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Sword and Pen – James LaPorta | Investigative Reporter

By Podcast

By Lori King, host of Sword and Pen

On this episode of Sword and Pen, host Lori King speaks with investigative reporter and former marine infantryman James LaPorta, who, after exiting the military, broke into journalism by cold calling editors and agreeing to work for bylines.

You are about to hear an inspiring story of how LaPorta, with no journalism experience or degree, tenaciously built a journalism career working for multiple mainstream news outlets, the first being the Washington Post.

LaPorta, who was recently laid off from The Messenger, also shares his story about that sudden job loss. The Messenger was a startup nonpartisan news website that hired more than 300 journalists and, in less than a year, laid them all off with no warning. He was the national security and military affairs reporter.

Listen as LaPorta talks about:

  • how he became a contributing writer for Hollywood, including This is UsFBI and Chicago P.D.
  • how he covered his two award winning stories
  • how he broke the story of contaminated water on the USS Boxer, a Wasp-class amphibious assault ship of the United States Navy
  • and what it’s like to have a military reporting beat

Find James LaPorta on his ⁠⁠website⁠⁠ | ⁠⁠X⁠⁠

Got an idea for a podcast guest or topic? Shoot Lori an email at ⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠lorikingblog@gmail.com⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠

Sword and Pen is a Military Veterans in Journalism production.

Sword and Pen – Mike Reilley: The Journalist’s Toolbox

By Podcast

By Lori King, host of Sword and Pen

On this episode of Sword and Pen, I talk about journalism tools with journalist, author and educator Mike Reilley, who just published his second textbook, The Journalist’s Toolbox: A Guide to Digital Reporting and AI, which just came out in January. This interactive textbook focuses on the “how” and “why” of digital reporting, and equips readers with all the skills they need to succeed in today’s multimedia reporting landscape.

Reilley, who teaches data and digital journalism at the University of Illinois at Chicago, has made it his mission since 1996 to continuously stock his trademarked online Journalism Toolbox with every kind of tool, resource and training you can imagine. It is truly astounding that he can keep track of it all, but considering his tool collection dates back to 1996, when he started with just a dozen tools, he’s figured it out.

Here is just a very tiny sampling of what you can find in the toolbox: AI-driven tools for fact checking, editing, headline writing, Geo tracking, prompt writing and building charts with ChatGPT Plug-in Diagr.am; YouTube training videos on everything from mobile journalism, creating MidJourney Vector Graphics, how to use Claude.ai in reporting and editing, how to use Canva and Google docs, and even finding diverse expert sources; links to the Broadcast Education Association, the Student Newspaper Survival Guide, FOIAonline.gov, and even AP Style Exercises Online.

If there’s a tool out there, he’s got it on his website.

Listen as Reilley talks about:

  • how military journalists can benefit
  • the origin of the Journalist’s Toolbox
  • how many new AI tools are available (about 2000) and old tools he deletes because they’re dead … each month!
  • a big of online journalism history
  • how news orgs were wrong to cannibalize their print product with a free version of a digital product

Social Media

⁠The Journalism Toolbox.ai⁠⁠⁠⁠ | Reilley on X ⁠@itsmikereilley⁠ | JournalistsToolbox.ai Substack

Got an idea for a podcast guest or topic? Shoot Lori an email at ⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠[email protected]⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠

Sword and Pen is a Military Veterans in Journalism production.

Military Veterans in Journalism Joins #ListenFirst Coalition

By News

MVJ joins a group of over 500 organizations working to bring Americans together across differences to build social cohesion.

Military Veterans in Journalism is proud to announce it is joining the #ListenFirst Coalition, a bridge-building collaborative effort of the ListenFirst Project. As a Coalition member, MVJ joins a group of organizations working across the country to give diverse communities opportunities to bridge divides.

The #ListenFirst Coalition was created in 2017 by four bridging organizations to aggregate, align, and amplify bridging efforts to reach farther and create greater impact. Bridging brings together people and perspectives that are disconnected or divided to cultivate understanding, trust, and productive disagreement that can lead to collaborative problem-solving and a way forward together. The nonprofit Listen First Project serves as the backbone of the Coalition and manages its campaigns that aim to turn down the heat, and save our country from tearing apart. Today, the #ListenFirst Coalition’s campaigns and events bring Americans together to reduce toxic polarization and build social cohesion, so we can find a way forward together.  

MVJ joins the #ListenFirst Coalition as an extension of the MVJ Counter-Disinformation Program and as a way to provide its community with opportunities to bridge divides via storytelling. The organization will collaborate with other coalition members on events and opportunities to bring members of the military-connected community together to listen and understand each other, find common ground, and help bridge the gap between military service and civilian viewpoints.

“We’re thrilled to be joining the #ListenFirst Coalition,” said Zack Baddorf, MVJ’s executive director. “Our participation and collaboration with this esteemed group of organizations will help us learn and develop our work, especially as we work to inoculate veterans from violent extremist propaganda.”

The list of coalition members spans over 500 national and local organizations, each with a diverse community and a focus on bridging divides to combat the toxic polarization in America. MVJ has previously worked with several of these member organizations, including Project Over Zero, to train journalists on ways to create positive dialogue and discourage politically-charged violence via journalism.

Navy & Army Veteran Caron LeNoir-Kelly To Join NBC10 & Telemundo62 in Philadelphia As MVJ-Wyncote Foundation Fellow

By News

January 18, 2023 – Military Veterans in Journalism is pleased to announce that NBC10 (WCAU-TV) and Telemundo62 (WWSI-TV) have selected Navy and Army veteran Caron LeNoir-Kelly to join its local newsroom team as an MVJ Fellow. This fellowship, supported by the Philadelphia-based Wyncote Foundation, is part of a new partnership between the Philadelphia NBC- and Telemundo-owned station and MVJ to increase the number of military veterans in their newsroom.

Caron LeNoir-Kelly is a journalist, radio host, artist, activist, and advocate. The founder of CARONISMedia Group and a podcasting pioneer, Caron has had a passion for journalism since childhood. Caron honorably served in both the US Navy and Army, and her experiences from service and as a formerly homeless disabled veteran inform her coverage of women, women veterans, and mental health issues.

“I am thrilled to join NBC10 and Telemundo62. Philadelphia is an amazing place, and I am honored to help tell the stories of its people. Military Veterans in Journalism is one of my most cherished communities. I continue to be amazed by how we lift each other up, continue to climb, and support the mission of increasing the number of veterans in America’s newsrooms. I am excited to have the leadership and guidance of both organizations in a new chapter of my life as a journalist and proud veteran.”

During this fellowship, LeNoir-Kelly will learn the ins and outs of Philadelphia news coverage on-air and online, plus work on new streaming programming.

“Supporting Caron with this opportunity is a powerful way to amplify diverse voices in our newsroom,” said Elizabeth Flores, Vice President of News for NBC10 and Telemundo62. “We embrace the value that Caron’s experience as a veteran brings to our team, and we are excited to create an inclusive space that nurtures the talent and experiences of military veterans. Together, we can significantly impact and ensure that all perspectives are represented in our stories.”

LeNoir-Kelly will spend six months in this fellowship, during which time she will make connections with some top local journalists. She has said she looks forward to contributing to thoughtful and nuanced coverage of a variety of issues in the Philadelphia area as she learns from the NBC10 and Telemundo62 team.

“The MVJ team is grateful for NBC10 and Telemundo62’s dedication to the inclusion of diverse voices, including those of veterans, within their newsroom. We are also incredibly grateful for the support of the Wyncote Foundation team, which made this fellowship possible,” said Zack Baddorf, MVJ’s Executive Director. “We are excited to support Caron’s growth under the NBC10 team’s guidance, and we look forward to the future of this new partnership.”

ABOUT NBC10 PHILADELPHIA / WCAU

Owned by NBCUniversal, NBC10 Philadelphia has been delivering local news, information and weather for more than 60 years, serving nearly six million viewers throughout Greater Philadelphia, the Lehigh Valley, South Jersey and Delaware. Viewers turn to NBC10 for the most up-to-date breaking news and weather on a variety of platforms, including online at nbc10.com and via mobile and social platforms. NBC10 produces more than 41 hours of local news programming per week. For more information, visit NBC10.com.

ABOUT TELEMUNDO62 PHILADELPHIA / WWSI

Owned by NBCUniversal, Telemundo62 / WWSI is NBC’s Owned Television Stations local station serving Spanish-speaking viewers throughout the Greater Philadelphia area, including 18 counties across Pennsylvania, South Jersey and Delaware. Telemundo62 viewers start their weekday mornings with hourly news cut-ins from 6 a.m.–11 a.m. and continue to receive the latest in local news and weather information during Al Mediodía, a 30 minute newscast airing weekdays at 12 p.m. Noticiero Telemundo62 is a locally produced, live Spanish-language newscast, airing weekdays at 5 p.m., 5:30 p.m., 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. Viewers turn to Noticiero Telemundo62 for local news, weather, sports and community coverage on-air and on the Telemundo62 app. Telemundo62 produces more than 13.5 hours of local, Spanish language news programming per week. For more information, visit Telemundo62.com.

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 www.mvj.network.

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MVJ Launches Counter-Disinformation Freelance Fund of $20,000

By Career Opportunities, News, Resources

Military Veterans in Journalism is pleased to announce the establishment of a new journalism fund as part of our commitment to combating disinformation within veteran and military communities. 

The MVJ Counter-Disinformation Freelance Fund will offer freelance journalists and newsrooms a unique opportunity to contribute to countering the spread of propaganda, false information, and extremism within the military and veteran community. 

The fund of $20,000 will be used to support the publication of stories that focus on propaganda and violent extremism in the military and veteran communities. The reporting fund is intended to focus on investigative and feature stories that examine these issues at an individual and group level as well as governmental and non-governmental responses to the challenge. 

“We know that bad actors actively seek out and prey on veterans and service members. We want to expose what they’re doing,” said MVJ Executive Director Zack Baddorf. “We are very excited to launch this new fund and support stories that make a difference within the military and veteran communities. We welcome freelance journalists and newsrooms to join us in creating this impactful storytelling.”

Journalists or newsrooms can submit their pitches directly to MVJ using this form. Freelancers will ideally have identified a potential partner publication that wants to work with them to publish their work. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Pitches will be reviewed by a committee formed by MVJ. The project ends in early 2025.

2023 Impact Report & 2024 Goal Setting

By News

Dear MVJ Members,

As we reflect on another dynamic and impactful year at Veterans in Journalism, I’m filled with pride for the strides we’ve made together as a community.

In 2023, our fellowship and internship programs reached greater heights as new partners joined prior partners to provide even more opportunities for our members nationwide. The success of these programs reinforces MVJ as a catalyst for impactful journalism careers for veterans and military spouses. At the same time, our flourishing mentorship program is fostering relationships that help new and long-time journalists alike navigate the complexities of the media landscape.

Our commitment to countering disinformation and improving media literacy in the military community remains unwavering. Throughout 2023, we equipped our counter-disinformation team with tools to combat propaganda effectively. From immersive in-person training sessions at the Poynter Institute and Medill’s Washington, D.C. campus to online sessions with a variety of training partners, program reporters and other MVJ members engaged in collaborative learning that strengthened their skills and will make a positive impact on the industry.

This year, our disability journalism program awarded $3,700 in journalism grants to amplify impactful reporting on disability and disabled veterans issues. Our new entrepreneurial journalism program created opportunities for MVJ members to start their own sustainable ventures and cover the topics most important to them. These two programs have supported impactful reporting this year and set our members up for a wealth of opportunities and continued growth.

At the end of the year, MVJ2023 in New York City brought together MVJ community members and supporters from newsrooms across the country. Supported by sponsors including CNN, Spectrum, DAV, and many others, this year’s convention featured workshops and panels on a variety of topics, among other networking opportunities. This year’s event provided a platform for veterans and military spouses in journalism to connect with each other, learn from other talented journalists in America’s biggest news organizations, and shape the future of media with their ideas. In the coming year, we hope to build on what this year’s convention started, creating an even greater opportunity for our community and supporters to join together.

This report encapsulates the essence of MVJ’s impact in 2023 and highlights our vibrant, supportive community. My heartfelt thanks to our members, sponsors and partners for making this year’s journey possible. Together, we will continue to provide opportunities for veterans to thrive in and meaningfully contribute to the media industry in 2024.

Zack Baddorf
Executive Director
Military Veterans in Journalism

Military Veterans in Journalism In Numbers

MVJ’s total number of members as of year-end is 905, a growth of 213 (30.7%) new members this year. That’s 13 more members than our 2023 goal.
We expect to see another 22% membership growth in 2024 – or 200 new members within the calendar year.

A breakdown of MVJ members by military branch:

  • Army: 42.9%
  • Marine Corps: 16.3% 
  • Navy: 16.0%
  • Air Force: 13.4%
  • Coast Guard 1.3%
  • National Guard: 0.9%

MVJ members average 10.5 years of service. 87.8% of our members have served and 13.3 % have served in multiple armed forces. Of the remainder, 1.3% are military spouses and 7.8% civilian journalists who support veterans in journalism.

 

MVJ members identify as follows:

  • White 62.2 %
  • Black or African American 13.5% 
  • Asian: 4.4% 
  • Native American 3.6%
  • Native Hawaiian 0.2% 
  • Other: 5.7%
  • Prefer not answer 10.1%

In addition, 24.1% of our membership identifies as Hispanic, Latino, or of Spanish origin.

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 ten 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
  • Lori King, Sword & Pen Co-Host / Army, National Guard & Air National Guard Veteran
  • Marcela Loor, Memberships Coordinator
  • Noelle Wiehe, Mentorship Manager / Army Veteran
  • Rich Dolan, Programs Manager / Army Veteran
  • Russell Midori, President / Marine Corps Veteran
  • Sara Feges, Operations Manager
  • Zack Baddorf, Executive Director / Navy Veteran

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

  • Jen Paquette, Board Member / Military Spouse
  • Kyra Davenport, Membership Voice Board Member / Army Veteran
  • Priya Sridhar, Board Member / Navy Reservist
  • Russell Midori, President / Marine Corps Veteran
  • Zack Baddorf, Executive Director / Navy Veteran

2023 Impact

Thanks to generous support from our funders and partners, MVJ offered seven fellowship and internship opportunities in newsrooms across the nation this year, two of which are currently in the selection phase. Participants were selected by an independent committee made up of journalists across the media spectrum. Please see below for an alphabetical-order listing of this year’s MVJ fellows and interns.

  • Allen Frazier, the Sun Herald
  • Caron LeNoir-Kelly, NBC10 & Telemundo62
  • Eve Sampson, the Washington Post
  • Joshua Carter, the Belleville News-Democrat
  • Sonia Clark, the Island Packet & Beaufort Gazette

MVJ has placed an additional veteran into a nine-month long fellowship through our CUNY Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism and INN collaborative program. Upon graduation in December 2023, Navy veteran Chris Janaro will begin his fellowship with New York nonprofit newsroom City Limits.

We have also secured another internship spot for a veteran at the Washington Post for Summer 2024 and teamed up with Gannett to offer two six-month fellowships in early 2024.

In March of this year, we launched a new initiative to counter propaganda and other narratives spread within the military and veteran communities by bad actors. The MVJ Counter-Disinformation Program, supported by the Knight Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation and Craig Newmark Philanthropies, is conducted in collaboration with a variety of partners in the disinformation and journalism spaces. We worked with Military Times to create a reporting team on a brand-new extremism and disinformation beat, with accomplished military and veterans reporters Nikki Wentling and Allison Erickson hired to the program. We also built an Advisory Board of 17 experts in this space and created a program marketing team to work alongside our reporters and engage the military and veteran communities online.

As part of the effort, we facilitated a variety of in-person and virtual training sessions on investigative best practices, solutions-based journalism and methods to engage communities away from extremist propaganda. While Nikki and Allison attended all sessions, a total of 34 other members of the MVJ community also participated. Below is a list of our training partners for the Counter-Disinformation Program. We thank each for working with us to provide these valuable learning opportunities.

  • PolitiFact
  • The Poynter Institute
  • Task Force Butler Institute, a counter-extremism nonprofit organization
  • Solutions Journalism Network
  • Project Over Zero

In May, MVJ partnered with NBCUniversal and the NBC News Group to host an in-person networking event in New York City. This event, hosted in the NBC News Group’s headquarters at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, brought together 40 military veterans who are members of MVJ with members of the NBCUniversal team. During the event, attendees had a premiere opportunity to connect with top journalists in the NBC network, hear from newsroom and company leadership, and engage with hiring managers.

This year, we hosted 27 career-enhancing events in collaboration with our partners.

  • Webinars:
    • Podcast 101 with PRX
    • Longform Journalism with Ben Kesling
    • Maynard 200 Journalism Fellowship
    • Disability Reporting with Scott Bourque and Shruti Rajkumar
    • Bridging the Military-Civilian Divide in Reporting
    • Telling Stories with Your Photography and Writing
    • Seeking Legal Support as a Journalist
    • Introduction to Allbritton Journalism Institute
    • Learn How to Leverage MVJCareers in Your Job Search
    • Veterans and Journalism at American University
    • Charting Your Journalism Career with McClatchy
    • Discover CityView Media
    • Connecting with & Reporting on the Next Generation of Service Members
  • Workshops:
    • Broadcast Journalism with Carey Harrison
    • Founders Fellowship Workshop
  • Talent Scout Sessions:
    • American University
    • Newmark J-School at CUNY
    • Report for America
    • Military.com
    • Sinclair Broadcast Group
    • POLITICO
    • Washington Post
    • Spectrum News
  • In-Person Events:
    • From Frontlines to Headlines with NBCUniversal
    • Bloomberg Newsroom Tour
    • Gannett Newsroom Tour
    • NBC News Group Newsroom Tour

We continued our Press Pass program all year and issued over 60 new passes. The MVJ Press Passes program is our commitment to recognizing our members as working journalists and facilitating their access to sources in their journalistic endeavors.

We also continued our Ford Disability Inclusion Program. Under the program’s journalism grants initiative, we awarded $3,700 in funding to members of our community to facilitate impactful reporting on disability issues. Below are some samples of the reporting that was produced:

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 continued to make improvements to the processes we use to pair military veterans with seasoned journalists who will serve as their mentors. We have welcomed a Mentorship Manager to the MVJ team who is responsible for managing our mentorship program in Mentornity, ensuring a positive experience for mentors and mentees, and taking care of participant requests and concerns. At the end of 2023, we have 120 mentors and 180 mentees in the program and 147 active mentorship pairings.

In late 2022, MVJ received a grant from News Corp Giving to support a new initiative: the MVJ Entrepreneurial Journalism Program. We have sent three MVJ members, Siobhan Cunningham, Ethan Rocke and Donna Cole, to the CUNY Newmark J-School’s 100-Day Entrepreneurial Journalism Creators Program, where they learned business, market analysis and engagement skills needed to make their news initiatives thrive early on. We have also held five webinars on news entrepreneurship and sustainability, attended by around 30 MVJ members each and taught by Jeremy Caplan, Paul Szoldra, and the aforementioned CUNY students. The final leg of this program, our Entrepreneurial Grants initiative, is ongoing. 

In the heart of New York City from October 5 to October 7, the Military Veterans in Journalism 2023 Convention gathered around 150 attendees for a three-day exploration of the future of media. With support from more than 15 sponsors, including major contributors CNN, Spectrum, DAV, and others, the event featured 12 diverse workshops and panels, from API training on mental health in journalism to discussions on disability, documentary and entrepreneurial journalism. A two-day career fair, combining in-person and virtual interactions, provided veterans with valuable opportunities to connect with potential employers. As MVJ reflects on these dynamic days, we remain committed to shaping a media industry where veterans not only find their place but thrive in shaping its narrative.

2024 Goals

MVJ’s strategic vision for 2024 encompasses four key pillars: general sustainability, the expansion of our convention and sponsorships, the growth of our counter-disinformation program, and overall organizational development.

General Sustainability. In 2024, MVJ is committed to enhancing general sustainability through:

  • Developing and implementing programs and projects that reduce dependency on one revenue channel and diversify our nonprofit revenue streams.
  • Strategizing and executing an in-depth public fundraising plan.
  • Strengthening MVJ’s position as a thought leader on military, veteran, and disabled veteran reporting.

Growing Annual Convention and Sponsorships. In 2024, MVJ aims to elevate our annual convention and increase sponsorships through:

  • Attracting a higher number of participants to MVJ2024.
  • Expanding the network of sponsors and partners for the convention, perhaps involving some local partners outside of journalism itself.
  • Facilitating enhanced networking and learning opportunities during the convention.
  • Implementing other strategies to make the convention a significant source of revenue for MVJ.

Growing the MVJ Counter-Disinformation Program. Building on the current successes of the counter-disinformation program, we will expand the program in the coming year by:

  • Extending the program’s impact to local communities of military families and veterans.
  • Collaborating with a broader range of partners to amplify the program’s influence.
  • Actively contributing to efforts combating disinformation and improving media literacy skills in partnership with other organizations, such as We the Veterans and Military Families.
  • Continuously measuring and assessing the program’s effectiveness in achieving its goals.

General Organizational Growth. MVJ’s commitment to organizational growth in 2024 includes:

  • Refining and expanding existing programs to better serve members.
  • Expanding the number of internships and fellowships, aiming to place 4 vets in national newsrooms and 7 in local newsrooms.
  • Hosting a minimum of 15 online events throughout the year in collaboration with partners.
  • Introducing innovative initiatives to provide members with even more opportunities.
  • Fostering a dynamic environment that nurtures the professional development of MVJ members.
  • Actively monitoring and assessing the impact of programs on member growth and satisfaction.
  • Exploring and implementing strategies to broaden the scope and reach of existing initiatives.

Veteran To Join City Limits as Part of MVJ-INN-Newmark J-School Collaboration

By News

Military Veterans in Journalism is pleased to announce Navy veteran Chris Janaro’s selection for a nine-month fellowship with City Limits, a nonprofit newsroom identifying urban problems and exploring solutions through the lens of New York City. Thanks to support from Craig Newmark Philanthropies and help from the Institute for Nonprofit News, this fellowship will allow Janaro to expand his portfolio after graduating from the City University of New York’s Newmark J-School.

This fellowship is part of a collaborative effort between MVJ, CUNY and INN that began in 2021. Veterans who are members of MVJ apply to attend Newmark J-School’s 16-month M.A. in Journalism, M.A. in Engagement Journalism or M.A. in Journalism with a bilingual concentration. Upon graduation, these MVJ members are hired by newsrooms that are members of INN — a national network of nonprofit, nonpartisan news organizations. The fellowships allow these individuals to build portfolios of journalistic work and form a network of peers, while the educational component gives them the foundation for career success.

MVJ member and Navy veteran Chris Janaro will join the City Limits team after his recent graduation from Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY. Photo courtesy of Chris Janaro.

“As a career changer, I am grateful for MVJ’s support and encouragement since day one of this incredible program for aspiring veteran journalists,” said Janaro of this opportunity. “I am excited to work for such an esteemed non-profit newsroom as City Limits, which will allow me to seamlessly transition into a full-time reporting role that serves the common good. Knowing this serves as a great motivator, and I can’t wait to get started!”

As a fellow with City Limits, Janaro will cover zoning, land use and development in the New York City area, with a special focus on how these issues affect the city’s veterans. He is the first MVJ member to receive a fellowship under this program.

“Veterans are vastly under-represented in the news media despite our nation having been at war for more than 20 years,” said Zack Baddorf, MVJ’s executive director. “This partnership creates a unique opportunity for military vets to get a jump-start into the news world, where their lived experience, expertise and public trust are desperately needed.”

Craig Newmark Philanthropies has previously supported MVJ in partnership with the Poynter Institute with a fellowship program and online educational training. Most recently, the philanthropic organization has supported MVJ’s Counter-Disinformation Program, which aims to counter the spread of disinformation and extremist propaganda within military and veteran circles.

One fellowship slot remains in this program for veterans interested in furthering their career and education. Interested applicants should first apply with Newmark J-School and plan to complete their 16-month master’s degree program. For more information, please see our earlier release on this program.

About the Institute for Nonprofit News

The Institute for Nonprofit News strengthens and supports 300 independent news organizations in a new kind of media network: nonprofit, nonpartisan and dedicated to public service. From local news to in-depth reporting on pressing global issues, INN’s members tell stories that otherwise would go untold – connecting communities, holding the powerful accountable and strengthening democracy. Learn more at inn.org.

