Border Eagle retires after nearly 55 years
By Col. Edward M. Minahan, 47th FTW Wing commander
/ Published December 18, 2006
LAUGHLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --
For almost 55 years, members of Team XL have gotten their news on a weekly basis in the form of the print newspaper the Border Eagle; and up until now, the newspaper has been my primary means of communicating with you. However, with today's final edition of the Border Eagle, my new primary outlet for you to receive news and other important information is through the World Wide Web.
Laughlin is not alone in this transition; in fact, we are among the first bases Air Force-wide to complete the move to an online news service. Eventually, all Air Force news will be online and accessible to friends and family no matter where they are.
The Air Force's idea to take our news to the web was driven by two major factors: cost effectiveness and readership. Our newspaper staff spends about 80 percent of their work time laying out the newspaper, which limits their available time to find and write the stories in the first place. By taking the news online and cutting the layout process, they can concentrate their efforts on researching and writing more and better stories, ultimately increasing their productivity and coverage of you.
Second, recent studies show somewhere near 80 percent of Americans nowadays prefer to read their news online where they can simply click on a story or photo and have the desired information immediately. The intent of the newspaper is to tell the Laughlin and Air Force story, and being posted online, that story can be read by anyone with access to a computer almost immediately after the story happens.
Switching from a paper to an electronic delivery method ensures important messages can reach their intended audiences almost immediately. As long as it takes for our public affairs journalists to research a topic, write an article and post it to Laughlin's web page will be the length of time you have to wait to read the news. It's as close to real time as it gets and much quicker than having to wait until next Friday.
From this point on, news will be just that: news. Gone will be the days when you had to wait almost a week to find out what's happening in your base community. A photo taken of an event early in the morning can be online and on the way to friends and families before lunch.
Understandably, some still enjoy having a paper in their hands to read while waiting at the clinic or customer service. With that in mind, the Del Rio News-Herald will continue to publish a weekly newspaper, the Laughlin Herald, and deliver it to the base. It will still contain news and features from around Laughlin, Air Education and Training Command, and the Air Force as a whole. However, the public affairs office here will no longer have editorial control over the paper. The News-Herald has committed to continue to provide Air Force content, free classified ads and community happenings for Laughlin members in just as professional a manner as you've come to expect from our PA shop here and deliver a quality product.
In a time when most of the world gets its news online, it only makes sense that we as an Air Force evolve and make the transition to best support our members. The job of our public affairs professionals is to tell the Laughlin, AETC and Air Force story, and I'm confident they will continue and even improve through this new efficiency.