After being in publication for 67 years, the Missile Ranger, the White Sands Missile Range weekly post newspaper, will no longer be distributed in hard copy format, but will be available in a digital format instead. The change will take place Jan. 26, when the last printed issue of the Missile Ranger will be distributed.
“The Missile Range has and will continue to serve as a necessary tool to keep our community informed,” said WSMR Chief of Staff Glen Adams. “The transition from a paper copy to a digital format is a sign of the times. Our community will now be able to get real-time information through social media and receive news articles directly after a major event happens as opposed to waiting for a weekly newspaper to come out,” Adams said.
“This transition will serve to benefit our community by getting timely news and information the way we need it and how we want it.”
The Public Affairs Office staff was informed late last year that Gannett Company Inc., the company that prints the Missile Ranger via the Las Cruces Sun-News and El Paso Times, was no longer able to support this Army Civilian Enterprise Newspaper agreement to print the Missile Ranger. The company was no longer able to honor the agreement due to the loss of advertising dollars with the decline of military troops on post, which was used as revenue to pay for printing the newspaper.
“Having worked on the Missile Ranger for so long, I am sad to see the end of its print days, but moving forward I see a lot of opportunity to bring more diverse content to our audience,” said WSMR’s Interim Chief of Public Affairs Drew Hamilton.
The Missile Ranger will make a transition to provide news to the community through several different venues and through several different formats. The PAO Missile Ranger staff will provide news to the community through the installation’s Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, and Pinterest page and a new Missile Ranger page within the wsmr.army.mil website at www.wsmr.army.mil/Ranger. The social media pages will be updated on a consecutive basis; Facebook will be updated daily, Twitter and the web page will be updated once an article becomes available, YouTube will be updated once a video product is complete and Flickr and Pinterest will be updated on a weekly basis.
News will be provided in new and different formats like live-feeds with real-time question and answer sessions, timely articles and photo albums for events like health fairs and the annual Safety-Stand Down.
However, articles will continue to be written, now in a timelier manner, and uploaded to the appropriate sites.
The change will allow the PAO staff to provide information to the public without having to wait for weekly newspaper publication deadlines.
This week’s articles will be posted to the current www.missileranger.com website until the link to the wsmr.army.mil is up and running.
A message will be posted on the installation’s Facebook page when the new link is up and running.
The first Missile Ranger was printed on March 16, 1950 under the name “Wind & Sand” with a welcome remark from Col. G. G. Eddy, the commanding officer at the time at what was known as White Sands Proving Ground. The newspaper continued to print for 70 volumes with several notable stories that included President John F. Kennedy’s visit to the installation in 1963, the landing of the Columbia space shuttle in 1982 and the Endeavour flyover in 2012.
The newspaper changed names to the Missile Ranger in 1969. The Missile Ranger received several recognitions and awards to include a first place award in 1999 from the U.S. Army Keith L. Ware annual awards for Civilian Enterprise Newspapers, a third place award in 2004 from the U.S. Army Keith L. Ware annual awards for Civilian Enterprise Newspapers and an honorable mention in 2004 for a tabloid newspaper submission.
Community members can browse through older issues of the Missile Ranger from 1950 to 1990 on www.wsmrhistoric.com. The website allows users to type in key words or lookup an issue by year or date. Users can choose between viewing the newspaper in low resolution, high resolution or flip format.
Due to a limited staff at the Public Affairs Office that may not be replenished in light of the recent hiring freeze announcement, and because more news will be covered in different formats, the Public Affairs Office is requesting unit representatives to become Unit Public Affairs Representatives in order to assist with coverage of on-post events. Coverage includes writing an article about an event or taking photos at the event, and providing captions for the photos and names of individuals in the photos. Anyone interested in being a UPAR must contact Jose Salazar at PAO by calling (575) 678-1134 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and to request a camera, if needed. Unit representatives interested in becoming a UPAR must fill out and sign a DD Form 3161. A camera with a media card will be loaned to the UPAR for the day of the event. Cameras are not allowed up-range and cameras with the media card and photos must be returned to PAO for Operational Security review. In addition, Salazar will provide a brief on the do’s and don’ts of photography on post.
For upcoming news information, visit our current newspaper site at www.missileranger.com or our social media sites at: www.facebook.com/WSMissileRange, www.twitter.com/WSMissileRange, www.flickr.com/whitesandsmissilerange, www.pinterest.com/wsmr and www.youtube.com/whitesandsmissilerangepao.