By C. Todd Lopez
WASHINGTON (April 25, 2017) -- For 66 years now, since the Korean War, the comic book-like "PS Magazine" has been published monthly to provide Soldiers with tips on maintaining their Army gear. This summer, the magazine will go digital only.
PS Magazine is available now in app form for both Android and Apple phones, said magazine editor Jonathan Pierce. The app first became available in June 2016 -- exactly 65 years after it was first published in print. The June 2017 edition of the magazine will be the last to be printed on paper. It'll be the 775th edition.
"We wanted to reach out to Soldiers who have grown up in a generation that is used to using mobile apps," Pierce said. "We wanted to extend the reach of the printed magazine and use the mobile app to reach this younger audience of Soldiers."
After trying out the app-version of the magazine, Pierce said, it was decided that eliminating the print version made sense.
"We have been pleased with what has happened with the mobile app," he said. "And the commanders involved have decided we can just go with the mobile app. So the decision was made to stop printing the magazine and rely entirely on the mobile app."
While Soldiers will still be able to download digital copies of the magazine from the PS Magazine website, accessing the content through the app will provide a much richer experience, Pierce said.
"What the mobile app does, is instead of being this 2D printed product, now we have a mobile app where we can add a video that will show a maintenance procedure, or add resource material that will for instance show sample preventive maintenance checks and services forms."
Other resource material can be linked to though the app as well, Pierce said, and the app also includes a search tool to find related material from past editions of PS Magazine.
"The app actually enables us to provide more information to Soldiers than we were able to do with the printed publication," he said. "The mobile app is really a fully functional tool that will provide much more than the printed publication could ever provide."
PS Magazine was first published June 1951, during the Korean War, to help Soldiers better maintain their equipment. Today, the magazine has a staff of six writers and three editors. Illustration for the magazine is done via contract.
To get ideas for the magazine, PS Magazine writers regularly travel to the field to meet with Soldiers.
"They will talk with people who are actually doing maintenance on their equipment," Pierce said. "They get them talking about what they are doing. And then it becomes a discussion of what problems have you had in the past? And from that discussion we gain these story ideas."
Then his team finds the answers to those problems through their own research, and generate stories for the magazine.
"If one Soldier has the problem, it's likely other Soldiers do too," he said.
Pierce said ideas for PS Magazine also come from Army lifecycle management commands such as Tank Automotive Command or Aviation and Missile Command, for instance.
Pierce said he expects that PS Magazine characters Master Sgt. Half-Mast, Connie Rodd and Bonnie will continue to provide preventive maintenance advice to Soldiers for years to come.
"I fully expect this thing will continue on for the foreseeable future," he said. "Because we are adding so many new features to what we are able to provide for Soldiers, I believe we will be around for a very long time. I think it's the right move. I think that we are really going to provide a better product for Soldiers and they'll enjoy and benefit from using it."
The PS Magazine app is available now at: