Over a year ago, MVJ formally launched as just an idea and a little website. We’ve grown a lot since then and in order to maximize our full potential to support our community, we are implementing some new changes in membership here:
Let me explain.
MVJ started small — without a full realization of just how much we as a community can do to support our fellow vets in journalism. We are now more than 300 members. We have an all-volunteer team of about 10. We have created multiple ongoing (paid) internship programs and have several more in the pipeline. We have more than 20 active mentorships pairing members like you with seasoned journalism pros. We have held a range of events (mostly digital, thanks COVID), including an amazing career fair.
Here’s a breakdown of what we did in the first year.
And so, Military Veterans in Journalism needs to grow as an organization. Aside from many internal efforts that I won’t bore you with, we need to diversify our revenue streams (in non-profit / business speak). We’ve been speaking with leaders of other organizations like the National Association of Hispanic Journalists to learn how they sustain and grow. (Our new membership structure shares some similarities with theirs. Interesting how that happened. Nowhere near as pricey as others.)
So the big question: what are we going to do with your money? It’s an important one and we will always be transparent about that. We have some minor backend costs like website fees, but the bulk of our budget is dedicated to real programmatic costs like paying for Adobe Premiere subscriptions for our upcoming workshop on video journalism, held in partnership with the University of Mississippi and FUJIFILM.
MVJ is never going to be a massive veterans organization bringing in millions of dollars every year. We have programmatic needs within our community but they are finite. We have big dreams (and if you know someone who can give us millions of dollars, hit me up). Point is: we are nimble and budget conscious. Every dollar we spend is carefully spent.
Next question: What do I get out of this? First of all, you’ll have bragging rights about being a member of MVJ. That’s pretty cool. But more importantly, we are offering you a range of unique programs and opportunities tailored specifically to vets in journalism. For example, our mentorship program pairs you with seasoned professionals. We offer (paid) internships through our media partners. (NPR received 20,520 applications for 27 internship spots this fall. One MVJ member was guaranteed a spot in the program.) We are developing year-long (paid) fellowships and we have some really exciting opportunities in the works that I can’t wait to share with you, once the details are hammered out.
As you’ll see, we have multiple membership levels with varying levels of annual fees:
- The vast majority of you will be Professional members with $30 due each year.
- Some of you will be Student members at $25 annually.
- Active duty service members dues are $20 per year.
Important: We want everyone to remain a member of MVJ. We are issuing no-questions-asked financial waivers each year. (Details on membership are included within the hyperlink of the first sentence.)
I know this is a lot but we want to be open with you about where we’re coming from and why these changes are necessary. You are always welcome to email me with ideas, thoughts, criticisms, whatever you want.
Executive Director, MVJ