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2021 Impact Report & 2022 Goal Setting

By December 31, 2021September 9th, 2022News

MVJ Family,

It has been another great year for us here at Military Veterans in Journalism, and we are honored to have shared it with all of you. This year, we have established programs and partnerships that will benefit our community for years to come.

Most notably, we held our first annual conference, put to work seven veteran journalists, held a series of webinars, and supported veterans in getting hired full-time in journalism. We could not have done it without our community.

This year saw the inauguration of an annual convention for Military Veterans in Journalism with #MVJ2021. Media organizations, visionaries, and journalists alike came together to showcase the work of vets in journalism, present live instructional webinars, and celebrate diversity in news media. This year’s convention featured two days of panels, speakers, and a career fair, and we raised $105,000 to support our mission. #MVJ2021 had 350 attendees, and we have big aims to grow our attendance for #MVJ2022. We want our future conventions to continue to be a way for our community to unite and we’ll keep you posted as these plans develop.

We also spent the year improving our mentorship program and we’ve seen participation grow steadily. In 2021, 62 mentorships are ongoing – with established journalists supporting vets as they navigate their careers in journalism. That’s a growth of 150% from when the program first started. Please consider becoming a mentor!

Despite the challenges presented by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic this year, we continued to grow and serve our members. We held all of our webinars and workshops as virtual events. We also convened online for #MVJ2021 and made sure attendees could celebrate safely at home – even with cocktail bombs! While we will continue hosting virtual events in 2022, we plan to host more in-person and hybrid events for our members.

In late 2020, Military Veterans in Journalism was honored to receive a $250,000 investment from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Thanks to this investment, we were able to provide four fellowships for veterans in local and national newsrooms, hold 18 career guidance webinars, host five Journeys Through America’s Newsrooms, and start a workshop series on radio broadcasting. We have more such events planned for 2022 and we will send out information on these events as the dates get closer.

This year, the Ford Foundation awarded Military Veterans in Journalism a $200,000 grant. With this support and assistance from Disabled American Veterans and the Disability Media Alliance Project, MVJ will build new programs to improve disability coverage in newsrooms nationwide. Together, we will create a speakers bureau of veterans and train veteran journalists on disability reporting best practices. MVJ also has a series of virtual events planned to guide disability coverage in newsrooms across the country. We will start these projects early next year, and we welcome the involvement of our community.

In 2022, Military Veterans in Journalism will lead the way to shape nationwide news coverage on veterans and military affairs. With support from News Corp Philanthropy, MVJ will build an online portal of resources to improve reporting on these issues. Our goal is to connect newsrooms with all the tools they need to improve, including experts on military subjects, a style guide, and a showcase of veterans in journalism. We are excited to drive more knowledgeable reporting on these issues.

Thank you for your continued support throughout 2021. We are excited to build out our support for veterans in journalism in 2022 and beyond.

Zack Baddorf
Executive Director, MVJ
Navy Vet / Former Journalist


About Military Veterans in Journalism

Military Veterans in Journalism is a professional association that builds community for vets, supports their career growth, and advocates for diversifying newsrooms through hiring and promoting more vets. Learn more at


Military Veterans in Journalism In Numbers

A breakdown of MVJ members by military branch:

  • Army: 43%
  • Navy: 17%
  • Marines: 20%
  • Air Force: 16%
  • Coast Guard & National Guard: 1.7%

MVJ members average 11.13 years of service. 454 (98.5%) of our members have served or are currently serving in the armed forces. Of the remainder, 0.8% are military spouses and 0.7% are civilian journalists who support veterans in journalism.

27.11% of MVJ members identify as people of color:

  • Black or African American: 13%
  • Asian: 4%
  • Native American or Alaska Native: 8%
  • Other: 9%

In addition, 23% of our membership identifies as Hispanic, Latino, or of Spanish origin.


At the end of 2021, MVJ had 461 members. We gained 142 members in 2021 (44.5% growth).

We are confident we will experience another 52.6% growth in 2022 – that’s 200 new members in the calendar year.

MVJ has been in operation for 31 months total, since May 2019.




Our Team

We could not be successful without the dedication of our team – who are predominantly military veterans, military spouses, and military family members.

