Imagination is the only key to the future. Without it none exists - with it all things are possible.

—Ida Tarbell
Project Blog:
Northwest Navy News
This participatory site will serve the 140,000 active-duty Navy and Coast Guard members, reservists, base employees and retirees in the Puget Sound area with database-driven, interactive guides to housing, schools, military discounts, and a social network for military spouses and children coping with deployment and family relocation. Project leader Elaine Helm Norton, new media editor at The Daily Herald in Everett, Wash., and a former military beat reporter, envisions a “medium for military families in the region to connect with one another and also for journalists like me to connect with them. … Nobody in journalism or the military has done much online to engage” military families. Follow her progress here.

Ideas and inspiration from Navy wives

Thursday, August 28, 2008

A group of women that meets at the sprawling Navy support complex in Marysville, Wash., once a month while their husbands are deployed prepare for when their ship returns. The group’s leaders invited me to join them last Friday evening to get ideas for my project. I talked with the women while they worked on their own project—a surprise for the day their husbands return.

“I didn’t even know where to start,” one woman told me when I asked if she used any social networking sites to find support in the Puget Sound area. Another woman said she used to find activities and meet people, and several others said they connected with Navy wives on MySpace.

Several women said they used Web sites like, checked sex offender registries and called local police departments before they moved to the area to decide where they should live. Some relied on family or friends for advice. Others got suggestions from a Navy housing office and then did more research on their own.

One thing they mentioned that hadn’t occurred to me was that it would be helpful to list laws that vary from state to state, governing things like drivers licensing, car insurance, gun ownership and landlord-tenant responsibilities.

These women were inspiring and full of great ideas based on their experiences. I’m grateful they invited me to their gathering. I hope to meet with more groups like this and continue to learn from them as I move forward with my project.

   • Posted by Elaine Helm Norton on 08/28 at 02:11 PM

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Who's Blogging

Elaine Helm Norton

ELAINE HELM NORTON Elaine Helm Norton is the new media editor for The Herald newspaper in Everett, Wash., where she oversees news and multimedia content for She started her career in journalism as military affairs reporter at the Kitsap Sun in Bremerton, Wash.

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