MRE seeks improved communications from military public affairs offices on good news stories

WASHINGTON, Sept. 1 — Following is a statement by Military Reporters & Editors President Howard Altman requesting public affairs offices military-wide improve communicating information to journalists covering positive news stories.

There is a widely held misperception that journalists are only interested in bad news.

This is not true. Which is why we are perplexed that our efforts to tell a very good news story are being actively impeded by the military.

In a Twitter thread, Army Times reporter Davis Winkie explained the difficulties he encountered attempting to find out which subordinate units were recognized for their heroic efforts to help save Afghan allies during the chaotic (and deadly) withdrawal from America’s longest war. The Army and Air Force outright declined to help. The Army eventually released a list, but not before confused units made statements to reporters that further muddied the waters.

The Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) pushed him to the Marines, who did not answer the phone.

Kudos to the Navy, however, for providing him with the requisite details. 

But it should never have come to this.

These are stories about our men and women who risked their lives to help those who helped us for 20 years. This is a terrific story that we are honor-bound and happy to tell.

So please, for those who serve, their families and the American public who should know these stories of courage and valor, do better. We implore public affairs offices military-wide, but especially at the highest levels of the services and OSD, to help us help you shine the light where it’s deserved. 

About Military Reporters & Editors (MRE)

Military Reporters & Editors is the leading organization for U.S. journalists covering national security. MRE provides resources, support, and networking opportunities for its members, fostering excellence in journalism and promoting public understanding of military and national security affairs.

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