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Explore The Impact Of Our Reporting


Our award-winning team makes war personal by educating the public on Post-9/11 conflict and its impact through bulletproof reporting on war and trauma. Here are some of the clearest examples of our impact:

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Explore The Impact Of Our Reporting


Our award-winning team makes war personal by educating the public on Post-9/11 conflict and its impact through bulletproof reporting on war and trauma. Here are some of the clearest examples of our impact:

Accountability

Our reporting has changed military law and sparked federal investigations into sexual exploitation across the Defense Department. Our exclusive investigation into Marines United was covered by nearly every major global news outlet.

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Bridging the Military-Civilian Divide

The War Horse is the only military-focused newsroom to partner publication with the Center for Investigative Reporting and Vanity Fair. Our stories ensure that those who are most affected by war continue to have a prominent voice in the national conversation.

Community

Our writing seminars bring together world class journalists, authors, agents, and publishers with veterans and military family members for off-the-record Q&A. Our seminars are where the best writers of today pay it forward to the most promising military writers of tomorrow.

 

 

Our newsroom addresses the most Pressing issues affecting the military and veteran community

 (June 23, 2005) - ONBOARD THE USCGC EAGLE -  A U.S. Coast Guard Academy cadet takes the helm during a summer training patrol onboard the Coast Guard Cutter EAGLE. The three masted, square-rigged sailing vessel is normally homeported in New London, Connecticut, and sails each summer for months at a time, visiting ports around the U.S. and abroad. EAGLE has a long history in service as a training vessel. After she was built and commissioned in 1936, she served as training vessel for cadets in the German Navy. In the 1940s, EAGLE began service as a training platform for Coast Guard Academy officer candidates. Today, nearly all future officers have the opportunity to sail onboard the EAGLE, learning skills such as leadership, teamwork, seamanship, and navigation. (Coast Guard photo by Ensign Ryan Beck)

Sexual Trauma

Joy Craig hadn't wanted to spend her last morning of active duty reliving sexual assaults, but there she sat in the base NCIS office, talking with an agent. Our writers share some of their most traumatic memories through vivid first-person reflections.

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Mental Health

William Gehrung was a veteran who'd written for The War Horse. In late August 2017, he killed himself. Fellow War Horse writer Nate Eckman wrote for us about the loss of his friend.

The Forever War

The U.S. government spends nearly $800 billion annually on defense and veteran affairs, which accounts for more than 60 percent of the U.S. budget. Yet investigative journalism about military and veterans issues makes up less than 5 percent of all news coverage. Our journalism is more important than ever.

We publish stories showcasing hope and resilience

Defying The Odds

The War Horse was given unprecedented access to document the recovery of the youngest living Medal of Honor recipient, Kyle Carpenter. By compiling doctors’ records, family photos, and videos, our team's intimate retelling of his wrenching story doesn’t fetishize the graphic details, but seeks to show Kyle’s grueling road to recovery. Our work with Vanity Fair was awarded for Excellence in Multimedia Storytelling in 2017.

 Daily life with the Ortiz Rivera family in Williamsburg, Virginia on April 16, 2016, nearly six years after the death of Javier Ortiz Rivera, who was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2010.

Finding Life and Love After Loss

Staff Sergeant Javier Ortiz Rivera was killed in Afghanistan on November 16, 2010. His two oldest kids, Alyssa and Andrew, were eight and five at the time. Our story followed their family's journey toward recovery.

"Emotionally Charged"

The Editor-at-Large of Vanity Fair described our reporting as "a piece that Vanity Fair is proud to have run, and that it exemplifies the highest values of journalism and of national service."

 

 

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Accountability:
Explore The Impact Of Our Investigative Reporting

Giving Voice to Survivors

Our reporting empowered thousands of survivors of sex crimes in the military and veteran community. Because of our exclusive investigation the non-consensual sharing of pornographic images was unanimously passed by the House of Representatives.

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We Speak Truth to Power

Scandal after scandal, sexual predators in the military continue to harass and assault with impunity. Military brass pay lip service to eradicating the problem. Our reporters uncovered how Defense Department has skirted accountability for nearly 40 years.

 

 

Bridging the Military-Civilian Divide Through Storytelling

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Challenging Stereotypes

Our Veterans Adding Value multimedia series focuses storytelling on positive transitions from military service into academia, entrepreneurship, and social impact work. The series aims to bridge the military-civilian divide through in-depth reporting and vivid storytelling.

 

 

Investing In The Next Generation of War Writers

Forging Community

Our writing seminars bring together world-class journalists, authors, agents, and publishers with veterans and military family members for off-the-record Q&A. Our seminars are where the best writers of today pay it forward to the most promising writers of tomorrow.

