Saturday, April 28, 2007

A Day Off...And No Trouble...Well Kind Of!

Today was my day off. In 2003, my first day off was really BAD! October 26th 2003 will forever be apart of my life. (The flak vest Paul Wolfowitz is wearing is mine!) My second day off in 2003 wasn't as bad, but it too was cut short. December 13th was an emotional roller coaster. In a packed press conference room, Ambassador Paul Bremmer spoke the following famous words, "Ladies and gentlemen...we got him!" The room exploded with emotion. For nearly 20 minutes Iraqis screamed, shouted, cursed and cried. It was an incredibly intense moment. After that day off, I told my boss, Erik Brazones, I no longer wanted another day off!

Well this day off wasn't nearly as bad as 2003. In fact, it was no where near as bad. I had a ton of homework to make up since I've been in transit for the past nine days. First on the docket...math! I HATE MATH! The deal is, if I pass a pre-test, then I don't have to accomplish the homework. Sounds like a good deal. The bad news is, I missed two, too many questions. The worse news is, I challenged them with the instructor by e-mail, only to work them out again to figure out, I indeed did get them wrong. (WAH WAH WAAH!) I know it is hard to complain about the extremely slow Internet, (I keep waiting to hear those old 54K modem dial-up noises) because last time I was here...there was no Internet. Well the math work took all day to do. I still have a paper to write on Security and Privacy on the Internet. I have to use two different search engines and a library database, compare and contrast the two, and use criteria from a reading lesson to answer several questions.

I had to clear my head, so I took a yoga class. There are nine different classes here. The one I took was billed as "power yoga." I've taken several power yoga classes in the past...well this was different. It was a "combat" power yoga. Not what I really wanted, but definitely what I need. It was really tough. I think it had a lot of pilates included. Half way through the class we did 400 crunches non-stop. (I didn't do all 400...more like 100-150-ish.)

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

177 Days and Counting! took a bit of time to get here, but I made it! The trip started off with a visit with the Secretary of Labor, Mrs. Elaine L. Chao. She was celebrating National Volunteer Week.

From Baltimore I flew into Ramstein. My friend Charlie Gill came through in the bottom of the ninth inning and brought me one of my favorite foods in the world...A DONER KEBAB! I think Charlie just might be my new best friend. At least he was that day. It was really good to catch up with him. It seems the Det at Ramstein is looking forward to the future AFNEWS structure.

From there I spent a few days at a great island retreat. This place is used as a Rest and Recuperation spot. The day we arrived they were celebrating Spring. They had a cool band playing. They're called, An American Band and they play in the local area.

The music was really good. All of the troops started a conga line...

We're not the only folks who use the base for R&R. These Brits showed up and they were the life of the party.

I found this guy practicing the military motto, "Hurry up and wait!"

I start my first on-air shift in the morning. I'm a bit rusty, so I'm making the morning crew come in an hour earlier than normal. They didn't seem too upset about that. I'll snap some pictures of the new stomping grounds tomorrow.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Thoughts About Life

As I sat in the airport on April 19th, the day I left for Baghdad, I watched husbands, wives, families, men, women, and kids come and go. I wondered where they were heading. I wondered if they knew where I was heading. Last call for Las Vegas at gate 5. I sure would love to go there again! Hit my favorite little dive for some Mexican food.

I was a wreck that morning. Eyes puffy and red with the occasional tear. Was this the life my mom and dad imagined I'd live? Is this the life Shelly signed up for? How much longer can I live this life? How much longer will the family want me to live this life? What life will I live when I leave this one? I've been doing this for 17-years. I love it. Well, I really love most of it, the rest I tolerate. But the part I love...I really, really love.

I'm a very optimistic person. I enjoy meeting people. Shelly calls me a 'wanderer.' I don't really enjoy sleeping in hotels alone, but I do enjoy the feeling of coming home to my family. I don't think the kids like it so much when I come and go. They generally like the gifts I bring back.

