Center for Strategic Communication

The recent government shut down has apparently sealed the fate of the Pentagon’s “Early Bird,” a daily early-morning collection of news stories circulated to the defense community.

Foreign Policy reported:

The Early Bird, the compendium of news stories distributed each day to DOD officials, other government officials and journalists since 1948, is gone, Situation Report has learned. The Bird, which had ceased publication due to the shutdown, never made a comeback after the government opened…

…The Bird, which had an audience of 1.5 million each month, had grown too big, was too dated – simply providing a daily snapshot at 5:40 a.m. each day when it arrived by e-mail.

Certainly, the Early Bird is a loss to the officials that used it to prime themselves on the issues of the day as they were bring portrayed by the media. Its influence was profound, as the New York Times reports:

The three dozen or so news and opinion articles that made the Early Bird’s daily cut became must-reads at first light for Pentagon civilian employees and military personnel, as well as for members of the executive branch, Congress, the defense industry, research groups, academia and the news media.

It had enormous clout, with defense secretaries known to thunder at subordinates after reading an unexpected morning dispatch.

As the Early Bird’s replacement is projected to have significantly smaller readership at first, to about 300, people are likely to be searching for alternatives.

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