This year, the MVJ community has seen tremendous growth, and we’re honored to have grown with all of you. The programs, processes and partnerships we’ve established in 2022 will continue to support our community for years to come.
In 2022 alone, we’ve gained more than 200 new members, held our first in-person convention, released a resource portal for reporters covering the military and veteran affairs, and put five veterans to work via internships and fellowships. We couldn’t have done it without the support of our community.
MVJ’s first in-person convention, #MVJ2022, brought together news organizations, journalism schools, media visionaries, and journalists in celebration of the MVJ community. This year’s convention featured two full days of panels, workshops, speakers, and a career fair of news organizations invested in increasing diversity among their reporters. #MVJ2022 had about 100 attendees – the perfect size for our first in-person conference meant to connect our community. We have big aims to grow our attendance for #MVJ2023. We want our future conventions to continue to be a way for our community to unite. We ask our members to engage in our convention planning and buy tickets early so we can treat our community to a premiere event.
All in all, MVJ hosted 20 events this year, with 18 hosted virtually thanks to support from the Knight Foundation. While our events this year were mostly virtual, we also hosted an in-person panel discussion in collaboration with the National Press Club. The discussion focused on the role of veterans in journalism and increased newsroom diversity. The panel featured MVJ’s executive director Zack Baddorf, Ron Nixon of the Associated Press, Bob Woodward of the Washington Post, and Allison Erickson, our Texas Tribune fellow.
We’ve also dedicated some time this year to growing the mentorship program, and we’ve continued to see a steady increase in participation. There have been 81 mentorship pairs throughout 2022, with seasoned journalists offering their time to support the career growth of veterans in journalism. That’s a growth of 31% since 2021 – and we expect the upward trend to continue in 2023. Please consider becoming a mentor in the new year!
In late 2021, the Ford Foundation awarded Military Veterans in Journalism a $200,000 grant. With this support and assistance from Disabled American Veterans and the Disabled Journalists Association, MVJ created a speakers bureau of veterans and trained them on disability reporting best practices this year. Now, our Speakers Bureau members are taking their training to newsrooms across the country, seeking to teach reporters how they can improve their coverage of disabled veterans and disability. If your newsroom is interested in a training session with the MVJ Speakers Bureau, please reach out to us today to schedule your session!
With support from News Corp Philanthropy, MVJ built an online portal of resources to improve reporting on military and veteran affairs this year. Our Military & Veteran Affairs Reporting guide features a style and cultural competency guide, a series of reporting tips, a veteran showcase, and an expert directory, all with the goal of giving reporters and newsrooms all the resources they need to improve their coverage in this space. We are honored to have contributed to more knowledgeable reporting on these issues and thank News Corp Giving for their support.
This year, News Corp Giving has provided support for another upcoming MVJ initiative: our Entrepreneurial Journalism Program. This program will provide veterans interested in starting their own news ventures with the knowledge, skills and resources to make their efforts sustainable at an early stage. Those interested in participating should keep an eye out for our next Founders Fellowship meeting, which we will hold within the next few weeks.
Thank you for your continued support throughout 2022. We are excited to continue supporting veterans in journalism in 2023 and beyond.
Marine Corps Vet / Photojournalist
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 https://www.mvj.network/.
Military Veterans in Journalism In Numbers
MVJ’s total number of members as of year-end is 692, a growth of 231 (33%) new members this year. That’s 29 more members than our 2022 goal.
We expect to see another 22% of membership growth in 2023 – or 200 new members within the calendar year.
A breakdown of MVJ members by military branch:
- Army: 45.2%
- Marine Corps: 18.1%
- Navy: 17.1%
- Air Force: 15.2%
- Coast Guard 1.1%
- National Guard: 1.0%
MVJ members average 10.5 years of service. 550 (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.
28.9% of MVJ members identify themselves as follows:
- Black or African American 13.4%
- Asian: 4.4%
- Native American or Alaska Native: 3.4%
- Other: 6.4%
In addition, 19.7% of our membership identifies as Hispanic, Latino, or of Spanish origin.
We could not be successful without the dedication of our team – who are predominantly military veterans, military spouses, and military family members.