I turn 35 in one week. I know that isn't old, rather just a stopping point to check-in with my life. John Mayer's "Waiting On The World To Change," has a great line in it. To me its almost a call to action. Mayer writes, " One day our generation is going to rule the population." I've not stopped thinking about how that day is NOW! What am I doing to help "rule the population?" What will I do when I leave the Air Force to help "rule the population?"

My first choice is to follow my dad's footsteps and continue to serve the Air Force as a civilian. There are plenty of jobs available in the same career field I'm in right now...minus all of the vacations to Iraq. Which is a HUGE bonus. But a very close second choice is....teaching. I've spent a lot of brain power thinking about being a school teacher. For the Department of Defense of course, that way we can all stay in Europe. The part I struggle with the most when it comes to teaching is: what grade?

Thanks for reading some random thoughts. If you haven't seen the AFN Iraq website my friend Chris supports, here is the link.

Saying Goodbye (Times 2)

They always say good things come in two's...RIGHT? Well in my case it is! How appropriate that I leave the same day American Idol sensation and teenage heart throb, Sanjaya left American Idol. For Shelly, it is kind of a two for one deal! (THIS IS HUMOR...NOT REAL)

I have a long 1-3 day journey ahead of me. I leave behind my world-class, top-of-the-line, (not an appliance) loving wife. Of all the people I've meet over the years, she is the only one qualified to live the life I've asked her to live. For that I will always love her and be indebted to her. All three of my kids are at different cross-roads in their lives. Each needing a little more attention and a gentle touch to help them through. I wonder...How tall will Nigel be? Will Ollie's tooth EVER fall out? Will Maddy still be Daddy's girl? How much wine is going to be needed when I return?

To all of my extended family and friends: THANK YOU for all of the kind words and all of the offers to help Shelly. You truely are all very special people. Thanks!

Here is something that isn't controvesial at all....(love you Sandra!) It is a graphic I made for my friend Jason Tudor. He has started a new Public Affairs group on Myspace and this is a logo I made for him...if he ever uploads it...
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Citizen Journalism...Say Hello to Citizen Radio

I think I'm on to something again. Could there possibly be a need for Citizen Radio? Not pirate radio, where someone with a stack of albums pirates a signal and plays the music of their choice...rather...a group of professionals who just want to help the other guy out!

I sent out a message to a friend of mine who is a Senior Account Executive for
Eastman Radio Atlanta, Inside Radio and to a handful of morning show hosts, and voice over talent. I told them the story of Freedom Radio and asked if they'd like to help...They did! So far 25 folks have stepped up to the plate to voice liners like this one!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

I Finally Read A Book! (Non Self-Help)

It has been longer than I can remember the last time I read a entire book, that wasn't about grammar, music, broadcasting, or leadership. I hate to admit it, but I hate reading fiction and rarely have the need to read an entire book. I'm good after about 3 chapters. This book took me nearly a month to read. A chapter here, a chapter there. There are two things that strike me about this book. 1) The author has a masters degree in English, writes for Rolling Stone and DJ's on the local radio station...So it isn't too far from what I've been reading. 2) This is a SAD book. He lost the love of his life! Married for just a short while...she died. It shook the foundation of his soul...his life was over. It made me cry, made me wonder how it is in his shoes. Not what I normally read...I like it light, funny, and quick.

If you love music, well written sentences, and an occasional expletive...this book is a must read.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Combat Correspondent

It finally happened. Radio/Television Broadcast Journalists in the Air Force are now called:


With the help of my boss, I crafted a proposal to change our name to Combat Correspondent...and it was approved. I can't take all the credit...I'd like to, but there were others who had a say. I was the only one who brought in the dictionary and a grammar book.

So what does this mean? Am I now equal to my Marine buddy Troy? Although this picture doesn't prove it...he is a true Combat Correspondent.

