Bridging The Civilian-Military Divide? Just Skimm It

U.S. Army photo by Timothy L. Hale

At Task & Purpose, we worry an awful lot about the perception of modern military veterans in American society --- it’s a big part of our raison d'être.

In military circles, we call it the civilian-military divide, but it’s more of a buzz phrase than an accurate description. There’s no uniform civilian population, and folks aren’t sitting around wondering how they can better understand and connect with modern veterans.

There are more than 20 million veterans in this country, but just 2.6 million veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan — less than 1% of the population. America has never had a smaller proportion of the population wage war on its behalf.

Like any disconnect, the problem driving this civilian-military divide centers around ignorance. In a sensationalizing news culture, it’s easy to get to a point where all you read or hear about veterans issues is about suicide, post-traumatic stress, sexual assault, or any other attention-grabbing headline that isn’t actually representative of the diverse, dynamic community of modern vets.

Enter theSkimm, a fast-growing news startup that offers a daily newsletter about the news you need to know. With a target audience of women ages 18-35, and with women comprising 80% of its subscribers, theSkimm may have found a role it didn’t expect — introducing hard-hitting, and often tough-to-process news about the modern military to an audience that otherwise would never see it.

With well-written synopses of stories on ISIS, the war in Afghanistan, or the Department of Veterans Affairs scandal, theSkimm has managed to make important stories interesting and fun, and made it cool to read the news and be informed.

“We want theSkimm to be part of fostering a generation that has an awareness of news and the global community,” the founders of theSkimm, Danielle Weisberg and Carly Zakin, told Avelist last month.

And they’ve managed to grasp the nuance of tough military stories in a concise way — and perhaps more importantly, have delivered those stories to the inboxes of hundreds of thousands of subscribers who may otherwise not have seen them.

Take Skimm’s coverage of ISIS:

With hundreds of thousands of engaged subscribers, theSkimm is changing the way folks receive their news in just the way we might need; "theSkimm sounds like your friend telling you what you need to know. It's relatable and to the point," the newsletter’s founders told Brand Channel over the summer.

Learn more about theSkimm and sign up here »  

Veterans are pushing back against a Wall Street Journal op-ed, in which a woman with no military experience argued that women do not belong in combat units.

Read More Show Less

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump was reeling from sharp rebukes at home and abroad over his surprise announcement last month to immediately pull American troops out of Syria when he flew into the al Asad airbase in neighboring Iraq the day after Christmas.

Inside a canvas Quonset hut, one of the arced prefabricated structures used by the military and surrounded by concertina wire, Trump received operational briefs from U.S. commanders suggesting a territorial victory against Islamic State was within sight, but the military needed just a bit more time, U.S. officials said.

Read More Show Less
Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Lisa Ferdinando

The Coast Guard's top officer is telling his subordinates to "stay the course" after they missed their regularly scheduled paycheck amid the longest government shutdown in U.S. history.

In a message to the force sent Tuesday, Adm. Karl L. Schultz said both he and the Department of Homeland Security Secretary remain "fully engaged" on the missing pay issue, which have caused "anxiety and uncertainty" for Coasties and their families.

Read More Show Less

After years of frequent mechanical failures ad embarrassing cost overruns, the Navy finally plans on deploying three hulls from its much-derided Littoral Combat Ship fleet by this fall after a protracted absence from the high seas, the U.S. Naval Institute reports.

Read More Show Less