Rather than picking what we thought were the most important or best written or underrepresented stories about veterans in 2014, we decided to let you decide. By going through the data gleaned from our weekly Scout Report, we’ve determined which of the past year’s stories our subscribers thought were most interesting—or at least most deserving of their mouse-click. The Scout Report delivers a broad range of national and local news about veterans and military families to readers on Capitol Hill, in the Pentagon, deployed to Baghdad, and beyond. Who better to curate the news than those working in our community as veterans’ advocates, government officials, policymakers, reporters, and military spouses? Subscribe to the Scout Report While the scandal surrounding the Department of Veterans Affairs dominated headlines, our readers were more interested in the effects of war on the people who experienced it firsthand. The most popular stories among our readers tackled subjects that are hardest to put into words like the moral injury of combat, the meaning and purpose of our war in Afghanistan, the veteran victim mentality, and suicide. In the midst so much solemnity, our readers also appreciate levity. One of the most popular articles of the year was about a National Guardsmen facing disciplinary action for using a forklift to obtain a Twix bar from a vending machine. Gratefully, we can also say stories about, by, or featuring ScoutComms seem to be among our readers’ favorites. With a year of awards, new hires, a promotion, and statements from the CEO, we had a prosperous 2014 fueled by snark, sleepless nights, and subscribers’ support.
The Most Popular Scout Report Stories of 2014
Congratulations on Your Military Service… Now Here Are 9 Reasons Why I Won’t Hire You Sultan Camp, Career Attraction, January 5, 2014 Veteran entitlement issues seem to be a bigger draw than employment issues these days, but this article tackles both. It’s a timeless piece that deserves to be posted on the Facebook wall of every transitioning service member. Jake Tapper Is Getting Attacked For Saying What Many Are Thinking About Afghanistan Paul Szoldra (@PaulSzoldra), Business Insider, January 11, 2014 An article that combines Twitter outrage, Navy SEALs, and so much patriotism you’ll be hearing Lee Greenwood in the background. Szoldra, founder of The Duffel Blog and now editor at The Mighty, knows what the people want to read. An Evolution of Service to Veterans and Military Families ScoutComms (@ScoutComms), January 26, 2014 A New Year, a new ScoutComms: we embraced our evolution into a social enterprise that advocates for veterans and empowers the organizations that support them. We’re pretty awesome. #humblebrag After war, a failure of imagination Phil Klay (@PhilKlay), New York Times, February 8, 2014 One of the greater pieces on the civilian-military divide. Klay calls on civilians to be critical of war stories, not simply abrogate responsibility through banal phrases like, “I can’t imagine what you’ve been through.” So, too, though must veterans be willing to tell their stories, Klay says. You may know Phil Klay now because his book ‘Redeployment’ was awarded the National Book Award for Fiction just last month. Guard member fired after using forklift to retrieve Twix from vending machine Clark Kauffman, The Des Moines Register, February 20, 2014 Not the typical veteran unemployment story, but this one is nothing but self-inflicted pain. An Iowa National Guardsman might soon find himself in the annals of the Duffel Blog thanks to his passion for Twix. Moral Injury David Wood (@woodwriter), Huffington Post, March 18, 2014 A three-part multimedia piece from Pulitzer Prize winning journalist David Wood that raises important and uncomfortable questions about the nature of war and how we fail our veterans in the healing process. Fred Wellman Named ‘Veterans Business Champion’ Susan Larson (@Fxbg2day), Fredericksburg Today, May 24, 2014 Not only was Fred the Small Business Administration’s Virginia-area Veterans Business Champion of the year, but he also got a hipster-y new headshot. Check out the latest write-up on the boss and see what he’s doing for veterans through social entrepreneurship in Fredericksburg and around the country. With Shinseki Out, Who Will Obama Tap Next to Lead the Department of Veterans Affairs? Gordon Lubold (@glubold) and John Hudson (@John_Hudson), Foreign Policy, May 30, 2014 After the resignation of Eric Shinseki as Secretary of Veterans Affairs, the lads at Foreign Policy asked Lauren for a comment. She may have been wrong about a lot, but at least she got the VA’s name right (hint: it’s not the Veterans Administration.) Statement on Nomination of Robert McDonald as Secretary of Veterans Affairs Fred Wellman (@FPWellman), ScoutComms, June 29, 2014 A doctor, a general, a young veteran—many advocates made demands on what the new VA Secretary should be. Fred weighed in with his own assessment of McDonald’s experience at Proctor & Gamble and how that might make him more effective than a general ever could have been. So far… not too bad, boss. The Sexist Facebook Movement The Marine Corps Can’t Stop Brian Adam Jones (@bjones), Task & Purpose, August 20, 2014 Task & Purpose launched just this year and has already become a go-to place for opinions and ideas about the veteran and military community. With this investigative story, Brian Adam Jones took the site to an entirely new level. T&P is breaking news and blowing minds. ScoutComms Hires Brian Wagner as Vice President ScoutComms (@ScoutComms), October 13, 2014 As part of our continued growth last year, ScoutComms welcomed Brian Wagner to our team as a Vice President. He’s added an important snark capability to the Twitter team and been essential to the team getting the Scout Report done before 0100. Want to help veterans? Stop pitying them. Howard Schultz and Rajiv Chandrasekaran (@rajivwashpost), The Washington Post, October 31, 2014 Before the Concert for Valor made our ears ring with hard rock glory, the bigger impact for our readers was an op-ed penned by Shultz and Chandrasekaran. Their Post piece highlights the ways veterans continue to serve when they leave the military and also combats the idea that veterans are victims. Five myths about military suicides Yochi Dreazen (@YochiDreazen), Washington Post, November 7, 2014 The tragedy that is America’s mental health crisis has taken its toll on service members, but there are many misconceptions about what military service means when it comes to suicide. We expect (and hope) the issue of mental health remains a focus of advocates and policy makers in 2015. Ground Wars End, and So Does a Chapter in Military-Press Relationships Ernesto Londoño (@londonoe, The New York Times, November 30, 2014 The “end” of our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan means an end to how so many professional relationships today were formed. Make Fred tell you about the time he spooned Nathan Hodge in Iraq that one time. An end to embedding might mean moments like that (and a narrower civilian-military divide) are over. Don’t forget to subscribe to the Scout Report so you can help us pick the most important stories of 2015.