Troy and I went on a dismounted patrol in Nov 2003, through the town of Beji Iraq. It was about two weeks before they found Saddam...just a few miles away. Armed with our camera, tripod, 9-mil, and this HUGE SFC...we walked the streets. Troy set up to grab the footage of the patrol storming into a house where suspected terrorists were. He was BRAVE! He had his camera and head exposed to possible danger. Me! I was about ten fellas back...with the tripod. Does this make a Combat Correspondent? Troy maybe!

Here is a picture of Brent Skeen from our trip to Iraq in 2003.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Here is a picture of me and Bobby Herron from the third radio show ever on Freedom Radio...By the way, we won a Thomas Jefferson award for this very show....
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

And here is a picture of your future Combat Correspondents:

Friday, April 13, 2007

Say Hello to Webcam Chris!

Today there are three things I'm happy about! (Really there are more, but for the sake of good blogging...there is only three.)

1) Haley finally got the boot. I feel vindicated because Gina went home last week.
2) I get to eat Mexican food today for's my going away lunch and I love, love, love salsa verde.
3) Shelly and I set up the webcams last night.

This is me this morning in my favorite place these days...on the couch with laptop on lap.

We are using MSN Messenger for our webcam video calls.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

You can download this for free HERE!

Webcams are pretty cheap and you look really funny on them.
My Messenger name is: broadcast_this
If you'd like to chat, or web chat...add me to your list of friends.

PS...Don't be scared! It is really easy to get a Messenger account and set up a webcam. And you don't need a webcam to use Messenger.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

A Blog on Blogging

What is this blog? Does it bite? Will it hurt? DON'T BE AFRAID OF THE BLOG!

Many of you have sent e-mail responses to me on my blog. Thank you. However, the beauty of blogs is the ability to interact with everyone...I'll show you how! I'm going to write a blog about a blog.

Wikipedia describes blogs:
A blog is a user-generated website where entries are made in journal style and displayed in a reverse chronological order.

Blogs provide commentary or news on a particular subject, such as food, politics, or local news; some function as more personal online diaries. A typical blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs, web pages, and other media related to its topic. The ability for readers to leave comments in an interactive format is an important part of most early blogs.

This is my on-line, interactive journal. I want you to be apart of it. How? Easy. Simply press the comment button at the end of each blog you read. It will bring up a dialog box. (Don't get scared of these big words) Type in anything you want. Like: Great post Chris, you're really smart. Or, WOW! Chris I didn't know you knew that I knew that you know. Anything you want.

Some common misconceptions about leaving a comment are that you need a blog page of your own to leave a comment, or some kind of secret password. Both wrong. If you have a blogger page, or a g-mail account that is a plus, (I have 97 more g-mail invites if you want one) but it isn't necessary. You can leave a comment and select "Other." Put your name in so I know which of my fabulous family members of friends left a comment and then hold on tight....You might spark...get this...a conversation with someone you don't know, but who knows me. Its fun! Try it!

American Idol Recap

My friend Josh was jonesing for some AI Recap...So here you go!
WAIT!!!! Coming soon to American Idol....

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

I really hate it when the theme doesn't allow itself to be "owned." You really can't change Latin already is so stylized. With that said, here is my quick recap:

Surprisingly not bad! Simon said, "I'm going to hate myself for saying this, but I liked it."



Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

And she needs to be the next to go! Please!

There weren't any really super fantastic performances last night. All you need to know is that the dudes were on point last night and I really want a head to head show down between the two of them.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Easter 2007

Uncle Sam gave me a real nice camera to take on my all expense-paid summer vacation. I took it for a test drive today to make sure I could use it. Here is what happened:

This is how my friend Chris spent his Easter in Baghdad...

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Leveraging Citizen Journalism in the Air Force

In a recent letter from the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, General Mosley said, "every Airman is an ambassador...we need them to tell their story." I'd argue a good few already are! I've spent the better part of the past two weeks researching citizen journalism. I've talked to and emailed some real heavy hitters in this area. I've spent hours in debate with my peers. I even wrote a story about how I really don't support it. HERE! Turns out I do! The question can something so raw and real happen in the Air Force? I thought I was a trail blazer in this area, but it turns out the trail has already been blazed by Steve Field...kind of. I pitched this idea to some senior officials at the Office of the Secretary of the Air Force, Public Affairs. It may not be perfect, but I think it is both a good start and good enough to start.

