Local media take 'Marine 101',;Obstacle course, martial arts give newscasters insight into Corps;

17 Oct 2002 | Lance Cpl. Daniel Thomas Marine Corps Air Station Yuma

Marine Corps Air Station Yuma's Public Affairs Office held a seminar for local media members here Oct. 5.

The purpose of the seminar was to give members of the local media a better understanding of the Marine Corps,  while maintaining and improving media relations.

During the seminar, members of local TV news stations tried their hand at conquering the obstacle course, indoor simulated marksmanship training and the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program.

After completion of these activities, they attended a question-and-answer briefing where they received a comprehensive guide book to understanding the Marine Corps.

"I first got the idea about a year ago," said 1st Lt. Kevin Hyde, Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron, MCAS Public Affairs Officer. "I thought it would be beneficial to bring the media in and give them as much information as we could."

The physical training aspect of the seminar was not totally Hyde's idea.

"I pulled members of the local media aside, and most of them were very responsive," said Hyde.

"Perrette Godwin of KSWT was really excited and called me up personally," said Hyde. "It was her idea about the physical training. Of course my first thought was 'Oh, put them in the gas chamber,'" added Hyde.

That idea didn't pan out, however, those who attended the seminar said they enjoyed the events that were offered.

"I just wish I could climb the rope better," said Andrew Carmack, KSWT news production crew. "It's possible to get through the obstacle course, but it's hard to excel at it."

"My favorite part was the martial arts," said Jennifer Musa, KSWT news reporter. "I didn't know about the program, but I think it's cool. I never thought about using real body-to-body force."

Members of the media said the seminar was a great learning experience.

"I think it was very exciting, and I'm going to tell my friends about this," said Carlos Negrete, KSWT.

"I think it gave me a better understanding of what you guys (Marines) do and why you do it," said Godwin.

According to Hyde, he wanted to get the media involved in the seminar so they would have a deeper concern for the Marine Corps.

"I wanted them to walk out of here with a renewed interest and respect for the Marine Corps," said Hyde. "I wanted them to have the desire to take the extra time to make sure their stories are done accurately."

Hyde said the seminar was his idea, but it was put together largely by Sgt. Tracie Kessler, PAO, media chief.

Kessler was responsible for coordinating all of the events and putting together the comprehensive booklets filled with Marine Corps terminology, customs, courtesies and ranks.

"Keeping a good relationship with the media is always important," said Kessler. "The public always wants to know what is going on with their Marines, and the best way to get the word out and the story right is to have a good relationship with the local media."

According to Hyde, the point he wanted to drive home most with the seminar was his desire to foster more mutual respect with the media for the Marine Corps and vice-versa.

"They are our outlet to let people with no relations to the Marine Corps know how we're doing," said Hyde. "If the reporters are well informed and know some of the verbiage and history of the Marine Corps, that background knowledge will set them ahead."

Marine Corps Air Station Yuma