Do you enjoy writing? Do you have a newsworthy story to tell? Are you interested in helping the Public Affairs Office coordinate coverage of your directorate's accomplishments and how they impact the Land and Maritime mission?

Become a PAL

For more information about the professional development opportunities in the Public Affairs Liaison (PAL) program, contact the Public Affairs Office at 614-692-2328 or for additional information.

Guide for the Public Affairs Liaison

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Dear PAL,

We in public affairs are happy to be working with you! Our goal is to form a good working relationship with our PAL’s, and to assist your organization in disseminating important news and information to share the DLA story.

This guide will outline some basic PAL duties and highlight frequently asked questions; however, we realize that it will not answer all concerns you may have. Please feel free to contact a public affairs specialist with any questions or concerns.

In the event that you cannot reach a PA specialist, you may contact the DLA Land and Maritime Public Affairs Office at 692-2328 or

We produce news stories for DLA Land and Maritime pages. is DLA’s online news publication.

What we anticipate from you:

  • Submit your article to via e-mail where it will be reviewed and edited by the Public Affairs Specialist assigned to your group, office or detachment.
  • Keep in mind that your article (and picture, if applicable) must be reviewed before it can be published.
  • Follow the format guidelines listed in the section titled “FORMAT”.
  • Your article should be between one and two double spaced pages, unless otherwise requested.
  • Type written submissions, preferably in Microsoft Word
  • Send submission electronically via e-mail attachment or bring to the DLA land and Maritime Public Affairs office so that we may scan the document (and picture, if applicable).
  • Double space
  • Indent paragraphs
  • Font style: Bookman Old Style
  • Font size: 12 pt.
  • Only space once after/between sentences.    
  • Include name and title of author (you).
  • Include name of the author's directorate.
  • Provide author’s contact number in case the editor needs more information.
  • Obtain directorate or office approval before submitting story.


News writing often follows a formula type structure. It isn't required; however, assist with news focused stories. For guidance this format is:

  • First paragraph is the lead. The lead is usually one sentence and includes the who, what, when, where, why and how. 
  • Second paragraph is the bridge. This covers whatever was missed during the lead or other important information.
  • Third paragraph is a primary quote. This is usually a quote that is attributed to leadership or the guest speaker. Remember to include quotation marks, who said it and their title.
  • The remaining paragraphs provide support and secondary details including facts and supporting quotes with attribution.
  • The final paragraph is the conclusion and if applicable provides the reader information on where to go to obtain additional information on the topic.

A good news story contains the following elements:

  • Immediacy - timeliness is a key. Readers will not be interested in a policy change that went into effect seven months ago
  • Significance - workplace milestones, training objectives, Warfighter support
  • Financial Stewardship - Focusing on cost-saving initiatives and tax payer benefits
  • Human Interest - awards, retirements, team accomplishments, People and Culture, Special Emphasis Programs, feature articles
  • Strategic Impact - Stories that include Land and Maritime’s impact on the agency’s priorities of Warfighter First, Global Posture, Always Accountable, Whole of Government and Strong Partnerships

As a PAL, the stories you will write about will be right under your nose. Some tips for finding information are:

  • Attend staff meetings.
  • Work closely with your director. He/she will be an excellent news source.
  • Keep an open ear. Listen to what colleagues are doing, in and out of work.
  • Following the DLA Director’s guidance, stories concerning Warfighter Support, Stewardship Enhancement, and Workforce Development are always in demand.
  • Some other newsworthy subjects are promotions, individual and group achievements, personnel changes, organizational training, environmental matters, programs receiving command emphasis, and personnel awards.
  • Focus on the facts of the story.
  • Gather the who, what, when, where, why, and how of the story.
  • Make a point to be prompt and courteous during interviews.
  • Research basic facts before the interview. Biographies and regulations are a good way to gather information.
  • Write up some questions before the interview.
  • Try to avoidyes” and “no” answers by asking, “What do you think about…?” or “What do you mean by…?” to get the source in a more reflective mood.
  • Try to keep your source on the subject, especially when time is limited.
  • Thank your source
  • Look for pictures with action and interest; self-explanatory pictures.
  • Choose pictures in which the key individual’s face is at least 2/3 visible.
  • Stay away from pictures that require a magnifying glass to see who is in the photo.
  • Editors usually prefer to include a photo, so look for a good shot idea to go along with the story.
  • Include a cutline. Cutlines explain a picture, describing the action, subjects and background information of the picture.
  • Give credit to the photographer. Be sure to include his/her name.
  • To schedule a photography appointment in Columbus, contact DSCC Multimedia at (614) 692-2255. At detached locations contact your installation photographers.
  • Note: If the photo is to accompany an article for – request that a digital photo be taken.
  • Note: Photographers should also obtain a VIRIN/Vision ID. If you need a VIRIN, visit with a CAC enabled device and follow the prompts.  PALs should send this ID to for record.

The Privacy Act of 1974 provides all citizens with a constitutional right to privacy. The easiest way to determine what should and should not be published is to determine whether or not the material is a matter of public record. For example, social security numbers are not publishable, since the information is not a matter of public record, but marital status, a matter of public record, may be published, according to law.

For more detailed information about the Privacy Act, consult DLA and DoD regulations.