Every Marine a Rifleman, Every Soldier a Shooter…Every Airman a Journalist? Part 1
Bluetube the Air Force Story
By: Chris Eder


During an intelligence brief, an uncertain technical sergeant on his way out the door for his first deployment asked this question, “Are we winning?” The briefer paused, squinted his war-hardened eyebrows and replied, “Winning what?” There was silence for nearly a minute, when from the back row, a senior airman whose job in the Air Force is to sing for the Air Force Reserve Band, stood up and said, “If you question if we’re winning, you’ve already lost!”

WOW! What an eye-opening comment from such a junior member of the Air Force. I believe she’s right.

If you ask your neighbor about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, they’re most likely to mention the dangers Soldiers face during convoy operations, Improvised Explosive Devices; or how the Marines are getting spread too thin. What they don’t know is Airmen from every career field face the same dangers. What they don’t know is that Air Mobility Command has flown more than 328,000 sorties and moved more than 5-million troops. What they don’t know is on an average 1,000 wounded troops are evacuated on Air Force planes each month. What they don’t know is approximately 23,000 Airmen are deployed across the Untied States Central Command’s Area of Responsibility at 23 operating locations.


According to Colonel Thomas Diehl, Director of United States Central Command Air Forces Public Affairs at the Combined Air Operations Center in Southwest Asia, “If you don’t take the picture, don’t tell it, it didn’t happen!” It’s kind of like the tree that falls in the woods. Does it make a noise when it crashes to the earth if no one is there to hear it?

Today’s civilian news media is all about generating revenue. Unfortunately, scandalous pictures from Abu Ghraib, IED attacks, and possible misconduct on the battlefield take center stage in the quest for the almighty greenback. To make matters worse, when we public affairs professionals or expert journalists write, we do so in a manner only we and a select few understand. Washington Post staff writer Howard Kurtz recently wrote of this “buzz-word” writing style, “Newspaper stories often seem like straight jackets, incremental, dulled-down, written in a sort of insider’s code.” It’s no wonder no one knows what the Air Force is doing. We’re unable to tell them in words they understand.

Two essential rules for telling a compelling news story are: write about people and write in plain English. In the Air Force we write about platforms and capabilities using jargon-riddled key themes and messages. “Straight jacketed” by our own devices, we’re spinning our wheels and speaking in circles, and compelling no one to tell our story.

The most essential aspect of telling a story is timeliness. If a story is a day old, it isn’t news. Much like our writing style, our current editorial review ensures 100-percent accuracy…sometimes at the expense of timeliness. However, our enemy has a different approach. According to the Al Qaeda Manual, operatives within their military organization are bound to spread rumors and write statements that instigate people against the enemy…us! So how can we win an information war against an unscrupulous enemy?


Right or wrong I learned of the death of a security forces Airman in Iraq long before it appeared on Air Force Link. The story, told in the first person and full of emotion, appeared on several social networks. It was compelling, it pulled at my heart strings, it moved me. I couldn’t help thinking what I would do if I was in the same shoes as the writer. How was it possible for the writer to continue the mission? I could mentally smell the heat of battle. I’ve also read several stories about provisional reconstruction teams and what really happens everyday in a combat zone. All thanks to the Internet and some web-savvy Airmen. The stories are already being told.

The March 28th Roll Call (a tool supervisors at all levels use to keep Airmen informed on current issues) titled “Air Force Priorities, Knowing What Is Important,” outlined the Air Force’s priorities in the global war on terror. It stressed the importance of developing our Airmen by training them for the 21st century, providing the best equipment possible, and ‘resetting’ for the future and beyond. I’d suggest that our Airmen telling their Air Force story are the best possible equipment we have.

Today’s fight is an information fight that we’re not winning. We struggle daily to get the story out to the public in a timely and accurate manner. The Air Force is in this war, but few know it. After reading part two of this story and applying what you’ve learned American citizens will not only know the Air Force is in this war, but that we’re winning the war.

