Photo by Khari Williams.

Photo by Khari Williams

“Half the Battle” is a multimedia project conceived, reported and edited by journalism students enrolled in American University’s “Writing and Editing for Convergent Media” class in the School of Communication.

This semester-long project, done in collaboration with WAMU 88.5, the Washington, D.C., area’s leading NPR member station, documents the experiences of young veterans as they transition from military service to civilian life.

With a decade of war coming to an end, scores of veterans between the ages of 18 and 29 are returning to a civilian society that is still figuring out exactly how to welcome them home.

As this project reveals, young veterans fresh out of service are currently rebuilding relationships with friends and family, grappling with complex benefits systems and recovering both physically and mentally from war. The government, universities and businesses, meanwhile, are busy developing support services to help veterans earn an education and secure work in a competitive job market.

Seventeen students, under the guidance of journalism professor Amy Eisman, devoted much of the spring semester to researching, reporting and editing stories for this project. Students interviewed dozens of young veterans to complete a multimedia package that includes text, audio and video stories. Students also created the logos and graphics.

The project also features two online surveys, both of young veterans and their civilian counterparts, examining the experiences young veterans face as they return home from war. Topics were hammered out in classroom discussions and students analyzed the results. These surveys were conducted under the steady guidance of Professor Maria Ivancin of the public communication division.

At the start of the semester, students were assigned specific roles and responsibilities for the project. Every student, in addition to writing and editing stories, participated in teams devoted to specific tasks, including video production, web design, social media and survey distribution.

Throughout the semester, students learned valuable reporting skills from professional journalists specializing in audio reporting, social media and web design. “Half the Battle” would like to thank everyone who helped make this project possible.

Chris Young

Managing Editor, “Half the Battle”

This project, produced by journalism students at American University, explores the experiences of young veterans as they transition from soldiers to citizens.

Word Clouds From Veteran Survey

What did you miss the most about home?
What did you miss2

Why did you enlist?
Why did you enlist in the military.

From soldier to civilian - what problems did you face?
Challenge of transitioning to civilian life

What difficulties did you face upon returning to college?
Difficulties on returning to college

Word Cloud From Non-Veteran Survey

What challenges do vets face coming home? Non-vets

Top 5 questions veterans told ‘Half the Battle’ they hate being asked:

- Did you kill anyone?
- Do you have PTSD?
- Did you see anybody die?

- Did you get shot at?

- Was it hot?

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