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Our Supporters


The War Horse receives generous support from foundations, institutions, individuals, and families committed to the power of journalism.

Our Supporters


The War Horse receives generous support from foundations, institutions, individuals, and families committed to the power of journalism.

Donors

Arnold Family
Frederick Wellman
Shawn Wylde
Fidelity Charitable
Wolfgang & Leslie Pordik
Daniel J. Edelman Family Foundation

Goggin Family
Gerry Lenfest
Marie Martin
Finbarr O'Reilly
Brynne and David Thompson

Scruggs Family
Long Phung
Caryn Ragsdale
Valerie & Leland Suttee
Jim Taylor

Academic Partners and Affiliates

Industry Partners and Memberships

In-Kind Supporters

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Our Kickstarter Supporters

Brennan Family
Alan Rueda
The Seeber Family
Ammy Amlaw
Brent & Journey Roberts
Michael Petersheim
Jacqui Maher
Lawton & Katie Hansen
Jim Mintz
Patrick Poirier
Rex Lam
Tim Kudo
Kevin Sullivan
Tom Burket
Norman Seider
A. Karpouzis
A. Holobinko
Ellise Rowan
Kimberly Stevens
Monica Traphagan

David Dunlap
Dr. Richard W. & K.
Kambitsis Foster

Robert Cudinski
Justin Jones
Chris Amico
Rutwij Devashrayee
Steve Coll
Jeffrey M. Gulotta
Lori Boucher
Bill Hanson
Susnik Family
David Lee Clark
Annie Quill
Jen L.
Mary Bell
Fred Burke

Kerri Mosher
Lisa Killeen
Matt Jackson
Jason B. Scott
Chelsea L.
Heather & Travis Kesterson
Julie Brown
Dion Brugger
Alec Perkins

E. Belikoff
Sebastian Bae
Nina Wadhw
K. Thiebolt
M. Katherine Maeve
Marge Jones
Greg Misztura
Ian C.
Melissa Simonian
Thomas Meizinger
Mary T.
Daniel Colome
Roy Neiderberger
Jim Connor
Phillip S. Balboni
Missy & Larry Matisoff
Dan Cogan
Jim Piper
Taffanni R. Spann

Ricci Shyrock
Marie Martin
Andrew Hutcheson
Carl Stoffers
Kent Gordon
Thomas Gottwald, Sr.
Joshua Grant
Andrew Bolla
Arianna Gonzales
Roger Simon
Nevin Flores
Phil Thomas
Geraldine C. Carey
P. Gomes
Richard Lawson

Thomas Thoren
Benjamin Leighton
Lore Boucher
Mary Beth McNair
Hilary Asher
David Kalitowski
Paige Spell
Marc deKonkoly Thege
Stephen Thomas King

Marc Pflieger
Kerry Donahue
Stephen & Denise

Don L. Lair
Justin Lawson
Leslye A. Gustat
Patrick J. Flynn
Mary & John Hays
Richard Widdicombe
John Casper
E. Belikoff
Jack Killough
Nick Strycharz
Mackenzie Kampa
Bernadette Rkiouak
Bruce Cruikshank
Don Barth
Matthew Warnick
Douglas Norton
Richard V. Utt
C. Sims
Amber Jamieson
Krystin Mueller
Robert Staples
Ashlee Matthews
Jonathan Baran
Jessica Lipscomb
Gauthier Family
Laura Simmons

Christopher M. Tetens
Kate Myers
Jason B.
Candace B.
Dave Henzel
Bryan Mealer
Christine Lombardi
James Brundage
Dan & Patti Poirier
Sarah Burns

Laura Muha
Peterson
Conor McGoey
Brad & Sarah Belin
Clayton K. Sears
David Hanson
Matt Engiles

Richard Rega
M. Jackson
Daniel Trusilo

Kiley Lambert
Yee Cang Ling
Brian Carlson
Chris Alderman
Derek Zahler
Chris Greenlief
Amy K. Grossman
Matthew McGoffin
Warren Atkins
Jennifer LeBaron
Matthew Brown
Yannis Behrakis
Scott Blanchard
Holly Pickett
Jim Macica
Jeff Lamie
Joy L. Healy
Mark S. Pounovich
Lee Delph
G. Taylor
Andrew Cox
Asthaa Chaturvedi
Jeffrey M. Gulotta
Jonathan Penland
Alma Hart
Megan Weeks
Mike Hursh
Liz Berrien
Judy Mikeska
Bruce Chuikshank
Marine Vallet
Jesselee Kahaloa
Brad Smelt
Julia Glover
Kevin Cullen
Roy Berg

Ralph Bendjebar
Scilla Alecci
Jean Hislop
Kelly Breen
Erik Jendresen
Rodrigo Ugarte
Robyne F.
Loren McBride
Liz Baugher

 

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Our Team


Our staff's reporting is guided by an advisory team that provides detailed feedback about our reporting so you enjoy bulletproof reporting about war and trauma.