Libel is defined as “any false and malicious written or printed statement, or any sign, picture or effigy, tending to expose a person to public ridicule, hatred, or contempt or to injure that person’s reputation in any way.”

The definition of slander is much the same, except slander is spoken, not written.

Plagiarism is the act of taking writings or ideas of another and passing them off as one’s own and is unethical in all journalistic standards. When material has previously appeared in a copyrighted publication, its reproduction without permission becomes a violation of law.

  • Always be sure that stories are true and accurate. Check, check and recheck your facts.
  • Be sure you trust your source.
  • Research the history of what you print.
  • Make sure direct quotes are written in quotation marks.
  • One word: website, email, online
  • Numbers: Spell out numbers under 10. Use numerals for numbers larger than single digits.
  • Spell out percentage, don’t use the symbol %.    
  • Avoid using “according to.” It implies that what a person says is suspect. 
  • Use “more than” instead of “over” when referring to numbers. “over” is a direction.
  • That vs. Which: This has to do with essential vs. non-essential clauses. “That” is used for essential clauses – those not set off by commas. “Which” is used for non-essential clauses – those that are set off by commas.
  • Who vs. Whom vs. That: Use “who” and “whom” when referring to people and to animals with a name. Use “that” when referring to inanimate objects and animals without a name. A good way to remember whether to use “who” or “whom” is whether you can replace it with he (for who) or him (for whom).


Use figures except for noon and midnight. Use a colon to separate hours from minutes: 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 3:30 p.m., 9-11 a.m., 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Avoid such redundancies as 10 a.m. this morning, 10 p.m. tonight or 10 p.m. Monday night.

Abbreviations and Acronyms

  • In general, avoid alphabet soup. Do not use abbreviations or acronyms that the reader (public, non-government) would not quickly recognize.
  • Before a name: Abbreviate titles when used before a name
  • After a name: Abbreviate junior or senior after a name. Abbreviate company, corporation, incorporated and limited when used after the name of a corporate entity.
  • With dates or numerals: Use the abbreviations A.D., B.C., a.m., p.m., No., and abbreviate certain months (Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., Dec.) when used with the day of the month.
    • Examples
      • Right: In 450 B.C.; at 9:30 a.m.; in room No. 6; on Sept. 16.
      • Wrong: Early this a.m. he asked for the No. of your room. The abbreviations are correct only with figures.
      • Right: Early this morning he asked for the number of your room.            


Capitalize the names of months in all uses. When a month is used with a specific date, abbreviate only Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov. and Dec. Spell out when using alone, or with a year alone. When a phrase lists only a month and a year, do not separate the year with commas. When a phrase refers to a month, day and year, set off the year with commas.

Examples: January 2016 was a cold month. Jan. 2 was the coldest day of the month. His birthday is May 8. Feb. 14, 2013, was the target date. She testified that it was Friday, Dec. 3, when the crash occurred.

In tabular material, use these three-letter forms without a period: Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec.

Public Affairs Liaison Program

What is a PAL?

A PAL is DLA Land and Maritime’s Public Affairs Liaison. A Public Affairs Liaison is an associate working in either a tenant organization, such as Defense Information Systems Agency, a directorate within DSCC, such as DSCC-V or at a detachment such as DLA Norfolk.

PALs can also be members of DLA Land and Maritime directorates. Although public affairs staff reporters are considered the "focus writers" for their assigned organizations, PALs are important as they are the "eyes and ears" of their organizations.

Public Affairs and PALs

The DLA Land and Maritime public affairs staff reporter will encourage their PALs to keep them informed of newsworthy events within the PAL’s organization.

The staff reporter should offer suggestions to help PALs strengthen their writing skills or develop story ideas, but try to encourage the PAL to write or generate stories themselves and give them the byline for encouragement. In tenant organizations, the staff reporter is only to be a “go-between.”

Once the public affairs specialist receives a written story, the specialist shall review the story, check font size, style and AP format. The specialist shall then place the story and picture, if applicable, into the public affairs folder system for review by other staffers. They also coordinate any necessary changes in submitted news stories with their organization(s) PAL or contact person.

After the article has been fully reviewed and edited, it is placed on the DLA Land and Maritime site.

News from DLA Land and Maritime PALs
DSCC celebrates 100-year anniversary of women’s right to vote
The Defense Federal Community Office of Equal Employment Opportunity and Diversity Federal Women’s Program observes Women’s Equality Day August 26.
July 29, 2020 - The Defense Federal Community Office of Equal Employment Opportunity and Diversity Federal Women’s Program observes Women’s Equality Day. This year’s theme is “Women’s Right to Vote.” August 26 marks the anniversary of the Women’s Suffrage Movement’s greatest victory – women achieving full voting rights following the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution 100 years ago.

Environmental Office shares tips for staying ‘Green’ as home projects hit summer surge
Volunteers collect recyclables during an installation Shred Day event at the Defense Supply Center Columbus in April 2018.
July 29, 2020 - Ohio’s shelter-in-place order has led many families to spend more time at home. As a result, local waste companies are reporting surges in trash collection resulting from many residents taking the opportunity for an extended spring-cleaning season and tackling various home projects.

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The Employee Assistance Program is a structured approach for helping employees and their families identify and resolve personal problems and concerns that may affect job performance.
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