Every Marine a Rifleman, Every Soldier a Shooter…Every Airman a Journalist? Part 2
Bluetube the Air Force Story
By: TSgt Chris Eder


If you don’t have a blog, or if you haven’t read a blog, either you’re living somewhere in Montana where there isn’t electricity, or you’re living in the proverbial dark ages. Blogs are changing the way people receive news and they come in many forms. Most of them are text-only, but some specialize in video (vlogs), photographs (photoblogs), or audio (podcasts). These quick, cheap and timely communications tools have morphed from a daily diary to a personal pulpit and now into journalism. News written by the people, for the people…properly named citizen journalism. It’s very transparent. Chances are you already receive your news this way, but don’t even know it. Do you remember the first pictures from the December 24, 2004 tsunami that killed more than 300,000 people throughout the Indian Ocean? Those images were not taken by a professional. That is citizen journalism at its best.

Citizen Journalism is not new! According to Dan Gillmor's We the Media,
“The roots of citizen journalism can be traced to the founding of the United States in the 18th century, when pamphleteers such as Thomas Paine and the anonymous authors of the Federalist Papers gained prominence by printing their own publications. Further advances such as the postal system — and its discount rates for newspapers — along with the telegraph and telephone helped people distribute news more widely.” Public Affairs offices across the globe have unknowingly embraced this concept for years with their Unit Public Affairs Representative (UPAR) program.

“The idea behind citizen journalism is that people without professional journalism training can use the tools of modern technology and the global distribution of the Internet to create or augment media on their own or in collaboration with others, writes Mark Glaser, host of MediaShift, an online guide to the digital media revolution. In an article titled, “Digging Deeper, Your Guide to Citizen Journalism,” Glaser writes, ”Because of the wide dispersion of so many excellent tools for capturing live events — from tiny digital cameras to videophones — the average citizen can now make news and distribute it globally, an act that was once the province of established journalists and media companies.”

That’s power! That’s how we could win the information war. The pen is mightier than the sword. Beat the bad guys at their own game. Equip every Airman with a digital camera, a laptop and wireless Internet…let them tell their story. Not so fast!


As a young pilot, Lt. Brett Williams ran toward the nearest exit whenever a Public Affairs Officer was in the area. It wasn’t until he was a squadron commander that he realized the importance of public affairs. During a recent promotion ceremony, the now Col. Brett Williams said of public affairs, “They have the ability to tell the right story at the right time.” The quote is very appropriate for current public affairs doctrine, but counter-productive for the business model of citizen journalism.

The truth is, as members of the Armed Forces, we can’t be true citizen journalists. We have to be edited. We’re accountable at every level…the supervisor, the wing commander, the secretary of the Air Force, even the president…all accountable to the taxpayer. We can’t simply give everyone carte-blanch. Some stories don’t need to be told. Stories about horrible supervisors while unfortunate aren’t news. Stories about rape and murder should be left to experts.

This is where Networked Journalism comes in. It’s a hybrid of professional journalism…us…and citizen journalism…you! It’s ‘telling the right story at the right time.’ Jeff Jarvis of Buzzmachine writes, “ Networked journalism takes into account the collaborative nature journalism now: professionals and amateurs working together to get the real story, linking to each other across bands and old boundaries to share facts, questions, answers, ideas, and perspectives.”


Grammy award winning artist John Mayer sings in his latest smash hit Waiting For The World to Change, “When you trust the television, what you get is what you got ‘cause when they own the information, they can bend it all they want.” To me, this is a call to action to tell the Air Force story correctly, timely and in a manner everyone will want to hear. You may not have the same convictions as me, but I bet you have a story to tell. Your story is just as powerful as the A-10’s Gatling gun. Your story is just as lethal as the F-22. Your story is a non-kinetic weapon. A weapon that when used correctly will win hearts and minds. A weapon that there are no defenses for. A weapon that will with out a doubt win the information war. Are we winning? You better believe it! The Air Force is in this war and we have the ultimate weapon…YOU.