Our Team


Our staff's reporting is guided by an advisory team that provides detailed feedback about our reporting so you enjoy bulletproof reporting about war and trauma.

Thomas J. Brennan

Thomas is a father, husband, and the founder of The War Horse — his passion is writing about war, trauma, and loss.

Prior to studying at Columbia University, he was a sergeant in the Marine Corps and served as an infantryman in Iraq and Afghanistan with the First Battalion, Eighth Marines. Thomas is the co-author of Shooting GhostsA U.S. Marine, a Combat Photographer, and Their Journey Back from War.

Anna Hiatt

Anna Hiatt is a reporter and editor based in New York City, working with words, audio, and pictures—both moving and still. She's an adjunct professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, where she also earned her master's degree. She attended UC Berkeley, graduating with a history degree. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Guardian, Reuters, The Village Voice, and on WNYC, among others. Anna Hiatt serves as a features editor for The War Horse. She is the recipient of the 2018 Regional Edward R. Murrow Award for Investigative Reporting.

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Lindsey Melki

Lindsey Melki is Chief Operations Officer for The War Horse. She’s a West Point graduate and former U.S. Army captain. Lindsey served for seven years as an aviation officer and Blackhawk helicopter pilot, including a deployment to Baghdad. Prior to joining The War Horse, Lindsey received her MBA and MPA from New York University and worked as an associate with Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s Public Finance Investment Banking group. She’s a Tillman Military Scholar and member of the Truman National Security Project Defense Council. Lindsey and her wife, Julie, reside in New Jersey.

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David Chrisinger

David Chrisinger is the Director of Writing Seminars for The War Horse. He believes everyone has a story that needs to be told. For the last three years, he has also taught a semester-long writing seminar for student veterans at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, and in 2016 he edited a collection of his students’ essays, See Me For Who I Am, that bridges the cultural gap that divides Post-9/11 military veterans from the American people. For six years David taught public policy writing to graduate students in the Master of Public Policy program at Johns Hopkins University and wrote Public Policy Writing That Matters, a book for anyone passionate about using writing to create real and lasting change. He lives in Wisconsin with his wife and two young sons.

Annie Erling Gofus

Annie is an administrative assistant for The War Horse and a writer based in Washington, DC. Originally from North Dakota, Annie studied history and started her career at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in DC. In 2014, Annie was awarded a Fulbright Grant in the Slovak Republic where she taught American Studies and studied Communism’s effects on spirituality. Since returning from Slovakia, Annie has worked in the tech start-up world and is currently the VP of Content at TripScout, a travel app. Annie is a 2017 War Horse Fellow and is passionate about travel and is training her extremely stubborn rescue mutt to be a therapeutic visitation dog.

Daniel Langhorne

Daniel Langhorne is social media coordinator for The War Horse. In 2012, he joined the Orange County Register as a staff writer covering city government, the Nixon Presidential Library, housing, education, and water. Since 2015, Daniel has reported on military affairs and many other topics for Military.com, Law360, and the Los Angeles Times. Daniel earned his B.A. in English and Political Science from Chapman University. He and his wife live in Long Beach, Calif.

Newsroom Development

Bruce Shapiro

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.

Bruce 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.

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Robert Rosenthal

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.


Editorial Advisors

 

Karen Stabiner

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.

Dana Priest

Dana Priest is a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist who has spent the majority of her career focusing on national security, military operations and the U.S. intelligence agencies. Dana’s work has uncovered secret CIA prisons in Eastern Europe and deplorable conditions for veterans at the Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington.


In 2014, Dana was named the third John S. and James L. Knight Chair in Public Affairs Journalism at the University of Maryland's Philip Merrill College of Journalism. She is the recipient of the MacArthur grant, the Gerald R. Ford Prize for Distinguished Reporting on the National Defense in 2001, the George Polk Award, and many others.

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Finbarr O'Reilly

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.

Fiinbarr 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.

Tom Jennings

Tom Jennings has written, produced and directed films that have appeared on PBS, HBO, National Geographic and Discovery and has collaborated with the most esteemed names in journalism. His work has explored police brutality, terrorism, interactive reporting, and virtual reality. In addition to two Polk Awards, Jennings has also won two national Emmy Awards, the duPont-Columbia Silver Baton Award, the Overseas Press Club Award, the Edward R. Murrow Award and four Writers Guild of America Awards.