About the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY

The Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism, founded in 2006, is a public graduate journalism school based in the heart of New York City’s media capital. With affordable tuition and extensive scholarship support, it prepares students from diverse economic, racial and cultural backgrounds to produce high-quality journalism. The school offers 16-month master’s degree programs: M.A. in Journalism, M.A. in Engagement Journalism, and M.A. in Journalism – Bilingual Program (English/Spanish). Through the school’s J+ division, which offers online and hybrid executive training programs, seasoned journalists gain the skills to step into leadership roles and launch modern business models and news products. The Newmark J-School is also home to three unique centers and initiatives: the McGraw Center for Business Journalism; the Center for Community Media; and the Journalism Protection Initiative.

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 www.mvj.network.

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MVJ Announces First Membership Voice Board Member

By News

Welcoming Kyra Davenport to the MVJ Board of Directors.

December 27, 2023 — Military Veterans in Journalism welcomes Army veteran and freelance journalist Kyra Davenport to its Board of Directors. With a deep and varied range of experiences across military service, journalism, entrepreneurship, and community engagement, Davenport brings a vibrant perspective to the Board as MVJ’s first Membership Voice Board Member.

Davenport is an entrepreneur with three exciting small businesses: a trauma-informed yoga business named Reset Yoga Collective LLC, a communications company, KD Communications LLC, and a vegan food truck launching in 2025 named Happier Vegan LLC.

Davenport is an Army veteran with 12 years of service in the Army. She has more than a decade of experience as a freelance reporter and working as communications professional for the government and private sector, during which time she has written for DC-based local news outlets, LA-based magazines, and has worked on a broadcast news for the Library of Congress Veterans History Project. She has also covered the Obama Administration as an independent blogger. As a graduate of Tuskegee University and Howard University, Davenport enjoys community service and assisting veterans in the DC and New Orleans communities in her free time. She also loves teaching yoga and eating local vegan cuisine.

As a member of the Military Veterans in Journalism community, Davenport steps into this new role ready to advocate for MVJ members and guide the organization in service of its membership. She will carry out a two-year term as the Membership Voice Board Member and hopes to be of service to the MVJ community.

“To be a leader is to be a servant. As long as I am serving my community and doing something that makes someone’s life and overall quality of life better then I am operating in what I feel is my chosen purpose,” said Davenport of her new role.

Military Veterans in Journalism extends a warm welcome to Kyra Davenport as she joins the MVJ Board of Directors in this new role. We look forward to the collaboration, innovation and community insight that her presence will bring.

MVJ Welcomes New Member to Advisory Board

By News

Alberto B. Mendoza joins MVJ in an advisory role

December 19, 2023 — Military Veterans in Journalism is pleased to announce the addition of journalist, nonprofit leader and diversity advocate Alberto B. Mendoza to its Advisory Board. Currently the managing director of the John S. Knight Journalism Fellowships at Stanford, Mendoza brings a wealth of expertise in empowering diverse voices and transforming media landscapes to advise the MVJ team.

Alberto B. Mendoza, current managing director for the John S. Knight Fellowships at Stanford, joins the Military Veterans in Journalism Advisory Board.

In his current role, Mendoza works to recruit candidates that reflect the variety of voices within the news industry. He previously served as the Executive Director of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) and helped the organization develop lasting membership and revenue streams. Mendoza also led the creation of the Hispanic Cultural Competency Handbook and founded palabra, an NAHJ platform amplifying stories within the Hispanic community.

Mendoza’s dedication to creating and bringing about change extends into community advocacy. He has served as president and CEO of the Coalition for Clean Air, an organization dedicated to policy advocacy in California, and created Honor41.org, a nonprofit platform providing a space for Latinx LGBTQ+ individuals to share their stories. He is also on the advisory boards of the Pivot Fund and the TransLatina Coalition.

“We are thrilled to officially welcome Alberto to the MVJ Advisory Board,” said Zack Baddorf, MVJ’s Executive Director. “For the past three years, his advice on strategy and fundraising has helped me grow as a nonprofit leader, and I’m grateful for his guidance. His unparalleled dedication to amplifying underrepresented voices and driving tangible change aligns perfectly with our mission at MVJ, and we believe Alberto’s wealth of experience and advice will be incredibly helpful in steering our organization’s future.”

Military Veterans in Journalism extends a warm welcome to Alberto B. Mendoza as he joins the MVJ Advisory Board. We look forward to learning from him in the near future and to seeing the collaboration his addition will bring.

Military Veterans in Journalism Joins in Launch of Bedrock As Founding Partner

By Resources

MVJ joins a group of diverse national organizations as part of this new bipartisan collaborative partnership aiming to fight hate-fueled violence across the United States.

Military Veterans in Journalism announces today it is joining Bedrock, a bipartisan organization with the goal of preventing hate-fueled violence and disrupting the normalization of extremist groups in the United States. As one of Bedrock’s founding partners, MVJ joins an impressive list of supporting organizations that will help guide the organization in its goals.

Bedrock is the operational culmination of a nationwide listening tour launched at the White House United We Stand Summit in September 2022 by founding organization Dignity.us. This tour consisted of interviews with hundreds of stakeholders across 50 states, U.S. territories, and tribal lands. Interviewed stakeholders included hate-fueled violence experts, practitioners, and targeted community members, each of whom provided insights about what could reverse the increasing trend in hate-fueled violence.

MVJ joins Bedrock as an addition to MVJ’s counter-disinformation program, which aims to counter the spread of disinformation and extremist propaganda in veteran and military communities. The organization will collaborate with other founding partners of Bedrock to implement prevention tactics across communities recruited for violent and extremist acts. They will also work together with the partners to disrupt the normalization of such violent acts within the military and veteran spaces.

The list of founding partners spans 51 national organizations, each with a diverse focus and community, coming together across political lines to combat targeted violence. MVJ has previously worked with several of these partners, including Task Force Butler Institute, to train journalists on researching bad actors and countering extremist recruitment efforts via journalism.

MVJ remains committed to the nonpartisan nature of its counter-disinformation program and hopes this partnership will enable future successes in preventing veterans from becoming the targets of extremist recruitment.

The Value of Internships

By Resources

One of the hardest parts of leaving the military is deciding what to do next with your life. I was a Blackhawk crew chief in the Army, so journalism wasn’t exactly a lateral move for me. After years of stumbling through community college and graduate programs, I’d finally found myself in the professional world without much guidance to help me figure out what to do next. Military Veterans in Journalism has been extremely helpful with that transition by connecting me with mentors and placing me at NPR for a six-month internship that helped bridge the gap between my schooling and professional life.

Photojournalist and veteran Jeffrey Dean at work. Photo courtesy of Jeffrey Dean.

When I was first approached about applying for the MVJ internship at NPR, I initially dismissed the notion. The position was for a writer, and being primarily a photojournalist, I didn’t see how six months of writing would help me advance my career goals. But, as we all know, opportunities in this world can be few and far between at times. My soon-to-be editors assured me that this internship would be curated to help me learn and grow as a well-rounded journalist while also providing an opportunity to work at one of the premier news outlets in the country. I was sold.

While at NPR, I spent the first three months on the business desk, where I learned how to work with a team to divide up coverage and tackle important news stories like tariffs and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on businesses. I learned what the editing process for a written piece looked like. I received constant guidance and feedback on story-telling techniques and how to shape a narrative. I was able to photograph my stories and work with the visuals team, and I even got to produce an audio piece that aired on NPR’s radio broadcast (still a highlight of my fledgling career!).

After three months on the business desk, I switched to the digital news hub, where I first began learning how to curate NPR’s news stories on their different audio platforms. True to my editor’s word, when we realized that this didn’t exactly align with my professional goals, I was shifted to the breaking news team. There, I had the opportunity to work on news stories such as the invasion of Ukraine and cover the deadly tornadoes in western Kentucky. These experiences gave me valuable insight into how a large news organization decides what to report on and how to cover it. I worked with my colleagues as a team to ensure that people got important information in a timely fashion, lessons I carry with me to this day on every assignment.

Although I entered my internship unsure what I would get from the experience, I left with a body of published work that I am extremely proud of. I was able to work with some of the top professionals in the field and emerged feeling as though I was ready to be a professional. I found my colleagues treated me with respect due to my service and regularly asked me about my perspective on different news stories.

