Leadership: Sending the Base Newspaper to eBay


January2, 2007: Once more, the U.S. Air Force leads the way. Air force bases are beginning to scrap a century old tradition; the base newspaper. These weeklies are almost standard on military bases, mainly as a vehicle for getting out information of use to all those who live or work on the base. There are administrative announcements, as well as social ones. The base newspapers served a morale function, as well as a practical one. But the news papers cost money, some $3,000-$5,000 a week. The papers were distributed for free, and now some air force bases are dropping the papers, and just putting out all the information on the base web site. All bases now have web sites, and troops, especially younger ones, find these more useful than newspapers. Surveys indicate that most junior troops don't even read newspapers (nor do their civilian peers). But all these young troops rely on the web for news, and other information. The troops also note that, when they are deployed overseas, or just away from the base for a few days, they only way to stay in touch with what's happening on the base is via the web site.

Since September 11, 2001, and more troops going overseas, often into harms way, the web has become the principal means of getting, and giving information. Base web sites became parts of this information network, and soon people began to notice that they were reading the base newspaper less, and the base web site more often.

So if you have a copy of a base newspaper handy, tuck it away in plastic wrap, as these publications are rapidly becoming historical artifacts. Then might be worth something on eBay in a few years.


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