Media and Public Affairs Occupations

Each job description is preceded by an indication of which branches of the service the job is available in, as not all branches of the service offer the same careers. For additional information beyond what we offer here, you can also visit: careersinthemilitary.com and todaysmilitary.com/careers.

Audiovisual and Broadcast Technicians

Army
Navy
Air Force
Marine Corps
Coast Guard

Television and film productions comprise an important part of military communications. Films are used for training in many military occupations. They are also used to record military operations, ceremonies, and news events. These productions require the teamwork of many technicians. Audiovisual and broadcast technicians perform many specialized tasks, ranging from filming to script editing to operating audio recording devices.

What They Do

Audiovisual and broadcast technicians in the military perform some or all of the following duties:

  • Work with writers, producers, and directors to prepare and interpret scripts
  • Plan and design production scenery, graphics, and special effects
  • Operate media equipment and special-effects devices, including cameras, sound recorders, and lighting
  • Follow the script and instructions of film or TV directors to move a camera, zoom, pan, or adjust focus

Where They Work

Audiovisual and broadcast technicians work in studios or outdoors on location. They sometimes work from aircraft or ships. They travel and work in all climates.

Opportunities in Civilian Life

Civilian audiovisual and broadcast technicians work for film-production companies, government audio-visual studios, radio and television stations, and advertising agencies. Their duties are similar to those performed by military journalists and newswriters. They may be called motion picture camera operators, audiovisual production specialists, sound mixers, recording engineers, and broadcasting and recording technicians.

Physical Requirements

Normal color vision and the ability to speak clearly are required for some specialties in this area.

Broadcast Journalists and Newswriters

Army
Navy
Air Force
Marine Corps
Coast Guard

The military publishes newspapers and broadcasts television and radio programs for its personnel and the public. These services are an important source of general information about people and events in the military. Broadcast journalists and newswriters write and present news programs, music programs, and radio talk shows.

What They Do

Broadcast journalists and newswriters in the military perform some or all of the following duties:

  • Gather information for military news programs and publications
  • Write radio and TV scripts
  • Develop ideas for news articles
  • Arrange and conduct interviews
  • Collect information for commercial media use
  • Select photographs and write captions for news articles
  • Write news releases, feature articles, and editorials

Where They Work

Broadcast journalists and newswriters work in broadcasting studios on land or aboard ships, or sometimes outdoors, depending upon the research needed for their articles.

Opportunities in Civilian Life

Broadcast journalists and newswriters work for newspapers, magazines, wire services, and radio and television stations. Their duties are similar to those performed by military journalists and newswriters. They may be employed as newscasters, disc jockeys, writers, directors, producers, editors, or correspondents.

Physical Requirements

Normal color vision and the passing of a voice audition are required for some specialties in this area.

Graphic Designers and Illustrators

Army
Navy
Air Force
Marine Corps

The military produces many publications, such as training manuals, newspapers, reports, and promotional materials. Graphic artwork is used in these publications and for signs, charts, posters, and TV and motion picture productions. Graphic designers and illustrators produce graphic artwork, drawings, and other visual displays.

What They Do

Graphic designers and illustrators in the military perform some or all of the following duties:

  • Produce computer-generated graphics
  • Draw graphs and charts to represent budgets, numbers of troops, supply levels, and office organization
  • Develop ideas and design posters and signs
  • Help instructors design artwork for training courses
  • Draw illustrations of parts of the human body for medical training
  • Draw cartoons for filmstrips and animation for films
  • Make silkscreen prints
  • Work with TV and film producers to design backdrops and props for film sets

Where They Work

Graphic designers and illustrators usually work in offices on land or aboard ships.

Opportunities in Civilian Life

Civilian graphic designers and illustrators work for government agencies, advertising agencies, print shops, and engineering firms. They also work for many large organizations that have their own graphics departments. Their duties are similar to those of military graphic designers and illustrators. They may be known as commercial artists or graphic artist technicians.

Interpreters and Translators

Army
Navy
Air Force
Marine Corps

Some members of the military must be able to read and understand the many languages of the world. Information from foreign-language newspapers, magazines, and radio broadcasts is important to the nation’s defense. Interpreters and translators convert written or spoken foreign languages into English or other languages. They usually specialize in a particular foreign language.

What They Do

Interpreters and translators in the military perform some or all of the following duties:

  • Translate written and spoken foreign-language material to and from English, making sure to preserve the original meaning
  • Interrogate (question) prisoners of war, enemy deserters, and civilian informers in their native languages
  • Record foreign radio transmissions using sensitive communications equipment
  • Prepare written reports about the information obtained
  • Translate foreign documents, such as battle plans and personnel records
  • Translate foreign books and articles describing foreign equipment and construction techniques

Where They Work

Interpreters and translators normally work on military bases, aboard ships, or in airplanes.

Opportunities in Civilian Life

Civilian interpreters and translators work for government agencies, embassies, universities, and companies that conduct business overseas. Their work is similar to the work of military interpreters and translators.

Physical Requirements

Normal hearing and the ability to speak clearly and distinctly are usually required to enter this occupation.

Musicians

Army
Navy
Air Force
Marine Corps
Coast Guard

Music is an important part of military life. Service bands and vocal groups have a strong tradition of performing at ceremonies, parades, concerts, festivals, and dances. Musicians and singers perform in service bands, orchestras, and small groups. They perform many types of music, including marches, classics, jazz, and popular music.

What They Do

Musicians in the military perform some or all of the following duties:

  • Play in or lead bands, orchestras, combos, and jazz groups
  • Sing in choral groups or as soloists
  • Perform for ceremonies, parades, concerts, festivals, and dances
  • Rehearse and learn new music when not performing
  • Play brass, percussion, woodwind, or string instruments

Where They Work

Musicians play indoors in theaters, concert halls, and at dances and outdoors at parades and open-air concerts. They also travel regularly.

Opportunities in Civilian Life

Civilian musicians work for many types of employers, including professional orchestras, bands, and choral groups. They work in nightclubs, concert halls, theaters, and recording studios.

Photographic Specialists

Army
Navy
Air Force
Marine Corps
Coast Guard

The military uses photographs for many purposes, such as intelligence gathering and news reporting. The services operate photographic laboratories to develop the numerous photos taken by the military. Photographic specialists take and develop still color or black-and-white photographs.

What They Do

Photographic specialists in the military perform some or all of the following duties:

  • Select camera, film, and other equipment needed for photo assignments
  • Determine camera angles, lighting, and any special effects needed
  • Take still photos of people, events, military equipment, land areas, and other subjects
  • Develop, duplicate, or retouch film negatives, photos, or slides
  • Maintain photographic equipment

Where They Work

Photographic specialists work both indoors and outdoors while photographing their subjects. They may take photos from aircraft or ships. They process photographs in photographic laboratories on bases or aboard ships.

Opportunities in Civilian Life

Civilian photographic specialists work for photography studios, newspapers, magazines, advertising agencies, commercial photograph developers, and large businesses. They perform duties similar to those of military specialists. Depending on the specialty, they may be known as photojournalists, aerial or still photographers, film developers, automatic print developers, or print controllers.

Physical Requirements

Normal color vision is required to produce accurate color prints.