I can’t express enough how important I feel it is for veterans such as ourselves to be a part of the rapidly evolving media landscape and I am eternally grateful to MVJ for helping me and encouraging other veterans to participate in internships such as this one, even if it seems as though it doesn’t align with your goals. Every experience will help you grow as a journalist if you enter them with an open mind and a willingness to learn. These experiences also provide the tools you need to get fast and accurate information to the public about the world around them.

Check out some of Jeffrey’s sports photojournalism work below.

Jeffrey is a former MEDEVAC Crewchief for the US Army who is currently a freelance photojournalist. He has worked with the Associated Press, Getty Images, NPR, NBA, Reuters, Bloomberg, Drawbridge Digital, The Big Ten Conference, and AFP, as well as other national and international organizations. He also wrote for NPR’s Business Desk as well as their Digital News Hub. He produced a series of films for Hearst Television’s Very Local series.

Military Veterans in Journalism Partners with the Wyncote Foundation and NBCUniversal on Paid Fellowship in Philadelphia Newsroom

By Career Opportunities, News

October 19, 2023 – Military Veterans in Journalism announced today a new partnership with NBCUniversal and the Wyncote Foundation to launch a new fellowship designed to employ a veteran as a journalist in NBCUniversal’s Philadelphia affiliate newsroom.

Thanks to support from the Wyncote Foundation, veterans who are members of Military Veterans in Journalism are now eligible to apply for this paid, in-person, six-month reporting fellowship at NBC10 that will start in early November. The chosen fellow will assist in filling critical coverage gaps on the military and veteran affairs beats in the Philadelphia area.

“Supporting a veteran with a passion for journalism is not only a great opportunity for NBC10 but also a powerful way to amplify diverse voices in our newsroom,” said Elizabeth Flores, VP of News for NBC10 and Telemundo62. “We embrace the value that a veteran brings to our team, and we are excited to create an inclusive space that nurtures their talent and experiences. Together, we can make a significant impact and ensure that all perspectives are represented in our stories.”

This fellowship program provides an opportunity for a military veteran journalist to further develop their broadcast news skills and build both a network of world-class journalists and a portfolio of work. During the program, the selected fellow can expect to work with newsroom management and news team members to support news coverage and production, work with producers and reporters on live shots and coverage, and learn and assist with fast-channel content publication.

“Military Veterans in Journalism is proud to continue our collaborative work with NBCUniversal to diversify America’s newsrooms through the hiring of more military veterans,” said Devon Lancia, MVJ Partnerships Director. “This fellowship presents a great opportunity for vets to help produce news that makes a difference in the Philadelphia community. We’re pleased to provide this fellowship and thankful for the Wyncote Foundation and NBC10 team’s support.”

The chosen fellow will report to NBC10’s news director. Veterans who are recent college graduates, transitioning or early in their civilian journalism careers are encouraged to apply for this opportunity. Ideal fellowship candidates will have some experience reporting and writing on deadline for a general audience. The fellow will work 40 hours per week and earn $20 per hour for the duration of their fellowship.

Applicants for this internship may apply online with Military Veterans in Journalism. The deadline to apply is October 31 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time.

Sword and Pen – Let’s Talk: Four MVJ Convention Interviews

By #MVJ2023, Podcast

by Lori King, host of Sword and Pen

The Sword & Pen podcast booth at the MVJ2023 Convention. Here, Lori is joined by podcast guest Juan Carpanzano. Photo courtesy of Russell Midori.

On this special episode of Sword and Pen, I had a wonderful opportunity to speak with four attendees during the 2023 MVJ Convention held at the New York Athletic Club on Oct. 5-7 in New York City. This was the first time the Sword and Pen podcast was recorded during the convention, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to have such diverse perspectives on the show.

As I sat at my remote podcast booth during the career fair, I cajoled unsuspecting guests to join me behind the mic. What made it more special was the background chatter of veterans, their spouses and those who support our MVJ mission as they met with media companies and journalism schools.

Dan Clare, DAV’s chief communications and outreach officer, pictured here at their booth at the MVJ2023 DAV Career Fair. Photo courtesy of Lori King.

First up at the mic was Dan Clare, a Marine Corps and Air National Guard veteran. He was a military public affairs officer for 17 years and is now the director of communications for DAV, Disabled American Veterans, who sponsored the MVJ Career Fair.

Dan talked about his experience as the burn pit whistleblower; the value of having veteran voices in the media; and about his hope that veterans found jobs in newsrooms during the career fair. Not only did Dan operate a booth for DAV at the career fair, but he also sat on the Shaping News Coverage of Disabilities panel.

NBC News producer Patrick Martin, right, joins the NBC News team for the MVJ2023 NBC Newsroom Tour. Photo courtesy of Lori King.

Next up was Patrick Martin, an army airborne infantry veteran from Charlotte, North Carolina. He graduated from Columbia University – Graduate School of Journalism – and is now a producer for the NBC News Health and Medical Unit. Patrick came to the convention to give a tour of the NBCUniversal Studio at 30 Rockefeller Plaza. He also sat on the NBC panel.

During the podcast he talked about how important it is to get veterans in newsrooms, and his role as an NBC producer.

Evgenia Vlasova enjoys the MVJ2023 Opening Reception. Photo courtesy of Tim Belizaire.

Evgenia Vlasova is a Brooklyn-based video producer, editor and educator. She has been teaching at the New York Film Academy for eight years. Evgenia is not a veteran, but she is a member of MVJ.

She spoke about being a broadcast journalist in her homeland of Russia before she came to the United States, and how the Russian media is government controlled. She is currently seeking her citizenship. She also talked about the power of storytelling.

Juan Carpanzano hails from Bogota, Colombia and lives in New York City. He is a marine veteran who spent five years with Combat Camera.

Juan Carpanzano takes photos during a panel. Photo by Lori King

Juan Carpanzano takes photos during a panel. Photo courtesy of Lori King.

He is an advance media studies major at Fordham University, concentrating in photojournalism. He talked about how everyone has a voice, and offered this for advice: Push, push, push, and be confident in yourself!

Connect with the guests!

Dan Clare: ⁠X | DAV.org

Patrick Martin: LinkedIn profile | NBC Health News

Evgenia Vlasova: Instagram

Juan Carpanzano: Instagram

Sword and Pen is a Military Veterans in Journalism production, and is brought to you monthly by host Lori King

Lori King: X ⁠⁠⁠@intro2pj⁠⁠⁠ | Instagram | Website

Got an idea for a podcast guest? Shoot me an email at ⁠⁠⁠[email protected]⁠⁠⁠

Military Veterans in Journalism Celebrates Labor Day with Membership Promotion

By Resources

This weekend, MVJ celebrates the spirit of hard work and determination that keeps journalism alive. We appreciate all the hard work our community of military veterans, service members and spouses puts in to keep America informed, and we are pleased to announce that Military Veterans in Journalism will provide a free year of membership to veterans and military spouses who join our community during Labor Day weekend.

“We’ve seen the outsized impact MVJ’s programs have had on our members’ careers and growth,” said MVJ President Russell Midori. “And we’ve also seen our members’ impact on the newsrooms we’ve partnered with. We want to ensure that all veterans and spouses who need these resources to jump-start their careers can take full advantage of them.”

It typically costs $30 for a professional journalist to join the organization, but any new members who sign up from September 1 through September 4 are eligible to take advantage of this opportunity. Once veterans or spouses become members, they receive access to robust resources to support their career growth. These include exclusive job opportunities and paid internships and fellowships in local and national newsrooms, hiring and networking events and webinars, access to fully funded basic and advanced journalism training and certification programs, and a widely praised mentorship program that pairs world-class, highly experienced journalists with members.

To get a free year through this promotion, please reach out to MVJ Membership Coordinator Marcy Bach at [email protected]. We look forward to welcoming more military veterans and family members into our community and celebrating all the hard work and service our community does to bolster America’s news media.

Military Veterans in Journalism’s Work on Tackling Disinformation and Extremism

By Resources

The spread of malicious information and extremist narratives within veteran and military communities presents a pressing challenge. Groups involved in spreading these narratives target military and veteran community members, hoping to use their voices to normalize extremist ideas and bolster their perceived credibility, patriotism and professionalism – and it is working. Experts in domestic terrorism and law enforcement analysts “estimate that veterans and active-duty members of the military may now make up at least 25 percent of militia rosters.”  