You can do it; we can help! Follow these 9 Networked Journalism tips.


1. Identify A Story

What makes a story ‘newsworthy?’ Well, the name would imply it has to be new, and that is a real good start. Proximity, prominence, timeliness, impact, conflict, controversy, uniqueness, human interest, suspense, the need to follow-up a story and available audio and video are the primary characteristic journalists use to determine newsworthiness. However, for the purpose of ‘networked journalism’ in the Air Force, the important characteristics are: timeliness, uniqueness, human interest and available audio and video. They all kind of go together and truly define what citizen journalism is and why it has been so successful. A story doesn’t have to have all of these, but great stories will!

Operational Security should always be on your mind. NO STORY is worth telling if it puts Airmen’s lives at risk. Stories that contain: classified information, tactics, techniques, and procedures, troop movement, exact numbers of troops or equipment, casualty information, privacy act information, or information about an ongoing investigation are explicitly prohibited topics. If it is about information a reporter could get through the Freedom of Information Act, then you’re good to go.

3. Contact PA
We’re in the business of telling the ‘right story at the right time.’ You’re in the business of telling ‘your story…right now.’ It’s possible your story fits right into one of our current themes or messages. Notifying PA up front will keep them in the loop and possibly elevate your story. In a perfect world, all stories would be published on the base’s public site, but in reality some of them won’t. Maybe there could be a page of approved ‘networked’ stories!

4. Go Back To School
Writing isn’t easy. Don’t fool yourself by thinking you’re a good or clever writer. Chances are…you’re not! Go to the library and check out a book on grammar and news writing. If you think you’d get bored reading a book about grammar, you should read Lynne Truss’ book, Eat, Shoots, and Leaves. It’s a humorous take on grammar. Barron’s Pocket Guide To Correct Grammar, is a quick down and dirty look at the essentials. Merv Block is an industry leader in news writing. Check out his book, Writing Broadcast News…Shorter, Sharper, Stronger. This by no means is an all-inclusive list, just a few of my favorites.

5. Find The Heat…People Centric
Dennis Mahoney of A List Apart writes, “Anything makes a good subject, as long as you take your time and crystallize the details, tying them together and actually telling a story, rather than offering a simple list of facts.” People however make great subjects. Spencer Critchley of ourmedia says writing about people engages the imagination and emotions. Find a central character; maybe its you! Tell the story through the central character.

6. Opinions Are Not Facts…Know The Difference
According to Spencer Critchley of ourmedia, “Opinions make personal journalism lively. But be sure you know the difference between opinion and fact, and make it clear to your readers as well. It's all too easy to jump to conclusions when you're predisposed to believe something. This is the source of deluges of unreliable information on the Web.” Critchley adds, “Reputable pro media outlets use professional fact checkers, and they still manage to make mistakes frequently. People may be citing you as a source, so try to get the details right.”

7. Focus…6C’s
Keep your stories to one idea. It’s really easy to jump from one idea to another, but its hard to understand. A good focus is simple and easily identified. Staying focused will also increase how well you communicate. The Defense Information School at Fort Meade lists in their style guide the need to apply the six “Cs:” clear, concise, conversational, complete, current, and correct.

You must ensure your audience understands your copy the first time they hear it. Your listener cannot go back and read it. Work at writing in a simple, understandable style; write to express an idea, not to impress your audience. Basically limit sentences to one main thought. Don’t make your listener work to understand your copy. Most won’t bother.

Broadcast copy is short. You must learn to express many thoughts in few words. Thomas Jefferson once said, “The most valuable of all talent is that of never using two words when one will do.” Get to the main point. Use only essential words. Eliminate wordiness. Make your point and move on. It’s kind of frustrating to read wordy, redundant copy, isn’t it?

We basically “converse” using simple, common language. Why not write “for the ear” in the same style? Write a story much the same way you’d tell it to a friend.

