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DoD 'Early Bird' news summary still shut down, fate uncertain

Oct. 23, 2013 - 06:00AM   |  
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The Early Bird, the Defense Department’s widely read summary of daily news reports, has been suspended pending an internal review.

The influential list of news stories and links compiled by the Pentagon’s public affairs office was halted following the government shutdown on Oct. 1 and has not relaunched since the Pentagon resumed routine operations on Oct 17.

The Defense Department’s public affairs directorate is “assessing the information products we provide to the department’s senior leadership,” said Army Col. Steven Warren, a Pentagon spokesman.

The Early Bird has been published daily for years as a way to keep the military’s senior leaders, rank-and-file troops and civilian employees apprised of the latest news coverage on matters affecting the Defense Department. The Military Times has begun producing its own daily summary of defense-related news reports that is distributed to subscribers.

DoD’s public affairs division is facing the same across-the-board budget cuts that are affecting all aspects of military operations.

For years, news organizations have complained that the Early Bird was distributing content in violation of copyright laws and depriving publishers of potentially thousands of paid readers and website visitors.

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