As these groups gain support within the community via targeted disinformation, the narratives they perpetuate undermine public trust in our nation’s institutions and pose significant risks to national security and the well-being of those who have served. 

I have spent much of my career deeply involved in countering disinformation and extremism. I’ve developed counter-narratives against ISIS and Al Shabaab propaganda in collaboration with the International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism (ICSVE) and contributed to NATO research on Russian disinformation in the Central African Republic, among a variety of other opportunities. I have also had the privilege of putting my knowledge to use as an adjunct professor at NYU teaching about disinformation. As the executive director of Military Veterans in Journalism, these experiences in tackling disinformation have provided me the expertise to lead our organization’s efforts in safeguarding the integrity of information within military and veteran communities.

Launched in January 2023, MVJ’s Counter-Disinformation Program aims to tackle this issue by providing investigative, nonpartisan reporting, countering false narratives, and actively engaging within our military and veteran community to prevent recruitment to these violent extremist groups. This program is a demonstration of Military Veterans in Journalism’s dedication to supporting the welfare of our military and veteran communities while building public trust in American institutions, including the news media, through veteran voices.

We have been honored to partner with a variety of well-known, expert organizations in support of our program goals. Program partner newsrooms include Military Times, Military.com, Task & Purpose and The Associated Press. We have also collaborated with The Poynter Institute, PolitiFact, Task Force Butler Institute, the Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism, Project Over Zero and the Solutions Journalism Network on training initiatives to ensure our reporters are putting out the best journalism possible. Advisory collaborators include the University of Alabama’s Veterans and Media Lab, We the Veterans and Military Families, and START at the University of Maryland. Through these collaborations, we have equipped the program team with the knowledge and skills to effectively tackle the issues at hand.

With the program now underway, we want to take a moment to emphasize our organization’s objectives and values regarding how we are approaching this complex challenge. 

Our focus is on combating violent extremism and protecting our nation, irrespective of political affiliations. We are aware of the efforts by certain extremist groups to exploit the military veteran community and capitalize on its perceived credibility. This exploitation undermines the values we hold dear and poses a threat to our country. It also weakens the broader community when veterans are painted and characterized as extreme.

This is not a partisan issue for us at MVJ. For us, this is an issue of the potential extremist propaganda has to turn the freedom of belief veterans have sacrificed to protect into negative, harmful action. It’s about the actions these groups are driving veterans to take that harm our nation.

Countering disinformation is a complex and ongoing challenge. We are dedicated to refining our approach in collaboration with partners and experts in the field. Our program advisory board, established to guide our reporters in their coverage, consists of 11 such partners and experts. They will help us establish baselines for success, provide advice throughout implementation and guide coverage toward timely and pertinent issues within the malicious information space.

Our approach also involves engaging with the veteran and military communities. By employing veteran reporters and journalists, we aim to enhance trust and authenticity in our reporting. We recognize that trust is crucial in challenging disinformation and fostering meaningful dialogue, and that’s why we’ll be implementing a variety of tactics across social media and other online forums to directly engage with community members. We’ll be aggregating reporting in an online portal separate from newsroom sites.

While it is important to address the presence of extremism within some veteran groups, we want to emphasize that the vast majority of veterans and military members are not violent extremists. However, we know that those limited few who do turn to the extremes have an outsized influence, so we have an obligation to prevent their numbers from rising. We will continue to work with our partners to safeguard our nation, protect our community, and empower veterans and military members against the influence of violent extremist groups.

We welcome your questions, thoughts and suggestions on this effort. Feel free to email me at [email protected]. For more information and updates on our counter-disinformation program, please watch our website for updates as we navigate this complex challenge.

Military Veterans in Journalism Opens Membership Voice Board Member Seat

By News

Military Veterans in Journalism is making a big change to give our members the opportunity to have a direct impact on the future of our organization. The MVJ team is opening a seat on our Board exclusively for a member of our community. Our team values the unique perspectives, experiences and commitments to journalism our members display, and we believe they are the best candidates to help us guide and shape the future of the organization that serves them.

Apply Today
Application deadline: July 28, 2023

Note: Only MVJ members are eligible to apply for this position.

MVJ Membership Voice Board Member Seat Expectations

MVJ’s Board members play a vital role in providing first-hand insights to improve the organization while serving as representatives of our community. By setting aside a Board seat for one of our members, we aim to enhance our team’s understanding of areas for improvement and determine the best path forward for MVJ with regard to supporting our membership. Each member in this Board role will have a term of two years, providing an opportunity for long-term commitment and impact within our community.

Each individual Board member is expected to:

  • Possess a comprehensive knowledge of MVJ’s mission, policies, programs, and organizational areas of need.
  • Diligently read and comprehend the organization’s financial statements.
  • Act as an active advocate and ambassador for MVJ, fully engaging in identifying and securing the necessary financial resources and partnerships to advance its mission.
  • Utilize personal connections, networks, and resources to foster collective action that enables the organization to fully achieve its mission.
  • Assist in identifying personal connections that can contribute to MVJ’s fundraising efforts and enhance its reputation.
  • Prepare for, attend, and actively participate in Board meetings.
  • Fully participate in one or more Board committees.
  • Adhere to the organization’s bylaws, policies, and Board resolutions.
  • Maintain strict confidentiality regarding all of MVJ’s internal matters.

Board members will be expected to contribute in at least one of the following ways: a) providing financial support, b) securing donations, or c) offering their time and expertise in various operational aspects of the organization.

As MVJ’s highest leadership body, the Board has the following responsibilities to fulfill its fiduciary duties:

  • Help shape the mission and purposes of the organization.
  • Select and evaluate the performance of the chief executive.
  • Engage in strategic and organizational planning.
  • Ensure strong fiduciary oversight and financial management.
  • Facilitate fundraising and resource development.
  • Enhance the organization’s public image.
  • Assess its own performance as the governing body of the organization.

Any communication with outside organizations regarding MVJ will be coordinated with MVJ leadership to ensure consistency and alignment with our goals and objectives.

We invite you to seize this incredible opportunity to be part of our passionate team driving positive change in the media industry for military veterans. Thank you for your ongoing support and dedication to MVJ.

Three Veterans to Join McClatchy Newsrooms as 2023 MVJ Fellows

By Resources

Two more fellowships opened at San Luis Obispo and State College newsrooms.


SACRAMENTO, CA July 5, 2023
Military Veterans in Journalism is pleased to announce that McClatchy has selected three veterans to join its local newsrooms as part of the McClatchy Veterans in Journalism Fellowship program. The selections come after an early March announcement of a new partnered program designed to employ more veterans as journalists serving their local communities.

“Military Veterans in Journalism is proud to have built this partnership with McClatchy to help jumpstart veterans’ careers and add further diversity to local newsrooms,” said Zack Baddorf, MVJ’s Executive Director. “We are grateful to the McClatchy team for its dedication to diversity and the inclusion of veteran voices in its local coverage, and we look forward to seeing these outstanding journalists grow within their communities.”

McClatchy and Military Veterans in Journalism are also announcing the addition of two more in-person fellowship spots in this year’s program. These new positions with The Tribune in San Luis Obispo, California and the Centre Daily Times in State College, Pennsylvania will help solve coverage problems in these local areas. This is an opportunity for veterans who are up-and-coming journalists to receive six months of paid journalistic employment in their own communities. For more information and to apply, please see: https://forms.gle/JuBRMTUDiA5ePNCL8

“We are passionate about high-quality, impactful coverage, and we believe veterans can provide meaningful contributions to the communities our newsrooms serve,” said Natalie Piner, Sr. Director of News Talent, Culture & Training at the McClatchy Company. “McClatchy is proud to partner with MVJ to bring more veteran voices into local journalism through these fellowships.”

The selectees for the McClatchy Veterans in Journalism Fellowships are sorted alphabetically by name below.

Allen FrazierThe Sun Herald

Army veteran Allen Frazier is a Mississippi journalist who has just begun his fellowship at The Sun Herald in Biloxi. As a current graduate student in Arizona State University’s World War II Studies program, Frazier is passionate about historical and military journalism. He is looking forward to growing in a local news environment, connecting with the community, and learning from the Sun Herald team to provide high-quality journalism in Biloxi.

