By Judith Snyderman
Special to American Forces Press Service
Sept. 8, 2009 - Defense Department officials have launched "AFPS News," a weekly audio podcast of stories from American Forces Press Service. "American Forces Press Service news and feature articles are a vital source of information to troops, their family members and the American public," said Linda Kozaryn, director of eProducts for the Defense Media Activity.
"The podcasts give AFPS another outlet for our stories, which traditionally have been available only in print and on the Web," she said. "We are excited to reach a broadcast audience via this new media tool."
AFPS, formerly a feature-article service mailed to military installation newspaper editors, has grown into a real-time news operation, posting more than 3,000 articles annually on the Defense Department's Web site. In addition to covering the activities of top Defense Department leaders, it provides timely information on matters important to servicemembers and their families while showcasing the work being done around the world by the nation's men and women in uniform.
To listen to the AFPS podcast, visit the Pentagon Channel's room on iTunes or visit http://://www.pentagonchannel.mil. Defense Department officials have launched "AFPS News," a weekly audio podcast of stories from American Forces Press Service. and click on the podcasts section. It's also available on BlogTalkRadio at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/AFPS.
Visitors to Defense.gov, a new portal launched in August, can listen to the AFPS podcasts by choosing the Podcasts tab, then clicking on the AFPS link in the audio podcasts section. They also may subscribe to receive automatic updates of the show each Thursday. The Defense.gov portal provides a handy link to some 28 audio and video podcast programs from a tab in its left column.
"The podcast offers a convenient new way to get a weekly roundup of coverage from AFPS – it's quick, and it's portable," said Brian Natwick, acting director of the Defense Media Activity's emerging media directorate and general manager of the Pentagon Channel.
Each podcast features five to 10 minutes of news capsules, highlighting AFPS stories related to defense operations and troops around the world, including Iraq and Afghanistan - along with coverage of health, environmental, technological and legislative issues.
Defense.gov embraces social media sites such as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, and has a new feature called "We Want to Hear From You," which gives users the opportunity to ask questions of Defense Department leaders, vote on policy issues they want explained and explore frequently asked questions and answers.
Podcasting is a method of publishing audio and video broadcasts via the Internet, allowing users to subscribe to a feed of new files. Many content providers offer podcast feeds at no cost that deliver audio or video broadcasts to the user's desktop. Users can replay these files on the computer or load them onto an MP3 player or other portable device. The word "podcasting" combines the words "iPod" and "broadcasting," but the term can be misleading, since neither podcasting nor replaying podcasts requires an iPod or any portable music player.
The weekly podcast of AFPS articles is a production of the Defense Media Activity's emerging media directorate, established in October 2006 to educate Defense Department organizations about new media tools and applications, encourage their use throughout the department, and to communicate department leadership's messages and priorities more effectively with the public.
(Judith Snyderman works in the Defense Media Activity's emerging media directorate.)