Back to News Front

What's with these papers?

An explanation of recent changes to The Ranger and Northwest Airlifter

Email Article Print Article Share on Facebook Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon

The Ranger Publishing Company has undergone some recent changes that warrant a little explanation.  They make sense to us at the newspaper company, and hopefully they have been a welcome sight to our readers.  But, first, a brief explanation of our organization.

Merritt Benson, then a communications professor at the University of Washington, founded the company in 1951. Benson published The Ranger beginning January 4, 1951 in partnership with the Department of Defense.  My family took over operations of the paper in the late 1960's, and my father, Tom Swarner, purchased the company in 1971.  In 1980, we partnered with McChord Air Force Base to publish the NW Airlifter, and in 1990, we went independent with The Ranger.  In 2002, after several other iterations, we presented the Weekly Volcano as our arts and entertainment section. Finally, when Joint Base Lewis-McChord was established, we took the Airlifter independent as well.

We thought at the time that would be our last major change.  Then, a few years later, the Department of Defense called, asking if we'd be their partner in publishing a South Sound edition of Stars and Stripes.  This DoD written product debuted during the Civil War, and has been a daily newspaper overseas since the early 1950's.  In 2010, a weekly feature paper was established, and we are proud to provide that each week inside our papers with national and international military news for our readers.  Last October, we started delivering that same product in and around Naval Base Kitsap.

And we have done this with a small staff of 10 full-time people.  During this process my father retired, and my brother, Ron and I, purchased the business from him in 2006.  Last month, my brother also retired, and I am now sole owner of our operation.

Today, our company is a multi-media organization extending beyond print newspapers.  We also produce 15+ free military support events a year, deliver both a website ( and a digital monthly military magazine, Spouse.  We send out a weekly e-mail blast packed with military discounts and specials (JaBLAM at JBLM and Ahoy! At Naval Base Kitsap), and we operate six Facebook pages, two Twitter sites, a Pinterest page and Instagram feed.

And, again, that felt like enough.  The changes were in place, and we were solid.  Except, in the end, we made a few more changes that needed to be made.

For JBLM's housing, we now publish a weekly newspaper titled JBLM Living.  When the joint base was established, airmen and soldiers no longer lived exclusively on their traditional sides of the base.  Today, soldiers may be housed on McChord Field, and airmen on what was once Fort Lewis.  This causes confusion for us to know which paper, The Ranger or Northwest Airlifter, to deliver to each home.  Therefore, starting last month, we finally decided to provide all 6000+ homes on base, through the U.S. Postal Mail, JBLM Living.  This allows us to target stories specific to living on base, and no longer are the brands we deliver confusing to the occupant.

The next change we made was adding a second section wrap around Stars and Stripes called Northwest Military.  As we have expanded into Kitsap County, there's been a need for local and regional military coverage, including bringing more Navy news to the entire region. Northwest Military is just that, a weekly section that helps us all see the larger military picture here in the Northwest.

We hope you have enjoyed these changes.  To stay in touch with us, and all of our products, I recommend friending us on Facebook at either JBLM Families or Northwest Military.  Both sites will explain when our next free events are, plus connect you with military discounts in the area.

Thanks for reading. If you have any suggestions, story ideas or more, feel free to email me at

Read next close


Taqueria El Antojo

comments powered by Disqus