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Fort Lee's 80-year-old base newspaper ceases publication this week

The front page of the Fort Lee Traveller from Jan. 21, 2021. After eight decades in existence, the post newspaper will stop production on Thursday.

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By BILL ATKINSON | The Progress-Index, Petersburg, Va. | Published: January 25, 2021

FORT LEE, Va. (Tribune News Service) — After eight decades, the post newspaper is riding off into the sunset, but Fort Lee officials say that should not be seen as an obituary for news and information delivery from the Prince George County installation.

The Fort Lee Traveller's last edition will be Thursday, Jan. 28, according to Stephen Baker, Fort Lee's public affairs officer. A lack of advertising sales due to the spread of COVID-19 was one of the official reasons listed for the decision to stop publication, but it also is a reflection of how the traditional print newspaper has fared as newer and faster ways to disseminate news have developed.

Since 2017, Gannett Co. Inc. — the parent company of The Progress-Index — has printed the weekly newspaper, which was produced and edited by the Fort Lee Public Affairs Office.

Its last printed edition will go out Jan. 28. The website fortleetraveller.com is also being discontinued.

“We know this announcement will disappoint many loyal readers who counted on the Traveller week after week for Army news and information,” Baker said in a statement released by Fort Lee. “For my team, it represents the end of an iconic publication that has served this installation for a little over 80 years (starting out as the Camp Lee Sentinel). The Traveller endured when so many other military newspapers across the force went away in the past decade. It was part of the fabric of Fort Lee.”en wor

In its place is Fort Lee News, an online portal that was launched late last summer. Baker said FLN will provide the same news and information that the Traveller did for the past 80 years.

Baker said once the new digital link was up and running, Fort Lee made the decision to stop printing the newspaper.

The name of the newspaper — Traveller — was a nod to the name of the horse owned by Gen. Rober E. Lee, for whom Fort Lee is named.

“This new development should not be interpreted as a loss of Public Affairs support to the greater Fort Lee community,” Baker said in the statement. “We’re looking at it as an opportunity to tell our story in a whole new way – one that capitalizes on digital media venues that are more popular among today’s consumers of news.

“We’re simply closing the chapter on the post newspaper being the ‘center of our universe’ for Fort Lee news. The new vision is to tell the story in bigger, better, faster and more contemporary ways.”

batkinson@progress-index.com

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