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Shaw says goodbye to base newspaper

SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. -- The first newspaper published at Shaw, "The Shaw Field Flight-Line," began a 65-year tradition. At right is the last issue of "The Shaw Spirit." (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Holly MacDonald)

SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. -- The first newspaper published at Shaw, "The Shaw Field Flight-Line," began a 65-year tradition. At right is the last issue of "The Shaw Spirit." (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Holly MacDonald)

SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. -- After more than 65 years, the Feb. 9, 2007 issue is the last Air Force-produced newspaper for Shaw.

"These are the days of force shaping and Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st century. Moving news products online will increase information flow. Instead of waiting until a weekly paper is published, readers will get their news as it happens," said Col. Michael Byrne, 20th Fighter Wing vice commander.

During the past six decades Shaw has seen many changes in airframes and technology.

With those changes came mission changes and the way news is delivered is affected by those changes, Colonel Byrne said.

Shaw began producing news for its members with "Shaw Field Flight-Line" in 1942. The paper was called many names over the years including the "Recon Record," the "Jet Gazette" and finally in 1981 "The Shaw Spirit."

The Internet has made a 24-hour news cycle possible, which means people are now accustomed to getting their news faster.

After conducting readership surveys, panel discussions and gathering information from the "field," the Air Force decided to focus on delivering news online.

According to survey data, more Airmen get their news from the Internet than any other source, while base newspaper readership among junior enlisted members is at an all-time low of seven percent.

By logging on to Shaw's public Web page at www.shaw.af.mil, Airmen and retirees, no matter where they are, can access current news, features, commentaries, fact sheets, biographies and photos.

Transitioning to the Internet is in line with Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st century, according to Col. Michelle Johnson, director of Air Force Public Affairs, in a letter to commanders.

"Now more than ever, the public affairs career field needs to leverage technology and focus on key audiences, rather than continuing what have become unsustainable legacy processes," Colonel Johnson said in the letter.

"Web-based content provides a number of benefits, including allowing public affairs to re-focus the time spent on layout and design to more relevant and timely content. Material can be drafted, reviewed and posted the same day online vice the current average of four to nine days," she added.

Units members are encouraged to continue to contact public affairs with story ideas and photo opportunities that can be posted to the public Web site. E-mail should be sent to 20fwpublicweb@shaw.af.mil or call 895-2018.