Among operations the Pentagon is eyeing in efforts to cut its overall budget: stopping the presses of Stars and Stripes, a newspaper that made its debut in 1861 during the Civil War and since World War I has been eagerly read mainly by military personnel around the world, reports Grumpy Editor.
The daily newspaper, receiving a slim $7.8 million Defense Department subsidy for 2014, doesn’t make much of a dent in the Pentagon’s overall budget with defense spending this year passing the $700 billion mark. But the Pentagon next year faces a $52 billion cut from planned spending levels and every one of its operations is being scrutinized.
(Yet, budget-cutting Pentagon still has a fat checkbook. An Associated Press story over the weekend reports the Pentagon is buying more than five dozen Russian-made Mi-17 helicopters to outfit Afghanistan’s security forces. Price tag: more than $1 billion.)
Stars and Stripes generates a good chunk of its budget internally via advertising, sales and special issues on education, insurance, retirement planning and travel.
Over the years, Stars and Stripes provides an editorially independent voice to its readers, now numbering about 200,000. That’s down from its peak of more than one million during World War II but today the newspaper is seeing a growing online presence.
The publication maintains news bureaus in Europe, the Pacific and the Middle East to provide first-hand reporting on events in those theaters. In addition to news and sports, its contents contain all the elements of an American hometown paper. That includes comics, puzzles and entertainment stories.
Stars and Stripes got its start when 10 Union soldiers utilized the abandoned newspaper office of the Bloomfield (Mo.) Herald. (Returning to its roots, The Stars and Stripes Museum/Library is located in that city.)
At one point, the newspaper had 25 publishing locations in Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and the Pacific.
The number of editions touched 35 during World War II, with up to 24 adless pages per issue. Pacific editions, also without ads, started in 1945. Stars and Stripes has since been a prime source of daily information for U.S. forces from the Korean War, Vietnam War, Persian Gulf War to Iraq and Afghanistan.
While in past years most staffers wore U.S. military uniforms representing Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force, today its publisher and most of its employees are civilians.
In case you missed these…
Associated Press transmitted one of its rare “flashes” to announce Nelson Mandela’s death…TV news channels were excited when a vehicle transporting radioactive isotope cobalt-60 was hijacked near Mexico City. “It may be headed toward the U.S. border,” they promptly exclaimed, hinting about a possible sinister purpose. But the vehicle and its lethal contents were found two days later near the stolen site…The New York Times ran a long piece on restaurants, mentioning No. 66 opening in an upscale eatery area --- in far-off New Orleans…Look for a weekly print version (which ceased last year) of Newsweek to reappear next month or in February…It didn’t get the super national coverage that recent happenings of Toronto’s mayor Rob Ford received, but Statesboro (Ga.) Herald business editor Jan Moore was elected mayor of Statesboro, Bulloch County’s largest city, with a population of about 30,000…Big radio buzz in Southern California talk radio has Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck and Clark Howard moving to KTLK, Los Angeles, next month. Meanwhile, booming KFI, Los Angeles, goes all local with live chatter…TV and radio news continues to drop everything to air released audio recordings, such as 911 calls, of major past events. Last week the focus was on year-old 911 calls from the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in Newtown, Conn. After the airing, legal analyst Mark Geragos said the decision to air the recordings was wrong. “Other than pure titillation, I don’t see any public interest served by this whatsoever,” he said.
A (huh?) report from the Federal Reserve last week noted the U.S. economy in recent months expanded at a “modest to moderate” pace. Now, that’s a precise, nifty indicator.