Initiatives improve flow of information
April 8, 2010
FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- Post community members who are looking for the latest news and information about Fort Rucker or Army Aviation have several options.
In addition to the recent changes to the installation's official Web site, www.rucker.army.mil, Fort Rucker's Command Information Channel, Channel 6, sports a new look and a wider variety of content, and there is some tweeting going on in the realm of social media, said local public affairs specialists.
Re-launched March 15, after about a year's worth of design and planning, Channel 6 features a more modern design that allows greater flexibility and a wider variety of programming, said Jay Mann, public affairs specialist and former Pentagon Channel broadcaster.
"The old system was very restrictive on programming," Mann said. "The slides that highlight events or programs had to run in one long block, while swapping out even short videos was a long and time-consuming process."
The new system allows for down-to-the-minute scheduling of slides and programs and allows for more feeds from the Pentagon Channel and videos from overseas operations.
Pentagon Channel programs include "Around the Services," a news program highlighting stories from across the Department of Defense, "Battleground," "Recon," "The American Veteran," "This Week in the Pentagon," "Downrange," "Balad and Beyond," "Army Newswatch," "Grill Sergeants," reports from AFN Europe and Pacific, and more, including special live feeds of major military news.
"We even air a workout program called 'Fit for Duty' in the morning, at lunch and on the weekends that features real military members doing some pretty tough workouts everybody can do - Soldiers, spouses and children," Mann said.
But the Pentagon Channel doesn't make up all of Channel 6's programming because between March 15 and Monday, the channel has aired 181 video stories produced by military journalists in Iraq and Afghanistan, he said.
"We add about three to seven videos a day, and they only play a few days before they rotate out so the content doesn't get stale," Mann said. "I think playing these videos from downrange, especially with so many troops in training here, reminds us we have comrades in harm's way. Hopefully, it motivates us to be a little sharper, a little better, for them."
The new Channel 6 also features an up-to-date weather information block, Army-wide news and dining facility lunch menus. Fort Rucker's Information Operations Center staff can send out important alerts, such as road closures and emergency information, in a much more legible format.
Of course, the old mainstays are still on the channel - the slides highlighting community events - however, people don't have to watch 50 of them in a row anymore because they are interspersed between the video programming, much like TV commercials.
For people not among the fortunate ones who get Channel 6, broadcast only via cable television in some on-post work centers and living areas, social media might be a way for them to keep in touch with what is going on around the installation and Army Aviation.
On the heels of DoD announcing its policy on social media, the post and Army Aviation recently took off with their own Twitter accounts. People can follow them respectively at <a href="http://twitter.com/USAACE" target="_blank">http://twitter.com/USAACE</a>
and <a href="http://twitter.com/Ft_Rucker" target="_blank">http://twitter.com/Ft_Rucker</a>,
said Jenny Stripling, public affairs specialist.
"Our plan is to establish a well-known presence for Fort Rucker on other social media sites as well, including Facebook and YouTube," she said. "Our goal is to provide an avenue of communication for Soldiers and Families, members of local communities, and national and international fans. Following Fort Rucker via social media sites gives people quick updates and information, and also provides an avenue to provide feedback, ask questions and voice concerns."
Those individuals who are not into tweeting can check out the post's official Web site, the Army Flier on Facebook, or its hardcopy version.