Jennings teaches documentary writing and production at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and is producer-in-residence at NYU’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute. He is also a professor at Columbia University and Cooper Union.

Technical Advisors

Daniel Ellsberg

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.

Kathy Roth-Douquet

Kathy Roth-Douquet is an advocate and author. She is CEO of Blue Star Families, a chapter-based nonprofit organization focused on strengthen military families and our nation by connecting communities and fostering leadership to millions of people.

Kathy Roth-Douquet earned her MPA in International Affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University where she held a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship, and a JD from the University of San Diego School of Law, Magna Cum Laude and the Order of the Coif. While serving at the Pentagon as Principal Assistant Deputy Under Secretary of Defense she received the Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service for her work on defense reform. She is also a recipient of President George H. W. Bush’s Daily Point of Light Award, and most recently received the Chief of Staff of the Army Outstanding Civilian Service Award.

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Our policies on trauma reporting


"Anything that's human is mentionable, and anything that is mentionable can be more manageable. When we can talk about our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting, and less scary. The people we trust with that important talk can help us know that we are not alone."

- Fred Rogers

Our policies on trauma reporting


"Anything that's human is mentionable, and anything that is mentionable can be more manageable. When we can talk about our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting, and less scary. The people we trust with that important talk can help us know that we are not alone."

- Fred Rogers

The War Horse believes that reporting on trauma comes with a great responsibility. Not only do we expect to hold ourselves to these standards, but we encourage our sources and readers to do the same. 
 

1. You don't 'get it' or 'understand' what a source has been through. Every story is unique. Every experience is unique. If our stories aren't unique, we are doing a disservice to our sources and our readers. Research conditions and circumstances. But once you have done your research, leave it at the door. It doesn't matter how much knowledge you have on the topic, you can never predict how a particular individual experienced the events that happened to them. 

2. Reporting on trauma demands special care and increased ethical sensitivity. It requires specialized interviewing skills, understanding of the law, and (at a minimum) a basic awareness about the psychological impact of trauma.

3. Get the language correct. Someone is not a victim unless they describe themselves that way.

4. Respect a potential interviewee's right to say 'no.' Nobody should be forced to give every detail about a traumatic event unless THEY want to. 

5. We will take control of providing a safe space for sources to discuss their individual trauma(s). Tread carefully and do not exploit or belittle them if they open up to you. If you've earned their trust, keep it. The secret to good interviewing is active, non-judgmental listening. 

6. Don't underestimate how your own reactions to traumatic details can influence the conversation. If you are finding the conversation challenging, acknowledge that silently to yourself, and bring your focus back to what is being said. Try to listen a little harder and and to observe facial expressions and body language. The time for a journalist to process the personal impact of an interview is after it's complete, away from the interviewee.

7. Trauma is often associated with high degrees of self-blame, guilt, and shame. For this reason, avoid language that might imply the interviewee is responsible in some way. Be careful of asking 'why' questions—which interrogators tend to favor. Don't be surprised if accounts only make partial sense. Frequently survivors of trauma 'shut down' emotionally: Their recall may become or seem fragmented, and in some cases they may have blocked out an event entirely. Incomplete and contradictory accounts are not prima facie evidence of deception, but rather of the struggle interviewees may experience in making sense of what has happened to them. 

8. Journalists have a responsibility to do everything they can to avoid exposing the interviewee to further abuse and to avoid undermining an interviewee's standing in his or her community. Be prepared for survivors to read at least portions of your story before publication, as it can lessen the impact—and possible trauma—of public exposure. (Note: After reading—and seeing evidence of your intentions—an interviewee may decide to share more of his or her story with you.) Tell the whole story. Sometimes media identify only specific incidents, focusing on the obvious climax. Reporters must understand that a failure to report wholly on a story is, in itself, a form of abuse. Learn how individuals have coped with the trauma in the longer term. Your stories and your relationships will be richer for it. 

9. Trauma reporting is an act for the greater good. Utilize information, data, resources, and various experiences wisely to provide you with insight and to ensure you're reporting the truth—not how things appear at first glance. There is never a simple explanation and during your reporting you should be prepared to explore the individual complexities of each story. Speculation has no place in trauma reporting. 

10. A story is never just about what happened. Explore regrets and successes and how your interviewee's life got them to this point. A person is more than just a singular event. Explore the survivor's story with the same care, attention to detail, and respect that you would want them to show if roles were reversed.