Tuesday May 1, 2012

Some have incurred brutal injuries or psychological scars. Some have broken marriages. Some are unemployed. Some maintain very intact lives.

Digital First Media, which includes The Berkshire Eagle, today launched "American Homecomings," a year-long, companywide project that will chronicle the lives of returning veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. The soldiers will share their experiences as they reintegrate into American society and shed light on the challenges they face upon returning from the battlefield.

"American Homecomings" -- http://www.AmericanHomecomings.com -- will tell the stories of eight soldiers from around the country who represent a range of experiences.

"American Homecomings" tells these stories in a multimedia format using stories, videos, photos, data, interactivity and more. It will also take advantage of today's fluid nature of storytelling by providing frequent updates so that readers can follow the soldiers on their journeys.

In addition to telling soldiers' stories, "American Homecomings" also features links to bloggers from around the country who write on military affairs and Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans. It will also be a venue for friends and family to write remembrances of loved ones or for veterans to share emotional memories. The site will also relevant news stories -- from both Digital First Media properties and other news organizations -- that touch on topics of importance to returning veterans.


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Finally, the site will keep abreast of the best essays and aggregate interesting books, movies and documentaries about this war and the people fighting it.

"This is a very important story to tell, one we thought was the perfect subject for our first DFM-wide project," said Jim Brady, editor-in-chief of Digital First Media. "Individually, our newspapers and websites 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."

"We are very excited about this project and the chance to have Digital First Media properties cooperating on something of this scope," said Gregory L. Moore, editor of The Denver Post, which is coordinating the effort. "Our young men and women have been asked to make significant sacrifices and those don't end when they return home. That is an important story and we are happy to have the opportunity to tell it in a way that will help us all understand it better."

Seven Digital First properties were involved in locating soldiers willing to have their stories told: the Denver Post, Oakland (Mich.) Press, Salt Lake Tribune, New Haven Register, Chico (Calif.) Enterprise Record, Contra Costa Times and the York (Pa.) Daily Record.

You can find "American Homecomings" at http://www.AmericanHomecomings.com. The project can also be tracked on Twitter at @AmerHomecomings, and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/AmericanHomecomings.

About Digital First Media

Digital First Media is headquartered in New York City and jointly manages MediaNews Group and Journal Register Company. Digital First Media reaches 57 million Americans each month through more than 800 multi-platform products across 18 states.

For information about sponsorship of American Homecomings, contact Kirk MacDonald, Executive Vice President of Advertising, Marketing and Digital Sales at 303-954-2355.