MVJ has 9 Core Team Members (listed alphabetically):

  • Babee Garcia, Director of Digital Strategy & Content / Marine Corps Veteran
  • Clyde Gunter, Team Member / Navy Veteran
  • Devon Lancia, Partnerships Manager
  • Drew F. Lawrence, Operations Manager & Sword & Pen Co-Host / Army Veteran
  • Francisco Martínezcuello, Team Member / Marine Corps Veteran
  • Rich Dolan, Webmaster / Army Veteran
  • Russell Midori, President / Marine Corps Veteran
  • Sara Feges, Programs Manager
  • Zack Baddorf, Executive Director / Navy Veteran

MVJ has 6 Board of Directors members, 3 of whom are female and 3 of whom are people of color (listed alphabetically):

  • Babee Garcia, Director of Digital Strategy & Content / Marine Corps Veteran
  • Jen Paquette, Board Member / Military Spouse
  • Priya Sridhar, Board Member / Navy Reservist
  • Mike Gentine, MVJ General Counsel
  • Russell Midori, President / Marine Corps Veteran
  • Zack Baddorf, Executive Director / Navy Veteran

2021 Impact

Thanks to generous support from our funders, MVJ placed 7 veterans into six-month and year-long fellowships in newsrooms across the nation this year. The fellows were selected by an independent committee made up of journalists across the media spectrum (fellows listed alphabetically):

  • Alonzo Clark, CNN / Army Veteran
  • Brandon Wheeldon, Military Times / Army Veteran
  • Drew F. Lawrence, CNN / Army Veteran
  • Melissa Martens, Philadelphia Magazine / Marine Corps Veteran
  • Noelle Wiehe, Coffee or Die / Army Veteran
  • Thomas Hengge, The Philadelphia Inquirer / Army Veteran
  • Tim Lenard, The Nevada Independent / Army Veteran

MVJ will place an additional 2 vets in newsroom fellowship through our Newmark Veterans in Journalism Fellowship Program.

MVJ worked with NPR for the second year, securing an internship for military veteran Jeff Dean to work at the Business Desk. We also teamed up with NBC to find candidates for their internship program.

Additionally, 6 veteran journalists got jobs in newsrooms thanks in part to connections made through MVJ membership.

In 2021, MVJ created its Journalism Grants and Top Military Veterans in Journalism programs. We will begin the Ford Disability Inclusion Program and the News Corp online portal of resources in 2022.

This year, we hosted 24 events in collaboration with our partners.


    • Podcast Fundamentals


    • National Security & Environmental Reporting
    • Video Consortium: Documentary Filmmaking
    • Foreign Policy: Pitching
    • Intro to Kings College
    • Video Journalism Panel
    • Protest Coverage
    • Using Your Military Skills to Report on Conflict
    • Personal Branding with Phoebe
    • Intro to Investigative Reporters & Editors
    • Reveal Reporting Networks | Info Sessions
    • Broadcast Legend Al Thompkins Course (2 Webinars in series)
    • Temple University: Journalism 101
    • Integrating Storytelling in Various Careers
    • Solutions Journalism Network
    • Strategize Your Job Search with Phoebe
    • Media Law Bootcamp
    • Report for America

Journeys Through America’s Newsrooms:

    • KUNR
    • Hearst TV
    • Military Times
    • Stars & Stripes
    • NBC San Diego


2022 Goals

MVJ’s main focus in 2021 was to keep pace with our program growth by establishing revenue streams that would appropriately support MVJ’s programs. We were able to do this thanks to support from our community, the Knight Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Wyncote Foundation, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and Craig Newmark Philanthropies. Continuing to develop new revenue streams to support our programs will continue to be a focus for us going into the new year.

In 2022, MVJ has set goals in regard to the following categories.

  • Strategic Planning: We aim to diversify our program offerings so our community sees more from membership.
    • We will expand our revenue streams through fundraising and grants.
    • We will use our event communication & marketing strategy to effectively spread information on events.
    • We will fund more fellowships for our members, with a current goal of placing 3 vets in national newsrooms and 5-10 vets in local newsrooms.
    • We will host 3 Journeys, 10 webinars, and 3 workshops during the year.
    • We will position our organization as a home of thought leaders on military and veteran reporting as well as a resource for newsrooms across the nation.
  • Capacity Building: We aim to increase the benefit our members receive by improving our capacity to serve.
    • We will recruit dedicated volunteers and establish incentives for their dedicated involvement.
    • We will complete the build of the MyMVJ portal to provide a better online experience for our members.
  • Membership Diversifying: We aim to recruit more members while increasing diversity in our membership.
    • We will finalize and maintain a membership outreach plan.
    • We will host recruitment events every 3-6 months.
    • We will establish a more diverse group of members by reaching out to military spouses, family members, and active duty service members.
  • Network Development: We aim to establish new partnerships and deepen existing ones.
    • We will complete our Customer Relationship Management system build to improve communications tracking.
    • We will increase publicity within our network to promote our events and new programs.
    • We will reach out to similar organizations and create connections.
    • We will collaborate with 15-20 organizations on events.