22 January 2014

Doonesbury's Mil-blog Digest to Cease Operations Soon

After seven years of presenting original writing from military service members—and reposting content from their blogs—the editor of Doonesbury's "The Sandbox" warned this week that the website will cease publishing new content "at some point in the not-too-distant future."

At the same time, editor David Stanford issued a call for past and potential contributors to share some last thoughts on war and coming home:
[B]efore we get to that moment I would like to extend an (urgent) invitation to everyone who has posted on the site over the past seven years: If there is one more story you’ve been meaning to tell, one final reflection on your deployment, or your reintegration, or anything else—please send it to me soon at themanagement@doonesbury.com. [...]

And if you are a deployed soldier, returned vet, caregiver, or family member, and you have been meaning to write something for The Sandbox; well, it’s not too late. But it will be soon...
Doonesbury creator Garry Trudeau has long been a supporter of military veterans, and has regularly illuminated stories involving deployments, PTSD, MST, and other difficult topics for non-military audiences. Those efforts include platforms such as "The Sandbox."

Launched in October 2006, the Doonesbury website billed itself as a "GWOT hot wash, straight from the wire." Where once mil-bloggers offered a first-person alternative to war zone journalism, however, observers have noted a general trend away from blogging in recent years. In a possible parallel, the annual Milblogging.com conference was placed on hiatus last year, along with its related "Milbloggie" awards. That said, the Milblogging.com index continues to add new military blogs on a regular basis, and regularly posts items about military blogs and social media.

Plans call for the "The Sandbox" site to be made into a permanent on-line archive. A 2007 print collection, "Doonesbury.com's The Sandbox: Dispatches from Troops in Iraq and Afghanistan," also continues to be available via booksellers.

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