The War Horse is an award-winning nonprofit newsroom educating the public on military service. Our team achieves this through journalism, public forums, and writing seminars.
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Since 2001, less than 1% of Americans have served during wars that now span seven countries and costs taxpayers nearly $800 billion annually. Despite defense and veterans affairs making up 60% of the total U.S. budget, less than 5% of journalism focuses on these issues.
Our reporting has influenced five changes to federal and military law, and received nine awards for excellence in multimedia storytelling, investigative reporting, and business innovation. The War Horse team has accomplished this by partnering with leading newsrooms such as the Center for Investigative Reporting, The Atlantic, and Vanity Fair to bridge the military-civilian divide. The impact of our reporting was highlighted in Esquire and on the front page of The New York Times. During a time when nearly 60% of Americans state that they distrust news media, a recent audience survey shows The War Horse is a trusted news source with 91% readers satisfaction.
Since 2016, The War Horse has provided honest, deeply personal stories on military service.
Following our Kickstarter campaign, we turned our attention to the impact of war on children and families. Kelly McHugh Stewart wrote about her father’s death in Iraq while serving in the Army. Anne Boaden wrote about being sexually assaulted as a pilot by her flight instructor. Military spouses have written many of our most powerful reflections. Liesel Kershul wrote about how her pet helped her through a difficult deployment. Sarah Schmidt wrote about the challenges of frequently relocating. Shair Engle wrote about serving as an enlisted service member under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell in the Air Force. Domenique Cino wrote about his time in the Navy. Michael Flores, Nate Tilton, and Hunter Lu wrote about serving as people of color, and Emily Miller and Tenley Lozano wrote about being LGBTQ veterans. An officer in the Coast Guard wrote about the repatriation of migrants pulled from the ocean and a former government contractor detailed his time as a mercenary.
Many of these stories come from our expenses-paid writing seminars for veterans and military families. Our team has trained 50 veterans and military family members during four writing seminars alongside award-winning journalists and authors. Our War Horse Fellows have written for USA Today, Military.com, and CNN, and have appeared on PBS Newshour, in New York Times Magazine, and at SXSW. Our team’s impact was heralded by The Lenfest Institute and Columbia Journalism Review.
To ensure their stories reach the broadest audience, our team continues to grow our newsroom audience. Our exclusive reporting has also explored the remarkable recovery of a Medal of Honor Marine, rampant sexual exploitation and harassment in the military, and the unknown legacy of military mental health programs. Our reporters have also dug into toxic exposure and burn pits, dubbed the “Agent Orange of the Post-9/11 generation,” and documented an increasing number of suicides among military children. Another focused on how the Defense Department, founded through money from the Pentagon, is now falling behind in tech acquisition, just as the military launches its Space Force. Our work about a suicide bombing in Iraq was syndicated by the Richmond Times-Dispatch and the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
The War Horse’s reporters have also explored healthcare issues in the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs, the growing U.S. war in Somalia, as well as gender and sexuality on both active duty troops and reservists. Our team has also dug into white supremacy and racism in uniform, a growing number of mysterious seizures among veterans, and how the National Guard was deployed in support of polling stations. War Horse stories explore the truth about military service.