“I am super excited and thankful to receive this opportunity to tell other peoples’ stories,” Frazier said. “I can’t wait to see where this fellowship at The Sun Herald takes me.”

Joshua CarterBelleville News-Democrat

Navy veteran Joshua Carter is a multimedia journalist who will be starting his fellowship with the Belleville News-Democrat in July. Previously based in San Francisco, Carter has covered a wide range of topics across the local community. Carter takes in the world with a critical eye and strives to “see the story” in everything he does. He is passionate about sharing the voices and stories of others with respect, truth and transparency, and he hopes to continue doing so in a new environment during this program.

“The McClatchy Military Veterans in Journalism fellowship provides me with an incredible opportunity to work in an excellent newsroom right after college,” said Carter. “I feel like the skills I learned in the military are actually being seen and appreciated as well.”

Sonia ClarkThe Island Packet

Army veteran and Air Force Reservist Sonia Clark is a photojournalist, videographer and written journalist with a love of storytelling. A native New Yorker with “an eye, ear and heart for adventure,” Clark is constantly seeking opportunities to expand her skills and improve her capabilities while exploring other platforms in journalism, and she hopes to take advantage of the opportunity to tell stories that matter to the Hilton Head community during this program. She will begin her fellowship with The Island Packet in September.

“I look forward to the opportunity to report on the stories that might not otherwise be heard as a McClatchy fellow,” Clark said. “I am honored to be selected.”

About McClatchy 

McClatchy features a powerhouse of vibrant news brands that have earned awards and national recognition, including the Miami Herald, The Kansas City Star and The Sacramento Bee. The McClatchy digital platform hosts over 30 news sites and a robust digital content offering from syndication partners. Our platform is a catalyst for informed engagement, greater understanding, and deeper community connections. Through state of-the-art technology, we reach more than 95 million unique visitors per month by providing essential news and information to the communities we serve. We’re in the midst of a digital transformation, leveraging our platform to deliver mission-based journalism, independent reporting and innovative customer solutions in order to serve our audience at the highest level. Connect with us on social media @mcclatchy or at mcclatchy.com

Contact:
Natalie Piner
[email protected]
305-376-2802
Website: www.mcclatchy.com

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. Led and run by a dedicated corps of military veterans and military family members, we are working with newsrooms and other non-profit organizations to create opportunities for vets to get a jump start in the media industry. Whether through internships, fellowships or mentorships, our work has created a pipeline to get vets into newsrooms.

Contact:
Devon Lancia
[email protected]
724-924-0905
www.mvj.network

Military Veterans in Journalism Celebrates Independence Day with Membership Promotion

By Resources

This Independence Day, Military Veterans in Journalism celebrates the unwavering spirit of freedom and liberty that defines our country. Our community of veterans and military spouses continue their service to the American people every day by upholding and participating in the free press, and MVJ remains steadfast in our mission to support every member of our community in their careers. We are pleased to announce that Military Veterans in Journalism will provide a free year of membership to veterans and military spouses who join our community during the week of Independence Day.

“We’ve seen the outsized impact MVJ’s programs have had on our members’ careers and growth,” said MVJ President Russell Midori. “And we’ve also seen our members’ impact on the newsrooms we’ve partnered with. We want to ensure that all veterans and spouses who need these resources to jump-start their careers can take full advantage of them.”

It typically costs $30 for a professional journalist to join the organization, but any new members who sign up from July 3 through July 7 are eligible to take advantage of this opportunity. Once veterans or spouses become members, they receive access to robust resources to support their career growth. These include exclusive job opportunities and paid internships and fellowships in local and national newsrooms, hiring and networking events and webinars, access to fully funded basic and advanced journalism training and certification programs, and a widely praised mentorship program that pairs world-class, highly experienced journalists with members.

To get a free year through this promotion, go to the MyMVJ membership page linked below and choose the “Membership Promotion” option. We look forward to welcoming more military veterans and family members into our community and honoring the spirit of American democracy.

2023 Top Ten Veterans in Journalism Winners Announced

By Features, News

Military Veterans in Journalism announces the selectees from the 2023 edition of the contest.

Military Veterans in Journalism (MVJ) is pleased to announce the winners of the 2023 Top Ten Veterans in Journalism contest. Established in 2021, this annual competition acknowledges and celebrates the outstanding contributions of veterans who are excelling in the news media. Contest winners are selected from a pool of nominees by a panel of experienced journalists and editors, and their works represent a variety of mediums and topics across the news industry.

A committee of experienced industry professionals – including Barbara Starr, former CNN Pentagon correspondent and current Senior Fellow at USC Annenberg’s Center on Communication Leadership and Policy; David Kishiyama, retired LA Times editor and co-founder of AAJA; Zachary Fryer-Biggs, the managing editor of Military.com; and Kelly Kennedy, the managing editor of The War Horse – evaluated the nominated journalists and their pieces. Each nomination was carefully assessed based on the piece’s originality, newsworthiness and impact, journalistic quality, and the diversity of subject matters, sources and authors.

Winners of the contest are recognized for their achievements in shaping the media landscape with their insightful reporting and profound storytelling. This year’s winners have displayed exceptional skill, compassion, and a relentless commitment to shedding light on important issues. The work they have produced shows their unwavering dedication to their profession and the pursuit of truth. 

The winners of this year’s Top Ten Veterans in Journalism contest are listed below in alphabetical order.

Alex Horton

Alex Horton is a Georgetown University graduate with a BA in English, currently serving as a national security reporter for The Washington Post, where he focuses on U.S. military affairs. With prior experience as an Army infantryman in Iraq and a background in journalism with Stars and Stripes, Alex’s dedication and expertise have earned him numerous accolades, including the shared honor of the 2022 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service, highlighting his outstanding contributions to the field of journalism and his commitment to informing the public on critical national security issues.

Winning Piece: The children of troops lost to Iraq War are all grown up 

Allison Erickson

Allison P. Erickson is a former U.S. Army Medical Service Corps officer and accomplished journalist. She has covered military and veterans issues in Texas as a reporting fellow at The Texas Tribune. With extensive military experience and commendations such as the Purple Heart and Meritorious Service Medal, Allison brings a deep understanding of the challenges faced by service members to her work. She holds a master’s degree in creative publishing and critical journalism from The New School, and her reporting has been featured in respected publications like the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Texas Monthly, and The Point.

Winning Piece: An Afghan soldier fleeing the Taliban spent months reaching the U.S. to request asylum. He was arrested at the Texas border. 

Brett Sholtis

Brett Sholtis is an investigative reporter at LNP | LancasterOnline specializing in extremism, threats to democracy, and the influence of dark money on local politics. Previously, he worked as a health reporter at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania-based NPR affiliate WITF, where his notable contributions shed light on the failures of behavioral health and criminal justice policies for people with mental illness. Brett was recognized as the 2021-2022 Benjamin von Sternenfels Rosenthal fellow, a partnership between the Rosalynn Carter Fellowships and the Center for Investigative Reporting. He served as an infantry soldier in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard and deployed to Kosovo in 2003. Brett’s dedication to journalism is inspired by his late brother, Bryan Reid Sholtis, who lived with serious mental health condition and passed away in 2011.

Winning Piece: In Pa. county jails, people with mental illness are routinely met with pepper spray and stun guns 

Cyrus Norcross

Cyrus Norcross is an award-winning freelance journalist from the Navajo Nation who has had articles and photos published with The Navajo Times, Source NM and Public Lands. His investigative work focuses primarily on the missing and murdered indigenous people of the Navajo Nation, but he also covers sports, tribal government, and art festivals, among other topics. His passion for journalism was ignited during his five-month stint at the Standing Rock protests in 2016, where he recognized the crucial need for Native American voices in the media.

Norcross served in the Army from 2007 to 2013. During this time, he deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan multiple times as an Army Ranger with the 75th Ranger Regiment. Norcross is currently balancing his freelance endeavors while pursuing his bachelor’s degree at Arizona State University.

Winning Piece: Justice for Descheenie: Family of man found dead seeks policy changes 

Devin Speak

Devin Speak is a journalist and photographer with a special focus on climate and human rights. After his time in the U.S. Coast Guard, he attended New York University where he graduated as the valedictorian of his class in Global Studies. He recently completed his internship with NPR and has since freelanced a story on plastic pollution plaguing the Long Island Sound. He hopes to continue an impactful career in human rights and climate focused communications.

