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Print to Digital: Citizen Airman gradually transitioning to online-only format

  • Published
  • By Bo Joyner

In support of Air Force Reserve Command’s strategic priority to reform the organization, AFRC will gradually transition Citizen Airman magazine to an online-only format. 

Citizen Airman has been available in both print and on-line versions since 2005. Traditionally, the print version has been mailed to the homes of all Reserve Citizen Airmen on a bi-monthly basis. 

"Our plan is to continue to provide a print version of Citizen Airman as we eventually transition to an enhanced digital magazine," said Col. Eric Simon, AFRC's director of public affairs.

Simon said the plan for the enhanced digital version of Citizen Airman will eventually allow for stories micro-targeted at specific audiences, like Congressional members or Reservists in specific Air Force specialty codes, for example.

The colonel added that during the transition phase from print to digital, the print version will feature more "evergreen" feature stories, while the digital version will feature more timely, emerging stories.

“For more than 70 years, Reservists have looked to Citizen Airman magazine or its predecessors for critical command information and fascinating feature stories highlighting outstanding members of the Reserve Citizen Airman team,” said Lt. Gen. Richard Scobee, AFRC commander and chief of the Air Force Reserve. “As we transition from print to on-line, I look forward to continue reading about our outstanding Reservists in the digital version of Citizen Airman.”

The print version of Citizen Airman traces its roots all the way back to June 1949, when the Air Reserve Forces Review magazine debuted. This magazine kept not only Air Force Reservists informed, but also members of the Air National Guard, the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps, the Civil Air Patrol and Air Scouts of America. Circulation for the magazine was around 480,000 copies per issue.

Air Reserve Forces Review changed its name to The Air Reservist in 1952. The Air Reservist served both the Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard communities until 1986 when the magazine’s name was changed to Citizen Airman and the magazine narrowed its focus solely to Air Force Reservists.

"The information environment is constantly changing and we have to keep pace with those changes," Simon said. "Many people feel print is dead. It’s not, though it has shrunk considerably over the last 20 years. However, it has found a resurgence in many areas. 

"Let’s be honest, there’s just something about having that physical copy in your hands that digital can’t replace, but we’ll also build up our digital magazine over the next few months to make sure we can reach as many audiences as we can with great stories about our amazing Reserve Citizen Airmen. "

During the transition phase, the electronic bi-monthly version of Citizen Airman will continue to be produced and posted on the main AFRC web site, Readers can access the magazine directly by scanning the QR code on the back cover and on page 9 of this magazine or by going to