Thomas J. Brennan
Founder and Publisher
Thomas J. Brennan is the founder of The War Horse. Thomas' passion in writing is exploring war, trauma, and loss. Prior to studying at Columbia University, he was a sergeant in the Marine Corps and served in Iraq and Afghanistan as an infantryman. He was awarded a Purple Heart and is the recipient of the 2014 American Legion Fourth Estate Award and an Honorable Mention at the 2013 Dart Awards for his reporting with both the New York Times and The Daily News in Jacksonville, North Carolina. Thomas is also co-writing a book, "Shooting Ghosts," which will be published in 2017 through the Viking imprint of Penguin/Random House. Read my work with the New York Times.
Read a promise from our founder.
Katie Perez studied Nonprofit Management at Northeastern University where she matriculated with her Master’s Degree. Prior to Northeastern, she studied at Roger Williams University. Katie’s passion for work focused on veteran and military affairs stems from her nine years of military service as a U.S. Navy Hospital Corpsman. During her time in uniform, she treated patients in a hospital setting, deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, treated detainees at Marine Corps Base Quantico Brig, and also served as a Command Career Counselor. As a military spouse Katie continues to volunteer with organizations that support veterans and military families. As a Grants Manager for The War Horse Katie brings a unique perspective, drawn from her experiences both as a veteran and as a writer for nonprofits.
Advisor on Whistleblower Protection
Daniel Ellsberg is probably best known for his 1971 role in disclosing the previously secret Pentagon Papers, which revealed the true story of U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. A Harvard PhD in Economics and former U.S. Marine Corps rifle company commander, he worked at the Pentagon, White House, State Department and the Rand Corporation before he became disillusioned with the U.S.’s role in Vietnam.
Since the end of the Vietnam War, Ellsberg has been a lecturer, writer and activist on the dangers of the nuclear era, wrongful U.S. interventions and the urgent need for patriotic whistleblowing. He is a Senior Fellow of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation.
Ellsberg is the author of three books: “Papers on the War” (1971); “Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers” (2002); and “Risk, Ambiguity and Decision” (2001). In December 2006 he was awarded the Right Livelihood Award, known as the “Alternative Nobel Prize,” in Stockholm, Sweden, “… for putting peace and truth first, at considerable personal risk, and dedicating his life to inspiring others to follow his example.”
Advisor on Ethics & Standards
Bruce Shapiro is the director of the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism where he is also a professor of journalism ethics and is the school's Senior Advisor for Academic Affairs. Bruce has directed the Dart Center since 2006 and is the recipient of the Public Advocacy Award from the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies for his work advocating for ethical and responsible trauma reporting as a global practice. He has taught investigative journalism at Yale University and is a contributing editor at The Nation. Bruce's personal and professional experiences with trauma reporting will bring a degree of clarity and responsibility in journalism beyond reproach. Bruce will serve as a member of The War Horse advisory team, auditing our adherence to ethical journalism practices.
Advisor on Immersive Storytelling
Karen Stabiner is the author of the upcoming "Generation Chef," which chronicles a year in the life of a young chef as he opens his first restaurant. Her most recent book, "Family Table," is a cookbook-with-narrative about backstage life at a group of New York City restaurants. Her nine previous books include "To Dance With The Devil: The New War on Breast Cancer," a New York Times Notable Book, and her personal favorite, "My Girl: Adventures With a Teen in Training." Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, the Columbia Journalism Review, and other national publications. Karen teaches Feature Writing at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism and brings with her years of experience in vivid storytelling.
Advisor on Investigative Journalism
Kevin Cullen is a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and columnist at The Boston Globe. Kevin was a member of the 2003 investigative team that won the Pulitzer for coverage of the Catholic Church's sexual abuse scandal. He is the co-author of the New York Times best-seller, "Whitey Bulger: America's Most Wanted Gangster and the Manhunt That Brought Him to Justice." Kevin is also a Harvard Neiman Fellow and serves as an advisory member reviewing editorial content on a quarterly basis. Kevin's extensive newsroom experience, recognitions, and prowess as an investigative journalist will guide The War Horse in creating thoroughly and responsibly reported works of investigative journalism into the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs. Kevin is also the recipient of the Goldsmith Prize, the George Polk Award, and the Selden Ring Award.
