Talking to Newspaper

marine

10-Year Member
My local newspaper wants to interview me about my experiences thus far at the academy. This to supplement information that my local BG officer wants posted in the paper. Am I allowed to comment to the paper? I will not be talking about any controversial issues or making any degrading remarks of any sort. Thanks.
 

USNAp

10-Year Member
5-Year Member
My local newspaper wants to interview me about my experiences thus far at the academy. This to supplement information that my local BG officer wants posted in the paper. Am I allowed to comment to the paper? I will not be talking about any controversial issues or making any degrading remarks of any sort. Thanks.
I am not in a military service so I cannot give you specific advice but I would expect that you should go thru the COC to CYA. I was in a federal agency in a sensitive postition and learned to always be on guard when talking to a reporter. Good luck be careful. Sorry thats the world we live in.
 

LineInTheSand

USCGA 2006
10-Year Member
Check with your unit's Public Affairs Officer (PAO). General run of thumb is...nothing classified or sensitive (which doesn't really apply to what you'll be talking about)....talk about what YOU KNOW (what you saw first hand/did).

Don't speculate about what others do...

Really shouldn't be a problem though, your PAO should be able to give you some tips, and it doesn't have to involve your entire COC.

:thumb:

Make 'em proud!
 

Zaphod

10-Year Member
Founding Member
My advice?

Tell the newspaper to piss off. They're not going to write anything good about USNA or you, so don't give them the chance to misquote you.

Sorry, but I have ZERO faith in the media anymore. :thumbdown:

Also, and please forgive me if my memory is off, if you're a Plebe, the last thing you need is any kind of publicity that could get back to your upperclass.
 

Just_A_Mom

10-Year Member
^^^^ LOL - You are kidding right? :smile:

I would say do it. It think LITS suggestion to go through the PAO is good. They can probably help you.
You have made a great accomplishment - getting appointed and surviving plebe year. Our local - very tiny hometown weekly - has done profiles on USNA mids before.
They are generally very nice, not "political" and they get the academy's name out there. There may be other kids in your town who are thinking of USNA and seeing a picture and small article would be insipring.
This is a great opportunity to bring Navy officership to your town - while most kids know about enlisting, many have no idea how to become an officer.
The paper will probably want to know - what you did in high school for activities and athletics, who you were nominated by, perhaps a little about the application process.
They will want a snapshot of life at the academy - how regimented it is, don't complain just explain. Your restrictions and how academy life is different than "regular" college. They will want to know the courses, included required courses by all students - ie. calc and chem. What activities you participate in - athletics or other EC's and your summer training.
Be true to your school!
 

The Commissioner

10-Year Member
Founding Member
Retired Staff Member
My local newspaper wants to interview me about my experiences thus far at the academy. This to supplement information that my local BG officer wants posted in the paper. Am I allowed to comment to the paper? I will not be talking about any controversial issues or making any degrading remarks of any sort. Thanks.
As someone who has held elective office and been quoted in the newspaper A LOT, I've seen these things play out many different ways. To avoid being misquoted, follow this advice:

Tell the paper you will be happy to take their questions in writing and you will respond in writing. If they won't do that, then tell them they can ask you questions but you will respond in writing. If the reporter is as lazy as a lot of low circulation newspaper reporters are, they will eagerly take what you write and cut and paste it into their article. The best case scenario is to get them read back to you what they wrote before it gets published. Sometimes the conscientious reporters will comply just so they get it right.

Rule number one when dealing with the press is 'make it easy for them.' That means doing as much of their work for them as you can.
 

Zaphod

10-Year Member
Founding Member
^^^^ LOL - You are kidding right? :smile:
Not in the slightest. I speak as a former Midshipman, a former Officer, AND a former PAO, not to mention a consumer of news now.

I don't trust them. Period.

I would say do it. It think LITS suggestion to go through the PAO is good.
Except that, as a Mid (especially a Plebe), your access to the USNA PAO isn't exactly easy.

If you feel you MUST do this, make sure you at least speak to your Company Officer first. He'll be able to steer you correctly (I hope). Regardless, tread with extreme caution.
 

Maximus

10-Year Member
5-Year Member
Just as "Joe Citizen", what do you gain by talking to them?

