dispute specific political, diplomatic, or legislative matters. Statements or articles on legislative matters by people or agencies outside the DOD, including officials or candidates for public office, will not be used.

PA Guidance and DoD Imagery

AFPAA STATEMENT: The Air Force trains its photographers, photo-journalists, public affairs specialists and public affairs officers the importance of maintaining absolute credibility of official DoD imagery.

The Air Force solidifies DoDI with Air Force Instructions 35-101, Public Affairs Policies and Procedures, and 33-117, Multimedia Management. The information contained in these instructions echo the intent and information contained in the DoDI.

AFI 33-117, paragraph 2.8.1. reads, "The alteration of a photographic or video image by any means for any purpose other than to establish the image as the most accurate reproduction of an event is prohibited."

POSTURE: Active. Queries beyond the scope of this guidance should be directed to AFPAA, (703) 696-1158 (DSN 426-1158) or appropriate unit. Organizations should respond to questions relating to their mission or the related policy concerning image alteration. Refer calls to AFPAA only if they go beyond the scope of location-specific information or this PAG.

STATEMENTS: The Department of Defense has policy, DoD Instruction 5040.05, dated June 6, 2006, which prohibits the alteration of all photographic and video images. The purpose of this policy is to ensure the absolute credibility of official DoD imagery.

It is DoD policy that imagery is an essential tool for decision-makers at every DoD level.

Mission success and the protection of lives and property depend on official DoD imagery being complete, timely, and above all, highly accurate.

Anything that weakens or casts doubt on the credibility of official DoD imagery in or outside the Department of Defense shall not be tolerated.

For specific forms of alteration allowed in the guidance click here.

Publication Guidelines

Deadline: All elements of this Web site are updated daily, as time and mission requirement permit. In order to ensure adequate coverage or advertising of an event, information should be submitted no later than one week prior to the event. If submitting self-written material, please send to public affairs no later than close of business on Tuesday of the desired week you'd like to see it run.

Rewrite: All copy submitted will be rewritten as needed to ensure it conforms to Air Force journalism guidelines for news writing. This includes conforming to the guidelines in the Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law and appropriate story length.

Prominence:
The location and manner in which an item is presented on this Web site will be determined by the Public Affairs officer.

Recurring Columns: Recurring columns from base agencies are normally discouraged because of the time and commitment required to keep the Web pages up to date. Units requesting dedicated space on this Web site must designate a content manager, and prepare and submit six months of content prior to page publication. The public affairs officer will determine if a request for a recurring column has merit.

Award Winners: Stories and/or photos of award winners are limited to group-level and higher. Awards below wing level may be mentioned in a regular (news or spotlight) column and published on a space-available basis.

Change of Command: Stories and/or photos are limited to group-level or major tenant organizations. Squadron-level change of command announcements may be published in the "news briefs" column.

Photos: Photos normally accepted for publication include on-the-job action photos. Photos containing photos containing classified information, alcoholic beverages or cigarettes, dress and personal appearance violations, safety violation or which compromise force protection measures will not be published. Photos should be accompanied by a brief description of the action pictured, the date of the photo, the ranks, names and units of people featured in the photo, and the rank and name of the photographer.

Fund Drives: Coverage will be limited to those campaigns authorized by Air Force regulations, namely the Combined Federal Campaign and the Air Force Assistance Fund.

Coordination: Articles published on this site will be coordinated with affected agencies as deemed appropriate by the Public Affairs officer. Controversial or "sensitive" articles will be coordinated with the commander, and higher headquarters, when necessary, before publication. Changes to style or news writing will only be made when directed by the Public Affairs officer.

Writing Guidelines

Passive Voice: Avoid the use of passive voice (e.g. The policy was approved.) and use active voice instead (e.g. The committee approved the policy.)

Direct Address: Only address your audience directly (e.g. You should do ...) in commentary and editorial articles.

First Person: Only use first person (e.g. I, we, me, my, etc.) in commentary and editorial articles.

Full Identification: Full ID includes a person's rank, first name, last name, unit of assignment and duty title.

Abbreviations and Acronyms: Do not use abbreviations. Acronyms are only used on second reference when the meaning is clearly understood.

Jargon: Avoid the use of jargon and technical language. Have experts explain technical in common terms.

Attribution: All news articles should include direct or indirect attribution from two or more sources.

Plagiarism: The Air Force has a no-tolerance policy regarding plagiarism in any public affairs publication.

Military Ranks: Associated Press style is used for military ranks on first reference.

Courtesy Titles: Courtesy titles or conversational ranks, as appropriate, will be used in second and later references to people in all internal information products.

For example, Lt. Gen. William J. Johnson on first reference would be referred to as General Johnson throughout the remainder of the product or, in subsequent references.

Individuals can be referred to by their job title (e.g. the maintainer) or by generic rank alone: the general, the sergeant, the senior airman, the colonel, etc. For Airmen with specialized titles, the specialized titles will be used in subsequent references.

For civilian men, use Mr. with their last name in second and subsequent references. For civilian women, later references are to Ms. Jones, unless the woman asks to be known as Miss or Mrs.

Capitalization of Airman: Capitalize Airman and Airmen when referring to individuals in the U.S. Air Force: He is an Airman. If a generic term is needed, use the term Airmen: The Airmen returned to their base. An exception is when "airman" is part of a compound lower-case noun: A staff sergeant and a senior airman received awards.