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There will be fewer opportunities for airmen at Incirlik Air Base in Turkey to clip out a picture of themselves from the base newspaper in the coming months.

The Tip of the Sword newspaper isn’t going away entirely, but it’s shrinking considerably, according to 1st Lt. Rose Richeson of the base’s public affairs office. It was 16 pages a week in October, but shrinks to 12 this month, eight in December and four starting in January.

“That will be a newsletter to accompany our online site, which is Incirlik Today,” Richeson said.

Incirlik is among the first Air Force bases to make such a move. Richeson acknowledged that shrinking budgets and fewer personnel allotted to public affairs were contributing factors. It will cost about $27,000 less a year to produce 1,500 copies of the four-page edition than to produce the 16-page edition.

But she said she believes airmen at Incirlik also will benefit from more timely news.

She said those wanting information on a sporting event on base might have to wait a week for it to come out in the base paper. An article and photos could be posted online much quicker.

She said, for example, four articles were posted on the site (www.incirlik.af.mil) Thursday, and the site will feature about 10 new stories at a time, with older ones getting pushed to the archives.

“It’s an evolving Web site,” she said. “We’re adding bells and whistles to it almost every day.”

Richeson said the public affairs staff could experiment with a few unusual techniques, such as starting stories in the print edition and “jumping” them to the online edition to try to attract attention to the online version.

“We’re kind of a trial base,” she said. “We don’t have anyone else’s example to follow.”

A few other bases in the States already have decided to cut or reduce papers.

Capt. Jennifer Lovett, a public affairs officer with U.S. Air Forces in Europe, said other bases might decide to go in a similar direction. Or they might not.

“There’s no directive I’ve seen on what people have to do,” she said. “It’s up to the commanders. Commanders are going to decide the best ways to manage their people and programs.”

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Kent has filled numerous roles at Stars and Stripes including: copy editor, news editor, desk editor, reporter/photographer, web editor and overseas sports editor. Based at Aviano Air Base, Italy, he’s been TDY to countries such as Afghanistan Iraq, Kosovo and Bosnia. Born in California, he’s a 1988 graduate of Humboldt State University and has been a journalist for almost 38 years.
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