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Sheppard AFB Editorial Policy and Submission Guidelines

This website,, is the only official, publicly accessible site for Sheppard Air Force Base, the 82nd Training Wing and the 80th Flying Training Wing. This website is a means for the installation commander to keep uniformed and civilian Airmen, dependents, contractors and members of the general public informed of news and information affecting the installation.

Only information cleared for public release in accordance with Department of Defense Instruction 5230.09, Clearance of DoD Information for Public Release, and Air Force Instructions 35-107, Public Web and Social Communication, will be posted. The guidelines on this page are intended to help members of the Sheppard AFB community understand the role of Command Information and Public Web policy, as well as help the community submit appropriate information for publication on this site.

Click the following for more information: 
DoD Web and Social Media Policies
Air Force Web Policy

To view Web disclaimer policy, please click HERE.

For more information, call the Sheppard AFB Public Affairs Office at (940) 676-2732 or e-mail.

PA Guidance and DoD Imagery

Air Force Public Affairs Agency Statement: The Air Force trains its photographers, photo-journalists, public affairs specialists and public affairs officers the importance of maintaining absolute credibility of official DoD imagery.

The Air Force solidifies DoDI with Air Force Instructions 35-101, Public Affairs Policies and Procedures, and 35-109, Visual Information. The information contained in these instructions echo the intent and information contained in the DoDI.

AFI 35-109, paragraph 3.4 reads, "PA professionals must not alter imagery. (T-0). PA professionals create products that can be used in legal proceedings and for critical decision-making. Therefore, absolute trust and confidence in the truthfulness of products they create is essential. See DoDI 5040.02, for specific policy on alterations of official imagery."

Posture: Active. Queries beyond the scope of this guidance should be directed to Air Force Public Affairs Agency, (703) 696-1158 (DSN 426-1158) or appropriate unit. Organizations should respond to questions relating to their mission or the related policy concerning image alteration. Refer calls to AFPAA only if they go beyond the scope of location-specific information or this PAG.

Statements: The Department of Defense has policy, DoD Instruction 5040.02, dated April 20, 2018, which prohibits the alteration of all photographic and video images. The purpose of this policy is to ensure the absolute credibility of official DoD imagery.

It is DoD policy that imagery is an essential tool for decision-makers at every DoD level. Mission success and the protection of lives and property depend on official DoD imagery being complete, timely, and above all, highly accurate. Anything that weakens or casts doubt on the credibility of official DoD imagery in or outside the Department of Defense shall not be tolerated.

For specific forms of alteration allowed in the guidance, click HERE.

Editorial Policy

The Sheppard AFB website is the commander's primary communication tool to transmit information to the base community. The following editorial policy guidelines apply to achieve this goal:

1. The website provides the commander a primary means of communicating mission-essential information to members of the organization. The commander normally defers all decisions on news propriety, story placement, publication date and use of photography to the public affairs officer.

2. News and feature stories on people and organizations provide recognition of excellence in performance and help set forth norms for mission accomplishment.

3. News coverage and content will conform to policies of the Air Force and the commander. News reporting will be factual and objective. News coverage will avoid morbid, sensational or alarming details not necessary to factual news reporting. News writing will distinguish between fact and opinion. When an opinion is expressed, the source will be identified. This public website will not publish commercial news or editorials.

4. This website will keep Airmen and members of the general public accurately informed about military matters affecting their futures. This will assist the commander in improving morale and quelling rumors.

5. News and editorial content will provide information to all members of the Sheppard AFB community to improve the quality of their lives and thereby the effectiveness of the work force. This includes officers and enlisted members, civilian employees, family members, retirees, Reservists and Guardsmen.

6. This website will deglamorize the use of alcohol and tobacco products. Articles concerning the club, unit, or other activities may mention these products as long as the emphasis is on the activities and not the products.

7. This website will not display commercial advertising.

8. Event announcements published on this website must be made available to all readers without regard to race, religion, sex, national origin, marital status, physical handicap, political affiliation or any other non-merit factor.

9. The contents of this website will conform to applicable regulations and laws relating to libel and copyright, the Air Force Privacy Act Program and Standards of Conduct, as well as U.S. Government printing and postal regulations.

10. Locally originated articles will reflect the policies of the commander and be in the interest of the Air Force. Editorials should help readers understand Air Force policies and programs. They must not imply criticism of other government agencies, nor advocate or dispute specific political, diplomatic, or legislative matters. Statements or articles on legislative matters by people or agencies outside the DOD, including officials or candidates for public office, will not be used.

Writing Guidelines

Passive Voice: Avoid the use of passive voice (e.g. The policy was approved.) and use active voice instead (e.g. The committee approved the policy.)

Direct Address: Only address your audience directly (e.g. You should do ...) in commentary and editorial articles.

First Person: Only use first person (e.g. I, we, me, my, etc.) in commentary and editorial articles.

Full Identification: Full ID includes a person's rank, first name, last name, unit of assignment and duty title.

Abbreviations and Acronyms: Do not use abbreviations. Acronyms are only used on second reference when the meaning is clearly understood.

Jargon: Avoid the use of jargon and technical language. Have experts explain technical items in common terms.

