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The Military The Media United States

DoD News Aggregation Service "The Early Bird" Dead After 65 Years 25

SanDogWeps writes "Periodically viewed as copyright infringement by the media, the Department of Defense's 'Early Bird' has been delivering applicable headlines to the Armed Forces since 1948. It stopped updating on October 1st, along with a number of other government products, but when the lights turned back on, The Early Bird remained dark. A number of reasons have been floated, including applicability in the internet age, cost, and a lack of interest. Others claim The Early Bird was nothing more than a propaganda machine, by culling articles that painted DoD in a favorable light."
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DoD News Aggregation Service "The Early Bird" Dead After 65 Years

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  • ... Is Change and not always for the better

    • by INT_QRK ( 1043164 ) on Friday November 01, 2013 @07:45PM (#45306917)
      Re "others claim The Early Bird was nothing more than a propaganda machine, by culling articles that painted DoD in a favorable light": Anyone who actually read the Earlybird over the years would know that this statement is patently untrue, as the service would routinely would feature articles that were unfavorable. I always thought that the reason would have to be so that readers would be afforded visibility on the range of relevant signals in the air, including the good, the bad and ugly.
  • Anyone who believes (Score:5, Informative)

    by joshki ( 152061 ) on Friday November 01, 2013 @07:52PM (#45306987)

    that the Early Bird posted only articles that painted the DOD in a favorable light, has never read the Early Bird. And I say this as one who read the Early Bird for about the last decade and a half.

    • The fundamental problem is the illiterate SecDef.
    • Sorry, but I'd like to see at least some unsubstantiated arguments for your opinion. Proof of those would be even better, but this being slashdot, I'm not counting on much. A score 5 comment without anything but an opinion? C'mon mods, you're not even trying anymore....
      • by joshki ( 152061 )

        It's an expert opinion. You can easily go back and look at the editorials in the early bird as I have for a number of years. There's no attempt to mislead there, they put in both sides of the story.

  • Maybe the computer it was running on got a worm?

  • Now there'll be more worms for the rest of us..

  • I'm wondering if there's an equivalent replacement around, or if, more likely, deployed submariners and other DoD personnel with limited data access are just expected to suck it up and deal with the complete lack of off-hull news for months on end.
  • Great... my first cuppa read through of the overnight happenings is defunct and the first email I get is from the army times touting their "alternative". But why would we want the soldier caste to have a nonpartisan/independent run-down of the news? FML...

  • As a submariner.. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I'm greatly disappointed by this. I understand that my service, particularly on an SSBN, is one of the few remaining parts of the military without constant connectivity, but that hardly improves my mood. The Early Bird was the least biased and most lengthy of the small amounts of news that could occasionally make it across on the passive broadcast. I just hope not too much happens for the rest of the year.
    • by FPhlyer ( 14433 )

      When I did public affairs on surface ships we would get a daily news feed (not the Early Bird) in daily message traffic that provided news from the AP Wire that was considerably more well-rounded then the DoD-specific news in the Early Bird. You don't get that under the sea?

  • 3 people did it (Score:5, Informative)

    by Animats ( 122034 ) on Saturday November 02, 2013 @12:45AM (#45308991) Homepage

    In the paper era, the Early Bird had a little printing plant. By the end, it was down to 3 people and a Cold Fusion template.

    It was never for DoD PR. It was more about pulling rather obscure stories, often about DoD procurement or administration, into a brief summary for DoD managers. Something like "Gen. Smith takes command of USARPAC" barely rates notice in the civilian press, but it's a big deal in the Army.

The unfacts, did we have them, are too imprecisely few to warrant our certitude.