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Mass Communication Specialist

A Navy photographer takes aerial photos from a Navy helicopter

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  • Develop print publications and multimedia content including video, still images, digital graphics, web products, news and feature stories, blogs and press releases
  • Operate and maintain state-of-the-art photography and video equipment
  • Conduct research and identify target audiences, analyze data and provide feedback to leadership
  • Identify communication issues and come up with solutions based on research
  • Work directly with local news media organizations to release stories and develop public relations campaigns
  • Conduct ship and base tours for high-profile individuals and foreign dignitaries
  • Assist and work within oversight of Public Affairs Officers

Senior MC Responsibilities

  • Advise and prepare unit commanders for media interaction and press conferences
  • Develop content strategies and create data stories
  • Speak to the press on behalf of the command

Work Environment

As an MC, you’ll explore nearly every part of the Navy. You could be overseas on the flight deck of an aircraft carrier, in the field with a combat construction unit or in an air-conditioned broadcast station at a stateside command. Your workplace is as diverse as they come.

While there may be some physical work on a ship or in a station, the majority of the job is mentally and creatively focused. You’ll also need to be comfortable working independently or with a small team and with little supervision.

Training & Advancement

Upon completion of initial training at Recruit Training Command Great Lakes, (known as Boot Camp), you’ll report to Fort George G. Meade, MD, to attend “A” School. Here, you’ll learn the basics of still photography, digital imaging, videography, photojournalism, news writing, public affairs, layout and design in preparation for your first assignment.

Advanced Training

As an MC, you could also be eligible to receive advanced training in:

  • Digital Multimedia
  • Intermediate Motion Media
  • Intermediate Public Affairs
  • Intermediate Photojournalism

Promotion opportunity is available, but competitive and based on performance. This is an enlisted rate and not available for an officer in the Navy. If you have a four-year degree, you may be eligible to be a Public Affairs Officer.

Post-Service Opportunities

Serving as a Mass Communication Specialist can open up doors for you in the media world. Your experience will help you develop knowledge of:

  • Photography and videography (including aerial and underwater)
  • Writing
  • Graphic design and layout
  • Social media and web content
  • Broadcasting (TV, radio and online)
  • Animation and interactive multimedia
  • Operating and maintaining audiovisual and printing equipment
  • Coordinating with and escorting media
  • Research (surveys and data collection)

These essential skills can apply directly to any communications job in the civilian world, such as a photographer, photojournalist, reporter, camera operator, graphic designer, multimedia artist, animator and more.

Education Opportunities

Beyond offering access to professional credentials and certifications, Navy training in the field of mass communication can translate to credit hours toward a bachelor’s or associate degree through the American Council on Education.

For qualified applicants, you may be eligible to apply and be selected for a Motion Media or Photojournalism Masters Program at the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.

You may also continue your education through undergraduate degree opportunities like the Navy College Program and Tuition Assistance and the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

Qualifications & Requirements

A high school diploma or equivalent is required to become an Enlisted Sailor. You must have normal color perception, vision correctable to 20/20 and meet the eligibility requirements for a security clearance. Anyone considering a career as an MC should have above-average writing and speaking skills, an interest in learning about people and new ideas, be detail-oriented and creative.

General qualifications may vary depending upon whether you’re currently serving, whether you’ve served before or whether you’ve never served before.

Part-Time Opportunities

Serving part-time as a Navy Reserve Sailor, your duties will be carried out during your scheduled drilling and training periods. During monthly drilling, Mass Communication Specialists in the Navy Reserve typically work at a location close to their homes.

For Annual Training, MCs may serve anywhere in the world, whether on a ship at sea or bases and installations on shore.

Take a moment to learn more about the general roles and responsibilities of Navy Reserve Sailors.

Most of what you do in the Navy Reserve is considered training. The basic Navy Reserve commitment involves training a minimum of one weekend a month (referred to as drilling) and two weeks a year (referred to as Annual Training)—or the equivalent of that.

Mass Communication Specialists in the Navy Reserve serve in an Enlisted role. Before receiving the ongoing professional training that comes with the job, initial training requirements must be met.

For current or former military Enlisted servicemembers: prior experience satisfies the initial Recruit Training requirement – so you will not need to go through Boot Camp again.

For those without prior military experience: you will need to meet the initial Recruit Training requirement by attending Boot Camp in Great Lakes, IL. This training course will prepare you for service in the Navy Reserve and count as your first Annual Training.