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SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — The Sasebo Soundings newspaper, a longtime weekly source of command and community information at this base in southern Japan, is transforming into an online publication this fall.

The newspaper’s printing contract expires at the end of September, and officials plan to launch online in October, said base spokesman Charles T. Howard.

“This decision has several benefits … one is that we’re turning a weekly publication into a daily. When we have information to publish, we can get it out right then, any day, any time, without waiting for printing,” Howard said.

Sasebo’s newspaper was founded by a Navy spouse on Nov. 28, 1958, and was a nameless publication for the first three issues, according to base historian Phil Eakins.

“Then it took on the name Sase Bowl News,” he said.

“It was completely edited and operated by Navy wives until the early 1970s, when Navy journalists took over.”

After a couple of years, it became the Sasebowl News, then Soundings and, finally, Sasebo Soundings, Eakins said.

The base headquarters burned in 1999, sending archived base newspapers up in smoke, but the online version will include searchable archives “going back as far as we can to access anything and everything,” Eakins said.

Sasebo Soundings online will be accessible from Sasebo Naval Base’s Web site at www.sasebo.navy.mil, Howard said.

The site plans to encourage reader interaction, including “ways to gather feedback on the Web, such as story ideas and even volunteer contributions,” Howard said. Plans for multimedia features also are in the works, he said.

The site also is slated to have information of interest to Japanese employees posted in Japanese as well as English, he said.


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