Stop the Presses! Eglin Eagle bids farewell, welcomes Internet age
By 1st Lt. Kristen D. Duncan, 96th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
/ Published January 22, 2007
EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --
Welcome to the internet age -- where news is transmitted instantaneously real world -- and say goodbye to the Eglin Eagle's print edition. It's information at your fingertips via a mouse instead of newsprint.
The Eglin Eagle is transitioning to a Web-based new service and retiring its 65-year run as the official base newspaper here.
"Manpower and budget cutbacks are definite challenges in today's Air Force, and public affairs is not exempt from these challenges," said Col. Dean Clemons, 96th Air Base Wing commander. "This year, the 96th ABW public affairs office will undergo an approximate 50 percent manpower reduction by April 2007. This meant making tough decisions on how to continue doing business. I believe the transition from a hardcopy newspaper to a Web-based format is an innovative way to mission accomplishment, while alleviating the burden on a smaller workforce."
"A Web-based information-delivery system provides a number of benefits," said Col. Michelle Johnson, director of Air Force Public Affairs. Among the benefits: posting news releases in real time; providing access to home-station news from deployed locations and using the same delivery system at home and while deployed.
Originally named the Eglin Eagle, the first issue was printed in December, 1941. The newspaper temporarily took the name Command Courier for the Air Proving Ground Command November, 1946 to December, 1957, but the name Eglin Eagle returned January 1958.
Eglin, command and Air Force news will be transmitted via the internet on the updated Eglin public Web page, www.eglin.af.mil beginning this week, transitioning to a completely Web-based news service by the March 2. The last issue of the Eglin Eagle is planned for February 23. Team Eglin will still get news briefs information via the Eglin Official Bulletin, the commander's access line, through e-mail and base events from the 96th Services Squadron.
"The beauty of base-level online news is the timeliness and worldwide accessibility of information," said Chief Master Sgt. Janice Conner, the Air Force Public Affairs enlisted career field manager. "Combine the ability to merge the multimedia capabilities of photographs, streaming video, audio news and features, plus graphics and links to other Air Force features, and we have a true multimedia experience all in one source -- the wing commander's No. 1 internal-information tool."
The new Web based news will require readers to log on to the Internet and visit the Eglin home page (www.eglin.af.mil), and actually pull the information off the Web. Once there, the most up-to-date news and photographs will be available for viewing. Other information on the Web site will be unit fact sheets, leadership biographies, newcomers and retiree information and even a link to base services.
Visitors to the Eglin home page will notice a new look thanks to an Air Force public affairs initiative, establishing a global network for all the local-base public pages.
The Air Force Public Web Program target is to have all Air Force base sites migrated to the new format by the summer of 2008.
The Eagle staff will continue to take submissions for the public Web, and they are counting on units to highlight their missions through their stories.
Submissions can still be emailed to the Eglin Eagle inbox at email@example.com. Due to manpower constraints, submission deadlines will remain the same. But remember: the information will be broadcast to the world, so extra security awareness is a must, and submissions will require public affairs approval.
The local publisher will be meeting with base leadership in the next few weeks to consider a print newspaper with a military tie where members can continue to publish classified advertising. Information would be taken off Eglin's public Web site, but nothing has been finalized.
Secretary of the Air Force Michael W. Wynne and other senior leaders are making their point clear -- the Air Force story isn't being told enough and the new Web based news system will provide even timelier information to the American public.
"Our Air Force is counting on you to communicate your story like no one else can," Secretary Wynne said in his Aug. 7, 2006 Letter to Airmen: Every Airman is a Communicator.
The Eglin Eagle agrees and will ensure Team Eglin is aware of base happenings -- just through a new format.