Advisor on Coverage of Women Veterans
BriGette McCoy was a soldier in the U.S. Army from 1987 through 1991 serving in Germany as a Data Telecommunications Systems Operator. BriGette is an advocate for women veterans and the Founder and CEO of Women Veteran Social Justice. BriGette advocates for equal access to VA care and services, Military Sexual Trauma Policy changes and services, suicide prevention and family education, and alternative therapeutic health modalities. BriGette is the Veteran Affairs Commission Vice Chair for the City of Atlanta and a Steering Committee Member for the Georgia Chapter of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. As an advisory board member she will review stories about women veterans on a quarterly basis and will use her years of experience advocating for women veterans to ensure that we accurately and adequately portray experiences and concerns of women. She is the recipient of the Inspiring Women Award from the WNBA Atlanta Dream, and the Dekalb Veterans Affairs Advisory Board presented her with the Distinguished Veteran Hero Award.
Advisor on Visual Storytelling
Finbarr O'Reilly was based in West Africa as a Reuters correspondent and staff photographer from 2001 until 2014, and covered wars in Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, Chad, and elsewhere. His photography has earned top industry awards, including the World Press Photo of the Year in 2006, as well as numerous awards from the National Press Photographers Association and Pictures of the Year International. He left Reuters in 2015 after photographing wars in Afghanistan, Israel, and the Palestinian Territories. He has moved into academia, with fellowships at Harvard, Columbia, and Yale. Finbarr is co-writing a non-fiction book, "Shooting Ghosts," that will be published by the Viking imprint of Penguin/Random House. He will serve as an advisory member on visual storytelling. With his years of noteworthy war coverage, Finbarr will provide quarterly review and ensure The War Horse publishes visual components in the most captivating manner possible.
Read Finbarr's Message.
Advisor on Human Rights
Tahlia Burton is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force where she served six years as a Cryptologic Language Analyst of Chinese, French, and Pashto. Throughout her time in the Air Force, Tahlia translated real-time threat warnings of numerous Special Forces units including Navy SEAL teams, Army Delta Forces, and Air Force Pararescue. During her time in uniform she worked with many Iraqi and Afghan refugees fleeing persecution. Before being honorably discharged, Tahlia analyzed accounts of Taliban stoning women to death, academics having their books burned, and those murdered for not conforming to strict Taliban laws. Tahlia brings a unique perspective to The War Horse having analyzed Top Secret documents, interacted with the most highly trained service members in uniform, and witnessing the effect of war. She will serve as Advisor on Human Rights and will provide quarterly review of how The War Horse Reports on Human Rights as a result of military conflict. Her personal and professional connections will ensure The War Horse responsibly and ethically reports on Post-9/11 conflict. Tahlia is currently studying English and Human Rights at Columbia University and is the recipient of the Air Force Achievement Medal for analysis of an enemy threat that might have cost the lives of 75 U.S. Navy SEALs and other Special Forces personnel.
Advisor on Newsroom Development
Robert J. Rosenthal is the executive director of The Center for Investigative Reporting and an award-winning journalist who has worked with The New York Times, Boston Globe, Philadelphia Inquirer, and the San Francisco Chronicle. Rosenthal worked for 22 years at the Inquirer, starting as a reporter and eventually becoming its executive editor in 1998. Robert worked as an editorial assistant on the Pulitzer-Prize winning Pentagon Papers Project, and has also won the Overseas Press Club Award for magazine writing, the Sigma Delta Chi Award for distinguished foreign correspondence, and was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in international reporting. Robert was a Pulitzer Prize judge four times and has been an adjunct professor at Columbia University and University of California at Berkeley's Graduate Schools of Journalism.
Susie Reynolds Reece
Advisor on Residual Trauma
Susie Reynolds Reece has advocated for suicide prevention since she lost her father to suicide at the age of 10. Over the past several years, Susie has used her experiences to serve as an advocate and volunteer for multiple groups nationwide including the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. She is a founding member of the Garland County Suicide Prevention Coalition and has collaborated with such groups as Project HOPE, and many others. An emerging author, Susie's journal became her escape, her confidant, and her best friend following her father's suicide. It remains her constant companion to this day. Susie will provide semi-annual review of our reporting practices and procedures pertaining to suicide. Her connections throughout the suicide prevention profession - inside and outside of the military - will foster the highest ethical standards in suicide data collection and reporting on suicide and mental health.