the best way to take care of servicemembers, Department of Defense civilian
employees, family members, and military retirees is to provide them with
timely and accurate information, thus providing them the resources they
need to contribute to the services' success (Naval Media Center, 2000).
Each branch of the Armed Forces dedicates a multitude of resources to put
together global news programs with the primary intent of informing and
entertaining the internal audience. These broadcasts are typically
30-minute shows, are produced in the United States, and are broadcast via
satellite to military installations and ships throughout the world.
The Naval Media Center produces Navy/Marine Corps News to maintain and assist a communication link between leaders and the Sailors and Marines in the fleet (Naval Media Center, 2000). Soldiers Radio and Television produces Army Newswatch as a comprehensive look at what is happening in the U.S. Army (Army Broadcasting Service, 2000). The Air Force News Agency produces Air Force Television News as an easy and convenient way for Airmen to stay up to date with Air Force contributions to the mission (Air Force News Agency, 2000).
By applying Lazarsfeld and Stanton's (1944) uses and gratification theory, this study will examine why the internal audience tunes in for these news programs and, more specifically, which individual needs drive them to watch these programs. This study will also determine if there is a statistically significant difference between the audience stationed throughout the world (overseas) and those stationed in the United States (stateside), with regard to their motivations to watch these programs. The independent variable will be the effect of viewing the global newscasts. The dependent variable is the perceived uses and gratifications of viewers.
Based upon the Abelman, Atkins and Rand (1997) study, there are 10 motivations for watching television. These are relaxation, companionship, habit, pass time, entertainment, information, arousal, moral support, escape, and social interaction. This study will use the Abelman et al. study as a foundation, with an emphasis on goal-oriented and ritualized/habitual viewing behavior. Goal-oriented viewing behavior is defined as a purposeful action that increases knowledge, awareness or reinforces self concept. Ritualized/habitual viewing behavior is defined as a routine, ritual action that doesn't seek to increase knowledge, awareness or reinforce self concept.
The DoD Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms (Defense Technical Information Center, 2000) states the internal audience includes "U.S. military members and civilian employees and their immediate families." For this study, the authors define the internal audience as U.S. servicemembers, Department of Defense civilians, retired military members, and family members anywhere in the world. Although each of the news programs serves a secondary external audience consisting of individuals with no military affiliation, this study will focus only on the internal audience. Ships at sea are considered "overseas" for this study. Any ships that are not deployed and are homeported in the United States are considered "stateside."
The global news programs -- Army Newswatch, Navy/Marine Corps News, and Air Force Television News -- are typically 30-minute news programs with news and feature stories. Each is produced by specially-trained servicemembers on a weekly or biweekly basis. All three programs gather stories from around the world for possible inclusion.