MILLINGTON, Tenn. (NNS) — ALNAV 069/17 cancelled the Navy's Fleet Home Town News (FHTN) Program instruction, but the requirement – and the ability – to share news and information with local news media across the country lives on in the American Connections Media Outreach Program.
Since the program, which replaced and modernized the legacy FHTN Program, officially began with the release of the NAVADMIN 148/16 in June 2016, more than 9,400 stories, photos and other content has been shared with newspapers, TV and radio stations, blogs and social media nationwide, reaching more than 183 million Americans who otherwise may never have heard about their Navy.
"Although the FHTN program instruction has been cancelled, the importance of effective internal information cannot be understated," said Capt. Greg Hicks, acting chief of information, in a message to the Navy's Public Affairs community. "Indeed, a case can be made that this is more important today than it ever was."
The FHTN program began during World War II with a group of about 100 enlisted Sailors who wrote stories about fellow Sailors and battles in the Pacific for distribution to hometown newspapers. Today, the American Connections Media Outreach Program continues this important work.
The program leverages Sailors' local connections to communities across America as well as the relationships that exist between Navy units and their namesake cities and states, to ensure Americans throughout the country better understand their Navy, its mission and its contribution to national security. An additional benefit of the program is the positive impact on the morale of participating Sailors and namesake units.
"My command recently released an article on two Sailors who saved a man's life and American Connections Media Outreach distributed the story to the news agencies of the Sailors' hometowns," said Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Brannon Deugan, assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 1. "This led to an interview with one of the Sailors by a news station in Oklahoma City. Without this program, the article on these two Sailors' efforts wouldn't have reached a larger audience and potentially never would have gotten back to their families."
The American Connections Media Outreach Program modernized and simplified the process to make it easier to share Sailors' stories. The easiest way to use this service is to include a local connection within every news release and photo caption. This local connection could be hometown, high school, college, family ties, etc. In addition to routine stories and photos about Sailors, namesake ships, awards, promotions, retirements and changes of command stories and photos should also be included.
Commands are encouraged to send stories and photos directly to email@example.com. The team of communication professionals at Navy Office of Community Outreach (NAVCO) will share your Sailors' stories and photos with local media throughout the country and then provide a link to all media coverage.