Hometown News: Reaching out for Connectivity
Hometown News aims to increase troop morale, by traveling to the troops' location, often an overseas remote site, where service-members could easily feel isolated after long periods away from home. Hometown News writes, shoots, and produces stories featuring soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines. The goal is to reinforce pride and promote an increase in morale internally, while increasing American awareness and understanding of military issues of all kinds. Hometown News does this through over 1,300 civilian television, radio, and print outlets. This begins a chain of events where the service-member receives feedback from home about the story, whether in the form of a newspaper clipping, videotape, or even a telephone conversation with family or friends about the story.
This investigation address the problem of the lack of connectivity and salience of the military to the general civilian population and examines whether Hometown News can address it effectively. Our research and data point to a lack of knowledge by civilians of military affairs due to many reasons. Among them are: the loss of military veterans who have fought in foreign wars; the disconnection of young draft age adults to military careers; and agenda setting by civilian media gatekeepers who cannot identify, or cannot profit from, airing military media products. We thoroughly investigate all these theories and concepts through literature and test our findings using appropriate research measurements that will attempt to answer our three research questions.