MVJ has nine Core Team members (listed alphabetically):
- Casandra Burr, Community Engagement Manager
- Clyde Gunter, Team Member / Navy Veteran
- Devon Lancia, Partnerships Director
- Drew F. Lawrence, Sword & Pen Co-Host / Army Veteran
- Rich Dolan, Programs Manager / Army Veteran
- Russell Midori, President / Marine Corps Veteran
- Marcela Loor, Memberships Coordinator
- Sara Feges, Operations Manager
- Zack Baddorf, Executive Director / Navy Veteran
MVJ has six Board of Directors members, three of whom are female and three of whom are people of color (listed alphabetically):
- Babee Garcia, Board Member / Marine Corps Veteran
- Jen Paquette, Board Member / Military Spouse
- Priya Sridhar, Board Member / Navy Reservist
- Mike Gentine, Board Member
- Russell Midori, President / Marine Corps Veteran
- Zack Baddorf, Executive Director / Navy Veteran
Thanks to generous support from our funders, MVJ placed three veterans into six-month and 15-month fellowships and internships 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):
- Allison Erickson, Texas Tribune, Army Veteran
- Chip Lauterbach, Harrisonburg Citizen/CNN, Marine Corps Veteran
- Chris Janaro, CUNY/INN
- Devin Speak, NPR, Coast Guard Veteran
- Justin Meacock, CUNY/INN
MVJ has placed an additional two veterans into nine-month long fellowships through our CUNY Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism and INN collaborative program. The two veterans are currently attending the Newmark J-School’s 18-month Master’s in Journalism program. Upon graduation, they will begin their fellowships in two of INN’s nonprofit newsrooms.
We have also secured another internship spot for a veteran at the Washington Post for Summer 2023 and teamed up with McClatchy to offer five six-month fellowships for 2023.
In April 2022, MVJ sent eight veterans to join instructors Al Tompkins, Brendan Keefe and Ramón Escobar at the Poynter Institute in Saint Petersburg, Florida for the TV Power Reporting Academy. During this course, students studied ethical concerns, reporting techniques, proper use of sources and building relationships, and networked with civilian journalists from around the country. MVJ was able to send these attendees thanks to support from Craig Newmark Philanthropies.
The following vets participated in this training
- Jordan Sartor-Francis
- CS Muncy
- Noelle Wiehe
- Victor Rodriguez Tafoya
- Maximillian Boudreaux
- Gretchen Bayless Anderson
- Jason Delgado
- Darius A. Radzius
In October 2022, MVJ sent five veterans to the two-day NAB Show event in New York where they learned about the business of being hands-on and connecting with the right people, knowledge, skills and technology that propelled broadcast, media and entertainment.
- Aaron Haitsma
- Allie Delury
- Eleanor Nesimoglu
- Jeffrey Glover
- Veronica Mammina
In March 2022, MVJ launched a Speakers Bureau program where we selected 11 speakers that were provided with training on best practices in disability reporting by Disabled American Veterans, the Disability Media Alliance Project, and reporter Wendy Lu, who covers disability. This program was supported by the Ford Foundation, and we thank them for their generosity.
- Ben Brody
- Caron LeNoir
- Donna L. Cole
- Genaro J. Prieto
- J.P. Lawrence
- Jimmy White IV
- Joel Searls
- Kerri Jeter
- Raychel K. Young-Porter
- Russell Midori
After being trained, the veterans led their own training and presentations at local newsrooms in their communities. So far we have presented our training sessions at Stars & Stripes, Street Sense and WJXT. We have secured additional newsrooms and educational institutions that will receive the training in 2023.
As part of the same Ford Foundation-supported initiative, MVJ launched our Reporting Grants program to fund reporting by military veterans in journalism. This program helps aspiring journalists grow professionally in their reporting careers and publish quality stories about issues related to disabilities in the military veteran community. So far we approved reporting grants for eight people and awarded over $10,000.
