Mass communication specialist

Mass Communication Specialist

Rating insignia
Issued by United States Navy
Type Enlisted rating
Abbreviation MC
Specialty Public Affairs and Visual Communication

Mass Communication Specialist (abbreviated as MC) is a United States Navy occupational rating. MCs serve aboard ships, in expeditionary units and at shore commands in the United States and overseas. They serve as Navy storytellers to support public affairs and provide operational support to unit commanders. Mass Communication Specialists are the Navy’s content producers. They are content writers, photographers, multimedia storytellers, and graphic designers. They are trained to produce content to support Public Affairs and operational support missions. Navy MCs also serve as enlisted public affairs officers, advisors, and support Operational Commanders' visual information and content production requirements.


A pair of mass communication specialists interviewing the American ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago, Roy Austin, September 2007

The Navy MC rating was established on July 1, 2006 when the Illustrator Draftsman, Journalist, Lithographer and Photographers Mate ratings merged. The merge of the four legacy ratings was announced by the Chief of Naval Operations in NAVADMIN 339/05.[1] The legacy ratings were merged to improve efficiency, support optimal manning, and better align the rating with commercial industry practices.

MC Legacy Ratings

Illustrator Draftsman (DM). The Draftsman rating was established in 1948 from the ratings of Carpenter’s Mate (CB) (Draftsman), Electrician’s Mate (CB) (Draftsman), Shipfitter (CS) (Mechanical Draftsmen), Specialist (X) (Engineering Draftsman), Specialist (X) (Topographic Draftsman), Specialist (X) (Cartographers), and Specialist (P) (Photogrammetry). The Draftsman rating was changed to Illustrator Draftsman in 1959.

Journalist (JO). The Journalist rating was established in 1948 from the ratings of Specialist (X) (Journalists), Specialist (X) (Naval Correspondents), and Specialist (X) (Public Information).

Lithographer (LI). The Lithographer rating was established in 1948 from the ratings of Specialist (P) (Photographic Specialists), Printer, Printer (L) (Lithographers), and Printer (M) (Offset Process).

Photographer’s Mate (PH). The Photographer rating was established in 1921 and was changed to Photographer’s Mate in 1942. Photographer’s Mate split into Photographer’s Mate and Aviation Photographer’s Mate in 1948 and then combined as Photographer’s Mate in 1952.

Mass Communication Specialist Career Info

Most Navy MCs are recruited into the rating; attend boot camp at Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes, Illinois; and report to the Defense Information School at Ft. Meade, Maryland for the six-month Basic Mass Communication Specialist Course.

Depending on MC manning throughout the Fleet, Professional Apprentice Career Track (PACT) Sailors may have limited opportunities to become an MC through on-the-job training, submission of a well-rounded MC portfolio and a published rating entry designation quota.

There also may be limited opportunities for Sailors in overmanned ratings to cross- rate into the MC rating using Career Waypoints. Career Waypoints is the Navy’s long-term force management tool, balancing enlisted manning through the Navy-wide control of reenlistment and enlistment contract extension quotas. View the Navy Personnel Command’s Career Waypoints page on[2]


The Navy Enlisted Classification (NEC) system supports the enlisted rating structure in identifying personnel and billets in manpower authorizations. NEC codes identify a non-rating wide skill, knowledge, aptitude, or qualification that must be documented to identify both people and billets for management purposes. The most current information regarding NECs can be found in the Navy NEOCS Manual.

There are 15 MC-related NECs.[3]

3251 - Broadcast Operations Director (DINFOS: Broadcast Management Course)

5345 - SCUBA Diver (Navy Diving and Salvage Training Center: SCUBA Diver Course)

8142 – Broadcast Reporter (DINFOS: Advanced Electronic Journalism Course)

8143 – Multimedia Cameraman (DINFOS: Intermediate Videography Course)

8144 – Multimedia Director/Producer (Advanced Visual Journalism Program (Syracuse))

8145 – Content Manager (DINFOS: Content Management Course)

8147 – Photojournalism Journeyman (DINFOS: Intermediate Photography Course)

8148 – Master Photojournalist (Advanced Visual Journalism Program (Syracuse))

8150 – Broadcaster (DINFOS: Broadcast Communication Specialist Course)

8151 – Graphic Illustrator Journeyman (DINFOS: Digital Multimedia Course)

8152 – Public Affairs Officer (Enlisted) (DINFOS: Joint Intermediate Public Affairs Course)

8153 – Public Affairs Supervisor (DINFOS: PA Qualification Course)

8154 – Senior Enlisted Public Affairs Advisor (DINFOS: Joint Senior Public Affairs Course)

8193 – Graphic Illustrator Apprentice (DINFOS: Basic Multimedia Illustrator Course)

8288 – Aerial Cameraman (Naval Aircrew Candidate School)


  1. "Chief of Naval Operations announces establishment of MC Rating".
  2. "Career Waypoints web page".
  3. "Navy NEOCS Manual".

See also

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