I congratulate my Digital First Media colleagues on today’s launch of American Homecomings, a yearlong storytelling project that will chronicle the lives of troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.
“The soldiers will share their experiences as they reintegrate into American society, shedding light on the challenges they face upon returning from the battlefield,” said Jim Brady, editor-in-chief of Digital First.
Journalists from the Post, the Oakland Press in Pontiac, Mich., Salt Lake Tribune, New Haven Register, Chico (Calif.) Enterprise Record, Contra Costa Times and the York (Pa.) Daily Record tell the stories of eight veterans who have agreed to tell their stories.
“They represent a wide range of experiences: Some have incurred brutal injuries or psychological scars, some have broken marriages, some have no jobs and others very intact lives,” Brady said. “The site will feature regular updates on these soldiers and tell their stories via stories, videos, photos, data, interactivity and other forms.”
Digital First partnered with the Warrior Gateway, which has built a searchable database for national veteran services such as counseling and job placement, which is featured on the site. The site also includes opportunities for veterans to share their own stories.
“This is a very important story to tell, one we thought was the perfect subject for our first DFM-wide project,” Brady said. “Individually, our newspapers and web sites have very strong voices in their communities, but we felt that we could even more powerfully tell this story by combining efforts across the country. This will be the first of many projects we will produce this way, and we’re excited about it.”
Homecomings are always an important story of wars, not just an end, but a beginning. Two of the most memorable stories of my reporting career dealt with the homecoming of Robert Moore, an Iowa soldier who returned from World War II. I’m pleased that Digital First is telling the stories of this generation’s homecomings in such a powerful way.