In 2021, MVJ received a generous five-year grant from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for improvements to our mentorship program. This year, our team has improved the processes we use to pair military veterans with seasoned journalists who will serve as their mentors. We have also formalized, professionalized, and automated our mentorship program via the software Mentornity to ensure its consistency and reliability for mentors and protégés alike. Since making these changes, we have helped connect 92 mentors and mentees, and we currently have 119 mentors and 109 mentees in the program.
In early 2022, MVJ also started a new service – we now offer press credentials to our members. Any MVJ member who is working as a journalist, whether part time or full time, may apply for a press pass with Military Veterans in Journalism. This year we supplied 24 members with press passes.
Throughout the year, we hosted 18 events in collaboration with our partners.
- The Future of News with Phil Briggs and Major Garrett
- Introduction to CUNY Newmark J-School
- How to get a job and how to succeed in a job interview: Bill Lord WJLA
- Extremism in the Military: The Narrative
- Writing for The War Horse
- Introduction to Politico
- Sports Reporting with Scooby Axson
- Memoir Writing with Joan Ramirez
- The Fellowship in Global Journalism
- Getting Hired with Sightline Media Group
- Foreign Freelancing 101 with Steve Dorsey
- Entrepreneurial Journalism
- Investigative Reporting
- Data Journalism
- Newsroom Networking and Info Sessions (also known as our “Journey Through America’s Newsrooms” series):
- We Are the Mighty
- Sightline Media Group (Defense News and Military Times)
We thank the Knight Foundation for their support of MVJ’s career development events.
In October 2022, MVJ hosted its second annual (and first in-person) convention at the Reserve Officer Association headquarters in Washington, D.C. Panels at this year’s convention covered topics such as military veterans’ contributions to journalism as a whole, improving media coverage of disabled veterans, and the relationship between military veteran journalists and disinformation coverage. Other featured sessions and workshops informed attendees on the future of news, including a session on new tools for digital news gathering and a discussion around entrepreneurial journalism. The convention also featured a career fair, where recruiters from news organizations like CNN, Sinclair Broadcast Group, Politico and the Wall Street Journal could connect with veterans in journalism directly. Over 70 tickets were sold for this event – the perfect size for a community like ours to connect.
One month later, we officially announced the release of our Military & Veteran Affairs Reporting Guide at an MVJ-led panel discussion at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 11, 2022. This guide was compiled from a year-long research process during which Military Veterans in Journalism gathered data from various community surveys, interviews and secondary analyses. We are proud to say that the result of this process is a website and reporting guide that includes over 300 subject matter experts, 75 veterans in the journalism field, an in-depth style and cultural competency guide that covers eight different difficult topics in military and veteran affairs, and numerous tip articles and videos by reporters who are highly experienced in this space. The website and guide are publicly available at www.milvetreporting.org. MVJ thanks News Corp Giving for their generous support of this project.
MVJ’s main focuses in 2022 were diversifying our program offerings while increasing and diversifying our membership and creating meaningful connections with other organizations. We were able to do this thanks to support from our community, our team, and our funders and supporters. Developing new programs and connections to better support our members will continue to be a focus for us going into the new year.
In 2023, 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 the implementation of a dedicated and in-depth public fundraising plan and through grant-seeking, specifically looking for local philanthropic support and more high-net worth individuals to donate to support our efforts
- We will fund more internships and fellowships for our members, with a current goal of placing 5 vets in national newsrooms and 5 vets in local newsrooms.
- We will host 12 online events during the year in collaboration with our partners.
- We will strengthen our position as anr organization with thought leadership on military, veteran, and disabled 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 update the build of the MyMVJ portal to be more useful and user-friendly for our members.
- We will continue to develop our DEI policies and continue implementation on various DEI initiatives.
- We will improve on our in-person convention to ensure a year-over-year source of income to support our sustainability.
- Membership Diversifying: We aim to recruit more members while increasing diversity in our membership.
- We will continue to improve and maintain our membership outreach plan.
- We will host recruitment events every quarter, focusing on events for military spouses and non-veteran journalists who support our cause.
- Network Development: We aim to establish new partnerships and deepen existing ones.
- We will increase publicity within our network to promote our services, including through hosting joint events.
- We will strengthen our ties and collaboration with affinity organizations we established in 2022.