Attribution: All news articles should include direct or indirect attribution from two or more sources.

Plagiarism: The Air Force has a no-tolerance policy regarding plagiarism in any public affairs publication.

Military Ranks: Associated Press style is used for military ranks on first reference.

Courtesy Titles: Courtesy titles or conversational ranks, as appropriate, will be used on first reference. The individual's last name only is used for each reference after that.

Individuals can be referred to by their job title (e.g. the maintainer) or by generic rank alone: the general, the sergeant, the senior airman, the colonel, etc. For Airmen with specialized titles, the specialized titles will be used in subsequent references.

Capitalization of Airman: Capitalize Airman and Airmen when referring to individuals in the U.S. Air Force: He is an Airman. If a generic term is needed, use the term Airmen: The Airmen returned to their base. An exception is when "airman" is part of a compound lower-case noun: A staff sergeant and a senior airman received awards.

Elements of News

Journalists stress current information - stories occurring today or yesterday, not several weeks ago. News story submissions should generally be no more than a week old.

Stress the important information that impacts the audience - Airmen and family members, and members of the general public, when appropriate. Don't overlook the "me factor" that your audience craves. Broad appeal is important.

News stories about prominent people tend to generate more interest than those about ordinary people. Readers are especially interested in what our leaders have to say about important issues and events. That's not to say that we should exclude articles about ordinary people, but that we appreciate the importance of prominence.

This element can be physical - stories occurring here at Sheppard - or psychological, Airmen interested in the lives of other Airmen around the globe. On one hand, the Air Force community is local and on the other hand, it's global.

Deviations from the normal - unexpected or unusual events, drama or change - are more newsworthy than the commonplace. In the Air Force community, most stories with this characteristic will deal with change: budget, manpower, infrastructure, processes, etc.

Conflict or Controversy
Conflict is also another common thread in Air Force news stories: overcoming hardships, balancing career and family, war. Conflict is also present in organizational and service rivalries, sports news and features, and self-improvement. In each of these stories, the conflict can be positive.
While the focus of the Sheppard AFB public affairs office is typically on Mission, People and Infrastructure articles, writers can submit several other types of articles as long as there is a clear military relationship demonstrated in the writing. These other articles include:
- Sports
- Travel features
- Self-improvement articles
- 'How-to' articles
- Hobby features
- Personality features
- Historical features
- Editorials/commentaries

Publication Guidelines

All elements of this Web site are updated daily, as time and mission requirements permit. To ensure adequate coverage or publicity of an event, information should be submitted no later than one week prior to the event. If submitting self-written material, please send to public affairs no later than close of business on Tuesday of the desired week you'd like to see it run.

The weekly publication The Sheppard Senator is not a product of Sheppard AFB. The Wichita Falls Times Record News staff uses content published on the Sheppard AFB public website to produce and publish the newspaper weekly.

All copy submitted will be rewritten as needed to ensure it conforms to Air Force journalism guidelines for news writing. This includes conforming to the guidelines in the Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law and appropriate story length.

The public affairs officer will determine the location and manner in which an item is presented on this website.

Recurring Columns 
Recurring columns from base agencies are normally discouraged because of the time and commitment required to keep the webpages up to date. The public affairs officer will determine if a request for a recurring column has merit.

Award Winners 
Stories and/or photos of award winners are limited to wing level and higher. An exception to this is the ACE Award program, which recognizes technical training students who achieve 100% scores on all aspects of their course work.

Change of Command 
Stories and/or photos are limited to group-level or major tenant organizations and above. Self-help equipment is available for sign-out by organizations below the group level.

Photos normally accepted for publication include on-the-job action photos. Photos containing classified information, alcoholic beverages or cigarettes, dress and personal appearance violations, safety violation, or those which compromise force protection measures will not be published. Photos should be accompanied by a brief description of the action pictured, the date of the photo, the organization or unit, the ranks, names and units of people, from left to right, featured in the photo, and the rank and name of the photographer.

Souvenirs, gifts and mementos 
IAW AFI 35-109, Visual Information, government-funded PA and VI resources will not be used to provide souvenirs, personal gifts, mementos, or farewell gifts. Examples include “hero” shots in front of aircraft cockpits (unless provided as part of a Distinguished Visitor (DV) orientation flight), booster club promotional items, group photos intended to commemorate events such as golf tournaments or recreational gatherings and sports team photos. Also, resources will not be used to support or document farewell parties or social events unless certified as newsworthy or having historical significance by the base historian or chief of PA. When an event is determined to be historically significant, PA resources may be provided to meet official news and documentation requirements only. Finally, resources will not be used to create products used primarily for entertainment during farewell parties or social events, or to support MWR- or services-sponsored recognition programs.

Fund Drives
Coverage will be limited to those campaigns authorized by Air Force regulations, namely the Combined Federal Campaign and the Air Force Assistance Fund.

Articles published on this site will be coordinated with affected agencies as deemed appropriate by the public affairs officer. Controversial or "sensitive" articles will be coordinated with the commander, and higher headquarters, when necessary, before publication. Changes to style or news writing will only be made when directed by the public affairs officer.