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No more base newspaper

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany -- Today's Eifel Times is the last issue people in the Eifel region will be able to physically enjoy, as all future articles, photos and community information will be available solely online. 

Many Air Force public affairs offices have already done away with actual newspapers and have gone straight to telling the Air Force story via the World Wide Web, and the 52nd Fighter Wing public affairs office will do just the same. They will continue to tell Air Force stories about the men and women serving at Spangdahlem and Bitburg Air Bases and throughout the Eifel region, but with an added benefit. 

"We have already begun transitioning to a Web-based product," said Capt. Michael Cumberworth, 52nd FW deputy chief of public affairs. "We have all the same information out on the Web site that is in the paper right now, including the movies, the Der Markt classified ads and other announcements such as sports and events for the community. 

"One of the main benefits is that it isn't going to be a weekly updated product like the newspaper is. We will be able to put things out there as they happen, so if a news story happens on a Wednesday, we'll be able to post it that same afternoon," Captain Cumberworth said. "People can go out and get up-to-date information throughout the week, rather than waiting until Friday for the newspaper to come out." 

One of the reasons for the end of Air Force newspapers is to save manpower. 

"We only have a limited number of people working on the staff and they spend a lot of their time dealing with the intricacies of the layout and working with the publisher, rather than being able to go out and write more stories about what people are doing around the base," the captain said. "So we are hoping that now they will have the opportunity to get out and about more to focus on tracking down the news and letting people know about what's going on." 

Another newspaper, with a new name, may appear in the coming months, but it will not be an official Air Force newspaper created by the public affairs office here. 

"We're looking into the possibility of a civilian contractor producing a weekly newspaper," said Capt. Diane Weed, 52nd FW chief of public affairs. "If that happens, the contractor would pull information from our Web site and produce a newspaper on their own. This is still in the works, but people should be aware that a new hard-copy newspaper might be available later this year." 

In the meantime, the public affairs office, as well as the wing commander, hope people will visit the Web site at www.spangdahlem.af.mil to see what's going on here and in the area. 

"Not having the Eifel Times will take some getting used to as we all have become accustomed to taking the paper with us wherever we go, enjoying the paper while waiting at the doctor's office or other customer service area locations on base," said Col. Darryl Roberson, 52nd FW commander. "The great thing is now we will have all this up-to-date information at our fingertips via the Web site where we can read about the hard work and amazing things our Sabers are doing day in and day out. And you can do this 24 hours a day, seven days a week, wherever you have internet access."

To view the video story, go to www.spangdahlem.af.mil/afn.asp and click on June 27, 2007.