‘Broncos’ under spotlight during media training

| February 2, 2017 | 0 Comments
Sgt. Kurtis Weaver (left), a construction engineer assigned to 29th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, gives a mock interview at the Visual Information Center on Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, on Jan. 25, 2017. This was the first time Weaver received on-camera media training to learn interview techniques.

Sgt. Kurtis Weaver (left), a construction engineer assigned to 29th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, gives a mock interview at the Visual Information Center on Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, on Jan. 25, 2017. This was the first time Weaver received on-camera media training to learn interview techniques.

Story and photos by
Staff Sgt. Armando R. Limon
3rd Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs
25th Infantry Division

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — Being before a live on-camera can be one of the most unexpected and nerve-racking experiences for Soldiers during their time in the Army.

More than two dozen Soldiers from 3rd Brigade Combat Team, “Broncos,” 25th Infantry Division, overcame such fears to exercise on-camera interview techniques at the Visual Information Center, here, Jan. 24-31.

Sgt. Daniel Gibson, petroleum supply specialist, 325th Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, is seen given a mock interview through the view screen of a broadcast camera at the Visual Information Center on Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, on Jan. 26, 2017. Gibson was taught on-camera media training to learn interview techniques prior to the interview.

Sgt. Daniel Gibson, petroleum supply specialist, 325th Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, is seen given a mock interview through the view screen of a broadcast camera at the Visual Information Center on Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, on Jan. 26, 2017. Gibson was taught on-camera media training to learn interview techniques prior to the interview.

“What is the purpose of conducting On-Camera Media Training?” said Capt. Ramee Opperude, public affairs officer, 3rd BCT. “Media skills training and on-camera media training, in particular, is a vital component of our mission: ‘To Tell the Army Story.’”

Media skills training allows the Bronco brigade to accomplish three main objectives.

“First, media interview training helps individuals cultivate the skills to engage in a more productive interview with reporters,” Opperude said. “It’s incumbent on spokespeople to take the initiative in telling the organization’s story, from its perspective.”

He stated training was the best way for the unit spokesman to master these main messages and proficiently weave them into their answers to a reporter’s questions.

“Media training increases the likelihood that what an organization wants to communicate is covered,” he continued. “It’s impossible for individuals in any audience to understand your key messages if you don’t know what you want to say.”

One of the Soldiers learning these skills for the first time was Sgt. Fabian Hightower, a combat engineer assigned to the 29th Bde. Engineer Battalion, 3rd BCT, who found the scenario given a bit intimidating.

U.S. Army Soldiers assigned to the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, participated in an after action review (AAR) after completing their on-camera interviews at the Visual Information Center on Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, on Jan. 26, 2017. The Soldiers put their interview techniques to the test during a live recording of their mock interviews.

U.S. Army Soldiers assigned to the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, participated in an after action review (AAR) after completing their on-camera interviews at the Visual Information Center on Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, on Jan. 26, 2017. The Soldiers put their interview techniques to the test during a live recording of their mock interviews.

“It was scary,” Hightower said. “It got me nervous, but at the same time, if the situation ever occurred, then I can actually see what I’ll be facing.”

The fictitious scenario given for the Soldiers to answer as a subject matter expert was about two barrels of engineer degreaser found abandoned on post.

“I roughly had 5-10 minutes to read over a scenario of a chemical spill,” he said “Then I basically had to do a reporter interview, and the reporter was asking me questions on the situation about the chemical spill.”

He said he overcame his fears even as he struggled a bit with the highly stressful training.

For 1st Lt. Jamieray Abad, medical support operations, 325th Bde. Support Bn., 3rd BCT, the training was far different from any other Army training he had done during his career.

“This is certainly a highlight for me, because it’s almost like a react to contact,” Abad said. “You’re given a scenario, and you’re supposed to technically say the right things at the right time, and at the right place, in order to give everybody the information that is needed.

The training was good for him because it allowed him to work on his public speaking, get a little bit of the spotlight, and be able to say the information that’s needed out to the public, he said.

The Soldiers from the newly arrived 28th Public Affairs Detachment from Fort Lewis, Wash., acted as interviewers and video broadcasters during the training.

“For the media training, I help to ensure that the Soldiers involved have experience with dealing with aggressive media and how to ensure they stay on topic and don’t overstep their role,” said Sgt. Daniel Johnson, public affairs specialist, 28th PAD.

Johnson noted he received experience from doing this on the other side. His training helped to prepare him just as much as it prepared them. He was able to look at the topic on the other side and see what might be asked – and what might help him better prepare his leaders in the event they are interviewed.

“Some of the answers I received,” he said. “There were a lot of young Soldiers at the training who had never done an on-camera interview, so they were very nervous and saying funny things they normally wouldn’t.”

In the end, it was Johnson, as the interviewer, who enjoyed the on-camera interview training the most.

“This part of my job is definitely my favorite,” he said “Don’t get me wrong; I love the journalism, but this is really fun.”

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Category: News, Training

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