I agree with most of what has been stated above and don't think there would be a positive, especially if you're a Plebe or 3/c.

Best advice given above, take the questions written and then decide what agenda the reporter has and take it from there. JMVHO
 

Just_A_Mom

10-Year Member
WHOA!
This is the original post:
My local newspaper wants to interview me about my experiences thus far at the academy. This to supplement information that my local BG officer wants posted in the paper. Am I allowed to comment to the paper? I will not be talking about any controversial issues or making any degrading remarks of any sort. Thanks
The is a LOCAL newspaper who wants to spotlight a local student who is a midshipman at the US Naval Academy.
This "reporter" is not doing an investigative piece on the conditions of Bancroft Hall, the perpetual "food shortage", or the hazing of Plebes. This is NOT Newsweek or the Wall Street Journal.

Why would he not offer a simple interview offering his insight on the points that I discussed above? this is a great opportunity to bring USNA to hometown America. Believe it or not most people across America don't really know about the Service Academies. The tax dollars of the people in his community are paying for his education. I am going to go as far as to say it is his DUTY to do the interview.

Zaphod - you are one who bemoans the fact that many people don't have a clue about USNA - this is a great opportunity.
There could be that kid, right now in Marine's hometown who has heard of USNA and wonders if he could go too. Inspire and educate. Those are the reasons to cooperate.

Marine - don't overthink this. Let your higher up know. Your company officer or whatever they call them at USNA. I am sure plenty of other mids (I know personally of two who are mids right now) do local interviews - they can give you some tips.
 

Zaphod

10-Year Member
Founding Member
WHOA!
Zaphod - you are one who bemoans the fact that many people don't have a clue about USNA - this is a great opportunity.
If the goal is to give people a clue, then he can go back to his high school during leave and give a presentation. At least then he's assured of controlling the material being presented. Not so with a newspaper, local or not.
 

Just_A_Mom

10-Year Member
Yes - possibly. If the school will allow it.
While that may get some students interested it doesn't educate the parents. Parents have the most influence in the college game. If parents see a nice picture and article - they will be impressed.
On the other hand, you could be right - perhaps it is better to keep the masses ignorant so when they watch the Army/Navy game they wonder how those sailors got picked to play football.
 

Dave'sMom

10-Year Member
5-Year Member
I am the mother of a 3/c at KP, also wife of a KP grad. I could not be prouder of my midshipmen and last year when I received the press release from school at the end of Indoc explaining briefly what son had accomplished, I attached his photo and drove it over to my local paper. We are a small rural city so I was certain that my son's accomplishments would be properly quoted. After they sliced and diced the short paragraph provided, it sounded as if my son was in the army. Then after the first trimester when he had earned a silver star I gave them another chance to simply include the press release I provided from KP and this time it didn't make print. He subsequently earned another silver star (still no mention) and for 3rd Tri he earned a gold star (3.86). YAY! *Sorry, had a moment of pride* I have come to the conclusion that the media prefers bad news so I will have to be the bearer of the good news myself.
The advice I would have especially for a plebe is the advice my father in law (a WW2 Merchant Ship Captain) gave my husband as he left for KP: "Son, keep your eyes open, your ears open, and your mouth shut." It has served my men well.
 

jamzmom

10-Year Member
Founding Member
If the reporter is as lazy as a lot of low circulation newspaper reporters are, they will eagerly take what you write and cut and paste it into their article.
Oooops. Dave'sMom kinda puts that theory to rest. LOL Commish, ya crack me up.

I'd done the same as Dave'sMom with the whole Academy press release thing. It was a simple press release about son's sea year yet when it came out in the paper, the headline read:
"Local student returns to Marine Academy". All through the story they'd neglected to put the two words together which mean everything in this case. Merchant Marine. Only Marine was used. I'd say this probably did not help KP's public relations department any. People now think there is a US Marine Academy out there somewhere. I've never sent another one. And I'm an ex- copy/paste reporter who KNEW in advance that this would happen. :shake:
 

Zaphod

10-Year Member
Founding Member
If parents see a nice picture and article - they will be impressed.
Key words.

I, for one, would be unwilling to give them the chance to screw it up at my expense, especially if I were a Plebe.

