By Michelle L. Gordon
Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling Public Affairs
If you’re reading this story on a screen, not much is going to change for you, but if you’re reading an actual newspaper, then cherish this moment, because this is the last printed issue of the Joint Base Journal.
Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling news stories are not going away. We are just adjusting the way you receive them. Rather than print and distribute 7,000 copies of the Joint Base Journal each week, the stories will be released digitally on DVIDS (Defense Video Imagery Distribution System), and then shared to Facebook.
The idea to go completely digital has been floating around the JBAB Public Affairs Office for a while now. We weighed pros and cons and looked at it from every angle before making the final decision. Ultimately, it made the most sense, but the decision was still tough, especially considering the long history of printed media on this base.
The first issue of the Bolling Air Force Base newspaper was published Jan. 17, 1942. It was called the Bolling Beam, and it included hand-drawn artwork and six pages written on a typewriter and copied on a mimeograph. During the fall of 1949 the base public information office held a contest to rename the base paper. So for 14 weeks the newspaper was named with Greek letters along with the caption, “If it’s Greek to you, send a name to us.” Apparently none of the suggestions were good enough, because The Beam returned again in January 1950.
In July 1958, the Bolling Beam merged with Wings Over Washington — the Andrews Air Force Base newspaper. The paper became the Beam-Ambassador and it was on newsstands at both installations. The two bases shared a newspaper for five years. In November 1962, the association ended and both newspapers were once again published independently. The Bolling Beam once again returned.
The first issue of the Joint Base Journal was published Feb. 5, 2010 — back when JBAB wasn’t even in full operating capacity. Since that time, it has been on newsstands for 323 weeks. So why did we decide to stop publishing the base newspaper just two months shy of the 75th anniversary of the first issue? Surprisingly the answer is not money. Rather, it’s timeliness.
It’s no secret that the world we live in revolves around 24-hour news, social media and trending topics. It doesn’t stop and wait for the publishing deadline of a weekly newspaper. Stories are old by the time we are able to get them in a physical newspaper. If events happen after Wednesday they are too late to make it in the current week’s newspaper. With our instant communication world, where news is always at our fingertips, or rather our thumb, we need the immediacy that only digital can provide.
If you’ve been a dedicated reader of the hardcopy version of the Bolling Beam, the Beam-Ambassador, and/or the Joint Base Journal, I thank you for your readership and I hope you will join us online. We will continue to publish news stories to the base Facebook page, www.facebook.com/jbabdc. If you want to go direct to DVIDS, we welcome you there too, https://dvidshub.net/jbab.
We look forward to many more years of publishing new stories and highlighting the good work of our community here on Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling.