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F e a t u r e s All Good Things


Must Come to an End  A


ndrew Wise, former editor of RAF News, shares a few thoughts as he leaves the


newspaper after 13 years.


All good things must come to an end, they say...and, for me, that was certainly true earlier this year when my 22-year association with the RAF came to its end.


The last 13 or so years I have spent at


RAF News –11 of them as editor (the longest serving in the paper’s 47-year history, but more of that a bit later).


Relocation of RAF News to Headquarters Air Command at RAF High Wycombe meant it was time to look for pastures new, and there was a touch of sadness as the last pages for my final edition went ‘down the wire’ to the printers in Portsmouth.


As well as the inevitable tears (I said I wouldn’t cry, but I got some dust in my eyes when clearing out the archives, honest!), there was also a feeling of pride in a job pretty well done.


During my reign, the RAF News team took the paper forward in many areas: editorially, commercially and in circulation.


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10 Spring 2008


We always pushed hard to represent the interests of the extended RAF ‘family’ who we hoped would find something of interest in our pages. Our mantra and motto was “the newspaper about the RAF, for the RAF”. We tried to improve the topicality and design, ensuring that it was the local newspaper for the service and the serviceman and woman.


Others will judge whether we achieved that, but if I may be forgiven just a little trumpet blowing, RAF News has won 22 awards from external communications organisations in the last seven years – a pretty good record, I think.


RAF News remains essentially a means of communication – two-way communication – for the RAF family and we certainly managed to raise any number of issues which will be all-too familiar to those who read this magazine.


We carried many letters on problems with finding an NHS dentist, the poor standard of quarters, problems with the repairs system, the quality of uniforms and many others. Perhaps the biggest postbags in recent times have surrounded the problems with Joint Personnel Administration (pages and


pages of them!) and the revised allowances package. RAF News can’t claim to have come up with an answer to any of these difficulties; that, of course, would be way outside both our remit and abilities. But at least the paper gave anyone serving, retired or family member the opportunity to bring those issues to a wider audience and, most importantly, the ‘management’.


So who is this ‘RAF family’ that I’m banging on about? (And someone asked me that very question last week, so this answer is fairly well rehearsed!) I always said we were producing the paper for those IN the RAF; the families of those IN the RAF; those who used to be IN the RAF; those who would like to be IN the RAF; and those who are IN-terested in the RAF.


I can’t let this opportunity pass without saying a few thank yous, especially to everyone who worked at RAF News from the mid-90s onwards; we couldn’t have done it without any of you. To anyone who bothered to call, write in, e-mail, send us a picture, looked after us on station visits or overseas deployments, subscribed, read the paper regularly or even just flicked through a copy occasionally: cheers.


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