Stop the presses: Academy Spirit to transition to online format

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- The Air Force Academy's weekly newspaper, the Academy Spirit, will transition to a fully digital format in June. The next edition, scheduled to hit the racks May 28 before the cadet graduation ceremony, is the final print edition.

The decision to stop the presses was made by senior officials at the Air Force Academy and our publisher, the Colorado Springs Gazette. In a world of plummeting print readership, newspapers are rarely economically viable as more and more readers get their news online.

Public affairs offices across the Defense Department are leaning more and more on the Internet to file their news stories. Like the civilian sector, the DOD has embraced social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to share its stories.

While some will miss the Academy Spirit, statistics show most people don't read newspapers - they get their news online and through social media platforms. This change will allow your public affairs staff to better use our most popular news sources: the Academy's news website, www.usafa.af.mil, Facebook and Twitter.

On average, the Academy's news website receives about 10,000 visits weekly. Our print contractors provided about 6,000 copies of the Academy Spirit to the Academy, but most people were not reading the newspaper. Moreover, cadets were not reading the Academy Spirit as they rely on social media to get information.

Academy readers who prefer newsprint to the virtual world will still get their news. In fact, they will get more news, as stopping production of the Academy Spirit newspaper will give public affairs staff members time to write more stories and improve our social media processes. We're also designing on an easy-to-use weekly online product to send to our audiences across the world, which will consolidate and contain all the stories you've come to expect in print form and more. You might find yourself enjoying the convenience of having all your Academy news at the click of a button. You might also find yourself getting more than you ever expected when it comes to the amount of stories or the quality of news stories we're able to produce now that we've modernized our processes to better serve the Academy and our global audience.