Original Date: 05/08/1995
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Best Practice : The Hornet Wire
At McDonnell Douglas Aerospace (MDA)-St. Louis, the Hornet Wire, an F/A-18 newsletter distributed daily through electronic mail, was created by the F/A-18 Leadership Team to address a problem with its communication process. Previously, other MDA publications were not distributed often enough to keep current with the growing program, or their focus was too wide to cover F/A-18 specific issues. The Leadership Team wanted a medium that could respond rapidly to new information, provide a means for open communication, and was F/A-18-specific. A daily electronic newsletter filled this gap in the communication process.
The Hornet Wire operates under a unique set of guidelines. It is the only publication at MDA-St. Louis that does not undergo an executive review before it is published which is attributable to the rapid turnaround time and the high level of trust MDA-St. Louis management has in the newspaper’s editors. Information published in the Hornet Wire is non-sensitive and suitable for wide distribution. The finalized newsletter is transmitted to readers through PROFS (MDA’s electronic mail system), VAX Computer, and the Integrated Management Information and Control System (IMICS).
Information for the newsletter is obtained from various sources. For example, the editor attends daily stand-up meetings. Guidelines state that if a comment is made at the daily stand-up meeting, and the editor of the newsletter is not specifically instructed to disregard it, the information can be printed. Conference calls with the Washington, DC F/A-18 office provide another source of information. The Hornet Wire editor also receives different publications, newspapers from different parts of the country, rewards and recognition data provided by Human Resources (HR), and news items from MDA-St. Louis employees.
Regular features in the newsletter include stock information about defense industry, flight/delivery status, leadership team reports, the Navy program manager’s reports, new business updates, press clips, information from the Fleet, recognition programs, upcoming events, visits, MDA-St. Louis press releases, public service announcements, and the “quote of the day.”
The Hornet Wire initiated distribution in January 1992 to 1100 e-mail accounts. The distribution list as of 1 April 1995 had increased to 2500 known e-mail accounts. Although the distribution originated in St. Louis, it has today expanded to other MDA-St. Louis program components, functional organizations, field offices, foreign offices in Europe and Asia, MDA-St. Louis suppliers, and the U.S. Navy.
Wire watching” has become popular among its readers with new e-mail addresses being added daily. The Hornet Wire has established itself as the most credible and timely source of information of F/A-18 news. Over the past three years, it has demonstrated that electronic media has the ability to enhance communications and information flowdown. Other MDC programs have established similar news services, using the Hornet Wire as a model.
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