New "American Connections" Media Outreach Program Replaces Legacy Fleet Hometown News Program

Story Number: NNS160714-13Release Date: 7/14/2016 2:30:00 PM
A  A  A   Email this story to a friend   Print this story
By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jamal McNeill, Navy Office of Community Outreach

MILLINGTON, Tenn. (NNS) -- The Navy recently announced the American Connections Media Outreach Program, a new and innovative means to share news and information about its Sailors, ships and the Navy's mission with Americans across the country.

The program, announced via NAVADMIN 148/16, modernizes and replaces the Navy's legacy Fleet Hometown News (FHTN) program. It was established to share the Navy story in media across the country serving markets which generally do not generally receive Navy news and information.

The program leverages Sailors' local connections to communities across America -- hometown, location of high school or college attended, a family member's hometown, etc. -- as well as the relationships that exist between Navy units and their namesake cities and states, to ensure Americans throughout the country understand their Navy, its mission and its contribution to national security.

The program is managed by the Navy Office of Community Outreach (NAVCO), whose mission is to inform, educate and increase understanding of the Navy, its people, and its importance to national security and prosperity.

Along with providing a better understanding about the Navy to Americans, the program also helps maintain the relationships that exist between Navy units and their namesake cities and states, while making a positive impact on the morale of participating Sailors and namesake units.

The American Connections Media Outreach Program has three primary components.

The first, NAVCO's Fleet Content Sharing Service, ensures that thousands of high-quality stories and photos produced for official Navy outlets each year are shared with civilian media. NAVCO has a team of specialists which searches dozens of Navy websites and other products, finds stories and photos, identifies local connections or namesake ties, and distributes them to media across the country.

Under this component, a story about a Sailor of the Year from Des Moines, Iowa, found on could be shared with more than 100 media outlets in the Des Moines market; a story about USS Alabama (SSBN 731) completing a patrol, which appeared on the Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet web site could be shared with thousands of media across the entire state. The key, NAVCO officials say, is the identification of local ties such as a hometown, in all stories and photo captions submitted to official Navy media outlets.

While NAVCO reviews photos and stories shared with, DVIDS ( many other sources, commands are also encouraged to include when distributing photos and stories.

"It is great to hear and see the photos I take end up around the country," said USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) Seaman Jamaal Liddell, from Jacksonville, Florida. "It is even better to let the person in the photo know that their parents got to see their photo because the local media was able to get their hands on the photo through the NAVCO program."

Under the second component, Media Production Visits, NAVCO deploys small production teams to commands to produce feature stories and accompanying photos on assigned Sailors. The stories are provided to the local media outlets where Sailors have local connections and posted on the NAVCO's media outreach blog ( The blog makes it easy for Sailors to share their stories using their own social media networks. NAVCO also provides each participating command with detailed media feedback reports with links to all coverage.

"The team that NAVCO sent to do feature stories here in Sasebo was great," said Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class James Hunt, from Puyallup, Washington. "As a mass communication specialist, I am the one usually on the other side of the story. It was great to have the opportunity to share my story and show what I do in the Navy with family and friends back home."

The third component is NAVCO's Media Advisory Service, which preserves a popular capability from the legacy FHTN program, allowing Sailors to receive recognition in local media when they receive awards, earn qualifications, retire, reenlist, get promoted or reach other career milestones.

Since its inception, the American Connections Media Outreach Program has shared more than 12,000 stories, photos and other products with media across the United States, reaching more than 250 million Americans, according to NAVCO officials.

For more information about NAVCO and the American Connections Media Outreach Program visit or e-mail

NAVADMIN 148/16 is available at under the Reference Library tab.

For more information, visit,, or

USS George H.W. Bush operations
150224-N-MU440-001 Norfolk, VA Feb. 24, 2015 Mass Communications Specialist Senior Chief Gary Ward, left, previews a photo with Gunner's Mate 2nd Class Rebekah Rahn, from Atlanta, as part of a fleet hometown news interview aboard the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77). George H.W. Bush is conducting training exercises in its homeport. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Lorelei Vander Griend/Released)
March 26, 2015
Navy Social Media
Sign up for email updates To sign up for updates or to access your subscriber preferences, please click on the envelope icon in the page header above or click Subscribe to Navy News Service.