Your copy must answer the five Ws (who, what, when, where, and why), except, perhaps, “why.” That may be unknown at airtime. But don’t raise new questions or leave old questions unanswered.

Current copy is timely copy – both in content and the way it sounds. Last week’s events, accidents, and incidents are not today’s news. One way you can make your copy sound much more timely is by using (but not forcing) one of the present verb tenses whenever it’s possible (and correct).

You must ensure your copy is correct. One mistake could potentially ruin a career. That’s one reason why this is the most important “C.” Simply stated, your copy must be free of factual errors. Double check for correct names, dates, times, etc. And don’t forget that correct copy also means correct use of spelling and grammar. Learn the basic grammar rules, and use a dictionary.

8. Plain English
According to Critchley, “Too many people have been trained to use big words and complicated sentences to build an edifice to hide behind. If a simpler word can be used with no loss of meaning, use it. Same goes for fewer words vs. more. If you can't say it plainly, that may mean you don't understand it well enough yet.” Leave the buzzword talk to us. Stick to words you know.

9. Contact PA
Bottom line, unlike citizen journalism, we’re held accountable. A Public Affairs Officer must review your story for policy and security before it can be posted on your wing’s public website.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Where AFN Broadcaster Is Today

All this just because I asked a question about citizen journalism in the Air Force. I somehow ended up in THIS blog.

The Beginning of AFN Broadcaster

Oh the power of the Internet and social media. After weeks of research on citizen journalism, days of writing, and hours of discussing the powers of citizen journalism I wanted to just relax tonight...But then my 16-year old son shared this clip with me. He found it on one of his friends MySpace page. This is exactly how grassroots journalism, citizen journalism, networked journalism...whatever you want to call it works!

Unfortunately...the video option is down, so you'll have to go HERE to see this most awesome video.

When I worked at AFN Eifel we had a segment called pass the mic. This was for Presidents Day 2000. The little boy who looks like he just saw a ghost is my now 6'5" son. The goofy guy in the 'what was I thinking' glasses...well that is me. Enjoy!

American Idol...I Will Seek Revenge!

It's my own fault...I didn't vote. I wanted to, but I thought surely, my pics were safe.

We all should know by now...this guy isn't going anywhere, anytime soon. Even if he does wear jackets tailored for his dad.

But REALLY? Haley...this talentless, McPhee look-alike is still in.

I knew as soon as I saw her awful hair, it could be lights out for Gina. Plus, she talked back to Simon. That is a big AI 'no-no!'

I guess I finally have to start voting. I'm not sure how much taunting I can take from my family as all of my favorites get voted off and theirs are still on. BTW Jordin Sparks is quickly becoming the industry's underdog favorite.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Citizen Journalists Answering Questions About Military Journalists

Last week I contacted Mark Glaser who blogs for PBS. He hosts, 'MediaShift, Your Guide to The Digital Media Revolution.' I asked him this question:

I’m working on a commentary on citizen journalism in the Air Force as a means to leverage the non-kinetic weapon of journalism to win the information war. The problem I’m facing is unlike Yahoo, Reuters, or any other news organization, we can’t simply change our business model. The reason…we’re ultimately held responsible at every level. The base commander, SECDEF,President, the taxpayer etc… I know there is another term being used today called networked journalism, which is probably the term I should be using since, unlike in citizen journalism, before you publish your media, (print, video, still image)a public affairs official will need to clear it. I started off with this as my catalyst: The AF’s #1 weakness is telling a timely story, it’s #1 strength is telling an accurate story. Citizen journalism’s #1 strength is telling a timely story. (My opinion, not the Air Forces) Given these restraints, how do you think the Air Force could best leverage all of these voices to tell one message?

His answer:
Wow, Chris. This is a really fascinating conundrum, and an interesting one.

Well, he's taken the question one step further. After several e-mails, Mark has posted the question on MediaShift.

How should the military respond to citizen journalism in the field of combat?

