Help launch The Southwest digital magazine - a journey to its heart, people & mystery. Up first: bringing home a historic Death March.
Love the Southwest? We do too. Help us launch a new online magazine to share it's deep and amazing stories. Please click the green button to the right that invites you to "Back this Project." Every dollar makes a huge difference in kicking off TheSouthwest.
The Southwest is the future
In the Southwest, mountain ranges spine the desert and rivers rarely meet the ocean where they used to. Here, rural meets urban in unexpected ways as the population grows faster than anywhere else in the country, while national politics and Pacific Rim economics weave connections that will resound throughout the 21st century. It is home to 56 million people.
The Southwest is the recreational heartland of America. It yields technological advances, hosts more than its share of military installations, boasts some of the best scenery on the globe and spins thousands of deserving stories that go untold every year.
That is why we have created a new online journal as far south and west as you can get in the continental United States: From California to Colorado and from Utah to New Mexico, this region is too important, too big and too smart not to have its own in-depth literary magazine.
The Southwest is our long-overdue voice
Founded by two journalists who have spent all their careers studying, reporting and writing about the region, it is a nonprofit internet startup, dedicated to serving the pioneers in the six lower left states with original content produced for the Southwest, by artists and writers living in the Southwest.
And, in the same way that these deserts and mountains began as our nation’s frontier, we see this new journal as an opportunity to blaze a few trails.
Conventional wisdom says online journalism must be short, quick and cater to search engines rather than readers. The Southwest is founded on the idea that the internet should be used to tell longer, not shorter, stories.
Conventional wisdom results in pages packed with links, flash advertising, and dozens of other distractions. The Southwest likes a lot of white space, and will never induce seizures with its ads. We promise.
The Southwest values experience, expertise and depth in its journalists, and always seeks to compensate them as fully as possible. We believe that supporting the work of good journalists is of enormous importance at a time when newspapers are folding and web entrepreneurs are paying—or rather not paying—whatever they can get away with.
This is the organization that we need your help to build. Your pledges will be used to design the web site and fund the start-up costs, as well as numerous reporting projects that we are excited to bring you over the remainder of 2012.
Up First: To remember and reveal
In addition to the web site, this Kickstarter project will produce The Southwest’s first limited-edition printing. This inaugural print volume will consist entirely of the story that your support has made possible. If you pledge to support us, you are literally sending The Southwest on its first assignment.
In early April, the magazine will dispatch two travelers to bring the story of the Bataan Death March's last remaining survivors home to the Southwest. Exactly 70 years ago, 76,000 American and Filipino troops surrendered in Bataan. Thousands of them died along the very road we'll be walking.
You might be wondering why anyone would want to trudge 80 miles through the tropical heat just to observe the anniversary of a war crime.
The reason is simple, and is said best by an inscription found on a Bataan war memorial. It’s old and faded, but what it says still rings true: “Our Mission is to Remember.”
If your grandfather fought in World War II and is still alive, give him a hug. Mine has been gone since 2008. World War II veterans around the globe are dying of old age, and with each new headstone in our national cemeteries, the cultural memory of events like the death march threatens to fade. I know; I've seen it. In 2009, during my first visit to Bataan, I asked a 95-year-old survivor if he thinks young people know what he endured.
“They know," he said. "They hear from their parents. But they don’t have any of the feelings. To them, it’s just a story, just like reading a book.”
Col. Estrada in 2009:
If our mission is to remember, then we must not let it become just a story. That’s why this piece of journalism can’t be phoned in from the comfort of home. We want to walk across Bataan so that we can report back to you simply what it was like for those defeated, malnourished soldiers. Maybe I can impart some of the “feelings,” as that old colonel put it. Maybe you will remember.
This is what the highway looks like today:
These signposts mark the route north, every kilometer:
This is me, Tom Pfingsten, with my son:
And this is Justin McDonald, the other walker:
I should point out this is not a re-enactment. We’ll be wearing comfortable shoes. We’ll have plenty of water. No one will be threatening to kill us with bayonets if we walk too slowly. And, at the end, instead of prison camp we’ll head back to Manila for showers and a hearty meal with our families. Unlike the thousands of men who died of thirst or bled out along the road, our experience of Bataan will be relatively painless.
Still, with your help, this walk can become a powerful way to preserve the memory and pay tribute to those soldiers who suffered 70 years ago. Ultimately, we hope that our walk will be an enduring reminder of why we call our veterans “heroes.”
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.
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Full long-form story for Kindle, iPad or other e-reader.Estimated delivery:
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One copy of printed story, in full color, or an original, 8X10" print from the accompanying photo essay; plus previous reward tier.Estimated delivery:
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Online shout-out as a start-up supporter at TheSouthwest.org, plus all previous reward tiers.Estimated delivery:
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Participate in a Skype teleconference with Tom Pfingsten and Justin McDonald from the Philippines in the days preceding the walk, plus all previous reward tiers. Or choose to have the story of your family chronicled in writing by a professional journalist for you to keep and share with future generations, plus all previous reward tiers.Estimated delivery:
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Attend a post-walk lunch briefing with Tom Pfingsten and Justin McDonald, to be held in Los Angeles in the summer of 2012, plus all previous reward tiers. Or choose to have the story of your family chronicled in writing by a professional journalist and arranged with selected photos on a dvd for you to keep and share with future generations, plus all previous reward tiers.Estimated delivery:
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