...and as we all know, the media has SUCH a WONDERFUL track record of getting it right, not injecting bias, not embellishing, etc.... :rolleyes:

On the other hand, you could be right - perhaps it is better to keep the masses ignorant so when they watch the Army/Navy game they wonder how those sailors got picked to play football.
Yeah. I'm sure a small article in a hometown newspaper is suddenly going to tectonically shift perceptions. :rolleyes:

And if they want to know, they'll look it up and find out. It's worked just fine for 100+ years.
 
Last edited:

Just_A_Mom

10-Year Member
I live in an area with a very high crime rate. In the past week I have been treated to front page stories describing a toddler who died after riding his tricycle out his kitchen door and off of a roof (the house had been condemned), a young mother who was found beated and drowned in her pool in her home and up the road a piece- 3 "good" teenage boys beat to death a man ostensibly because he was Mexican.
I could go on and on - so imagine my surprise when I picked up my newspaper this morning and was treated to this article - ON THE FRONT PAGE!! Complete with a photo of the Blue Angels, in living color:

http://www.readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=100931

Oley native picked to join Blue Angel fighter-jet pilots
By Tyrel Linkhorn
Reading Eagle


As a youngster, Benjamin D. Walborn couldn't get close enough the first time he saw the Blue Angels perform their precision formations.

Twenty years have passed, and his view is about to change.

The 28-year-old Navy lieutenant soon will be flying at hundreds of miles an hour with just 12 inches separating his jet from that of another member of one of the world's elite flying teams.

Walborn, stationed in Lemoore, Calif., was one of two pilots selected in mid-July to join the Navy and Marine Corps flight-demonstration team for the 2009 season.

When the former Oley resident thinks back on his first look at the team at Reading Regional Airport, it's difficult for him to believe he's going to be a Blue Angel.

"It's pretty surreal for me to know right now that I'm heading down that path," Walborn said.

Even for someone surrounded by fliers since birth, someone who has piloted F/A-18 jets from aircraft carriers, the excitement that comes with selection as a Blue Angel is huge.

"It's pretty awesome in my mind," Walborn said.

Walborn will leave his squadron at the Naval Air Station in Lemoore in September and join the team to watch the final two months of their shows.

Training for the 2009 season begins at the Blues' base in Pensacola, Fla., immediately after their last performance Nov. 15.

Until then, Walborn, a 2001 graduate of the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., plans to try to stay humble.

"I'm one of those guys, until I'm wearing the blue flight suit, I'm pretty reserved," he said...............................................................
Did this reporter get everything correct? Probably not - I have been misquoted by this paper, myself. The point is - it's a great story and perhaps will inspire another 8 year old who sees the picture.

Who gets the Merchant Marine Academy right anyway? I will contend that it is often misunderstood BECAUSE people are so unfamiliar with it - Jamzmom - keep on them - hopefully when your son graduates they get it right. If not then hopefully they get it right for the next kid.

Our daily paper won't do a human interest story on an academy student - but we have a local weekly who has done them on classmates of my daughter who are at USNA- twice. They were pretty awesome.
 

Zaphod

10-Year Member
Founding Member
We are a small rural city so I was certain that my son's accomplishments would be properly quoted. After they sliced and diced the short paragraph provided, it sounded as if my son was in the army.
I rest my case. :rolleyes:

I have come to the conclusion that the media prefers bad news so I will have to be the bearer of the good news myself.

The advice I would have especially for a plebe is the advice my father in law (a WW2 Merchant Ship Captain) gave my husband as he left for KP: "Son, keep your eyes open, your ears open, and your mouth shut." It has served my men well.
You heretic, you! :thumb:
 

jamzmom

10-Year Member
Founding Member
LOL JAM. Boy don't I know it. Merchant Marine are always a bunch of salty WWII guys in the eyes of the public. Most folks have no idea what the Academy is about. I've spread the word in my little town some. It generally gets alot of "Wow"s. This is why I like you guys so much. Ya'll "get it". :shake:
 

Dave'sMom

10-Year Member
5-Year Member
If the goal is to give people a clue, then he can go back to his high school during leave and give a presentation. At least then he's assured of controlling the material being presented. Not so with a newspaper, local or not.
Amen!
Plebe year is a time to begin your accomplishments, study, work hard. My son's friends are in awe of what he is doing and that is spreading much better news than anything read in the paper. :thumb:
 
Top