By Debbie Gregory.
Marine veteran Thomas Brennan, a medically retired sergeant-turned-journalist, wants to ensure that the war stories of his generation are told. To that end, Brennan is launching The War Horse, an independent non-profit journalism site dedicated to chronicling the stories of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The plan for stage one of The War Horse’s development, which launches on January 18th, is:
- Launch Kickstarter crowd-funding campaign, website, and initiate media coverage campaign.
- Begin using tax-deductible donations to enter into contracts with freelance journalists and interns, and begin hiring processes for office staff.
- Continue submitting grant applications, developing business strategy, pursuing sponsorships and donations, and finding volunteers.
Brennan is uniquely qualified to tell those stories. Besides his near nine years of service in the Marine Corps and being wounded when a rocket- propelled grenade detonated next to him, he has reported on the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs as a civilian. He began freelancing for The New York Times blog, At War while he was still in uniform, documenting medical appointments for his TBI and PTSD, his combat memories, and even his suicide attempt in 2013. He later matriculated as a Stabile Fellow from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.
Brennan believes the War Horse will ultimately be a collaboration of staff and freelance journalists, producing quality stories through “bulletproof reporting.” He defines the site as a news outlet and community where all people—military, civilian, pro-war, and anti-war—can express their thoughts about and experiences with war and have them matter.
His Kickstarter campaign goal is at least $50,000, which will fund the first four fully multimedia long-form stories and assist with grant-writing and development that will allow the website and newsroom to grow. In addition to the works of investigative journalism and feature stories, the site will host The Echoes Project, a compilation of profiles for all US personnel killed in combat since Sept. 11, 2001. The project will also allow those who knew the fallen service members to share stories, images, and written memories about them.