Drivers Training...Day 1

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Well it finally happened. I took Nigel out last night for about 30-minutes. Do you remember when I said this boy was tall? Well I wasn't lying. His legs are like mini-Mississippi rivers, only unlike the real river, these mini-rivers seem to never end. I would say he is 75% leg, 25% torso. When he sat in the drivers seat, his knees where past the steering wheel...HIS KNEES folks! Then to add injury to insult, Nigel yields these man-sized feet that seem to not be connected to his central nervous system. They act independently...and rarely do what normal people's feet would do when driving a car. As I looked over at Nigel...the boy who used to drink from a sippie-cup all the time, because it was easier. The boy whose life I saved when there was a frog in his room. The boy who once called me "little bastard." The boy who saved my virgin eyes in Amsterdam by telling me, "whatever you do...don't look left." The boy...who no longer is a boy. The boy who has grown...literely...into a young man.

Anyway, as I looked over at Nigel, I said a little prayer and tried to remember what it was like the first time I got behind the wheel. Of course, par for course, I'd like to think everything I did was perfect and with out hiccup, but I'm sure Kenny would have a different tale to tell. I can't remember if it was the first time I ever drove, but I like to think it was. It was in a 1972 Ford F-250. This truck was a beast. The gears where so far apart, they had zip codes. Power-steering consisted of this 90-pound string bean pulling and pulling and pulling until the truck was heading in the direction I wanted. I remember parallel parking with two trash cans. Kenny said, "if you can drive this can drive anything." He was right. I pretty much am the master driver. Several times while in third world countries I've had to drive cars and trucks from Russia. It took me a few minutes, but before long we were in motion.

Back to Nigel...I used the same theory Kenny had. I put Nigel in the Rodeo. Two reasons: 1) It is a real tough car to drive. The clutch has a weird friction point on it. 2) THERE IS NO WAY IN HELL HE'LL EVER DRIVE MY SAAB!
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
You know what? He did really good. It only took him about a minute to get the car moving forward. I was impressed. We were on a real parking lot. We had water on both sides of us and at times the Chesapeake Bay in front of us. We made it to third gear three times. We backed up, made a three point turn, and generally had a good time. He only stalled four times. There were only a dozen or so bumpy starts and quick stops. Remember his feet aren't connected and the Rodeo's brakes are touchy! I'm sure it was pure nerves, but Nigel couldn't resist man-handling the steering wheel and shifter. He held them so tight he had veins popping out of veins on his thin arms. I thought he was going to push the shifter right through the radio when he'd put it into first and third gear. He was nervous, but he really did a GREAT job! LADIES AND GENTLEMAN...we have some natural talent here... There were no cars on the street. I felt relatively confident Nigel could keep the Rodeo in motion and on the street, so I told him to drive us home. We were about 1.5 miles away. All he had to do was keep it in 2nd the whole way, make a right turn on Messick and a right turn into our driveway. He agreed. As we made our way down Poquoson Ave, some little terrorists popped up and flanked both sides of the road. Then like a bad episode of the Twilight Zone, five cars merged at the intersection of Poquoson and Messick. I tried to verbally tell Nigel what to do: "Indicate you're turning right, clutch in, downshift to second, turn." Simple enough! NOPE! Nigel somehow heard, "Freeze up, indicate you're turning right, stop in the middle of the intersection, clutch in, stay in third, gas and clutch until you're moving again, clutch out, go!" WE MADE IT! We got a bit close to the ditch on the right side of the road, but we didn't hit anything or anyone and no one honked their horn. Not bad! I think the first time I came to an intersection I was there for three or four light cycles. OOPS! OK, our final task was to turn right into our driveway. It is kind of on a bend and is flanked on both sides by deep ditches. To make matters worse, the cars we blocked when we turned onto Messick, were right on our ass. Once again I tried to verbally tell Nigel what to do: "Because there are cars behind you, you want to indicate you're turning right way in advance. Clutch in, downshift to second gear, brake, turn." Nigel however heard: "Indicate, turn, brake!"

We made it...He was happy, I was extremely proud, we were both alive.