Winning Piece: The melting Arctic gets a U.S. ambassador and an influx of military cash 

Jennifer Brookland

Jennifer Brookland is a journalist covering child welfare for The Detroit Free Press and a corps member of Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms to report on under-covered issues and communities. Her reporting is opening windows into overlooked aspects of raising children – or being one – in Michigan.  Jennifer previously worked as a military and veterans reporting fellow with the American Homefront Project and as a producer for North Carolina Public Radio. She also spent time freelance writing and editing for clients including the World Bank and the United Nations. Jennifer holds a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University and a master’s degree in international law and diplomacy from the Fletcher School. Prior to her career as a journalist, Jennifer served as a Special Agent in the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, with posts in North Carolina, Maryland and the Horn of Africa.

Winning Piece: Inside Detroit’s 24-hour child care: A fragile lifeline for working parents 

Julia Kane

Julia Kane is a journalist who writes about climate change and environmental justice. She earned her master’s from the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, where she studied investigative reporting and narrative writing. Prior to becoming a journalist, she served as an officer in the Coast Guard, spending four years aboard ships based in Honolulu, Hawaii and Key West, Florida, and two years as aide-de-camp to a flag officer in Alameda, California.

Winning Piece: Twice Burned: How the U.S. military’s toxic burn pits are poisoning Americans — overseas and at home 

Konstantin Toropin

Konstantin Toropin is a reporter for Military.com specializing in coverage of the Navy and Marine Corps. He is also a Navy veteran, having served five years in the surface fleet as a signals intelligence analyst. Toropin has previously covered breaking national news for CNN, reporting on everything from protests to hurricanes from the field and the newsroom. His portfolio also includes investigative work on 2020 campaign and election claims and the effects of the pandemic on food processing plants. Toropin holds a bachelor’s degree from The Pennsylvania State University in journalism and a master’s degree in mass communication from the University of Minnesota.

Winning Piece: How 2 American Veterans Ended Up in Ukraine, Prisoners of Russian-Armed Militants 

Steve Beynon

Steve Beynon is an experienced reporter with Military.com known for his detailed investigations on critical issues impacting soldiers. As an Afghanistan war veteran with 15 years of service as a cavalry scout, he brings extensive firsthand experience to his reporting. Steve has also covered Capitol Hill, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and contributed to publications such as Politico, Military Times, Stars and Stripes, and the Cincinnati Enquirer. With a bachelor’s in journalism and environmental policy from the University of Cincinnati, Steve’s expertise and dedication make him a respected voice in the field.

Winning Piece: How a Church Allegedly Scammed Millions in VA Money from Vets 

Thomas Gibbons-Neff

Thomas Gibbons-Neff is a New York Times Ukraine correspondent focusing on enterprise, on-the-ground investigations and reporting from the war. Prior to his current position, he covered the Pentagon and other assignments, such as the 2017 Niger ambush, the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and the Syrian civil war, for the Washington Post. Gibbons-Neff is a Marine Infantry veteran and was deployed twice to Afghanistan – first in 2008 during George W. Bush’s presidency, then again in 2009 as part of Barack Obama’s troop surge.

Winning Piece: Leaked Documents Reveal Depth of U.S. Spy Efforts and Russia’s Military Struggles 

These journalists have not only elevated the standards of the field but have also fostered public understanding and awareness of critical issues. Their collective efforts will inspire future generations of journalists, both military veterans and civilians.

“We extend our heartfelt congratulations to all the winners of this year’s Top Ten Veterans in Journalism contest,” said MVJ Executive Director Zack Baddorf. “Their remarkable achievements and dedication to journalism are a testament to their unwavering commitment to informing the American public through quality journalism. We are honored to have them as part of the MVJ community.”

MVJ Career Center Officially Launches

By Resources

The MVJCareers home page.

The MVJ team is pleased to announce an exciting new addition to the MVJ membership experience! We’ve been working with JournalismNext to develop MVJCareers, a brand-new job search platform available exclusively for MVJ members.

On this new portal, members can upload resumes and browse through employment listings from news organizations seeking to hire veterans and military spouses. Members can search by keyword, city, field of journalism, or even employer to find the opportunities they’re looking for!

Registered users will also receive a weekly newsletter with the latest job listings, which can be unsubscribed from at any time. That newsletter will start this coming week.

Since the site is new, we’re working to fill it up with plenty of opportunities – but we need members’ help to give employers chances to connect with them. To set up an MVJCareers account and upload your resume, follow the steps below:

  1. Navigate to MyMVJ and log in. This will transfer your sign-on details to the career portal for a seamless single sign-on experience between MyMVJ and MVJCareers.
    1. If you have difficulty resetting your password or experience trouble logging in, please email [email protected].
  2. After logging in on MyMVJ, navigate to the MVJCareers site at mvjcareers.org and log in again using the same credentials from MyMVJ.
    1. Please log in on MyMVJ before accessing MVJCareers for the first time – you may not be able to access the site without this step. After this initial login process, you can log in directly from MVJCareers without needing to be logged in on MyMVJ.
  3. Once you are logged into your account, click the “Post Resumes” button on the dark gray bar toward the top of the page.
  4. Fill out your profile information when prompted and press “Save”.
  5. On the next page, fill in the required fields and as many additional fields as you’d like. You can upload your resume directly into the system using the “Upload Résumé” button under the “Skills” box.
  6. Click “Next”. You can add your education and work history on the following screens. We encourage you to add these (you can copy and paste them from your resume) to make it easier for employers to find you within the system.
  7. Finally, press “Submit” to save your resume. You can edit any time by clicking the “Post Resumes” button again.

You’re done! Now you can browse MVJCareers freely, and newsroom employers can connect with you to discuss available jobs you may be interested in.

We look forward to making the new MVJ Career Center the go-to resource for newsrooms to hire more vets and for veterans to connect with journalism employers!

Ford Foundation event graphic - event in New York City on 5/10 or accessible virtually

Ford Foundation, Disabled Journalists Association, and Military Veterans in Journalism to host discussion about reporting on veteran disability

By News

The Ford Foundation, the Disabled Journalists Association (DJA) and Military Veterans in Journalism (MVJ) will host a panel discussion on media coverage of disability and disabled veterans. 

The event, titled “Reporting with Honor: A Guide for Covering Veterans with Disabilities,” will take place on May 10, 2023, at 1 PM EDT at the Ford Foundation headquarters in New York City.

The discussion will center around shifting the narrative on military veterans with disabilities and creating spaces in newsrooms where disabled journalists can thrive, succeed and contribute. Three members of the MVJ Speakers Bureau – Caron LeNoir, Donna Cole and Jimmy White IV – will share their unique perspectives on reporting on disabilities as veterans and journalists. 

“Knowing that everyone, military veteran or otherwise, will become disabled in their lifetime, we must have journalists trained in reporting about disabilities and disability benefits, as well as including people with disabilities in news coverage about all topics,” shared one of the speakers, Donna Cole. “As a journalist and disabled veteran of the U.S. Navy, I couldn’t be prouder to be a member of MVJ’s inaugural Speakers Bureau program, which taught me how to make my reporting more reflective of my community by including a large segment of our population that is, unfortunately, often ignored – and the ability to train other newsrooms how to do the same.”

DJA Director Cara Reedy will also participate in the discussion.

“My team and I understand the importance of creating supportive and inclusive environments for disabled journalists to thrive while countering stereotypes often seen in coverage of our community,” said Reedy. “Disabled veterans share the struggles of the broader disability community, so I’m proud to support the MVJ Speakers Bureau initiative to make newsrooms more inclusive of these narratives.”

MVJ’s Speakers Bureau program, launched in early 2022, has brought together military veteran journalists with a deep commitment to covering issues related to disabilities. The program’s 11 Speakers, several of whom are disabled veterans themselves, have trained journalists nationwide on the impact of persistent stereotypes in coverage of disabled veterans and the broader disability community. The program and this panel discussion were made possible by generous support from the Ford Foundation, which is dedicated to ensuring that newsrooms are more inclusive of all the communities they cover.

“At MVJ, we are proud to support veteran journalists who are dedicated to shedding light on important issues related to disability,” said Zack Baddorf, MVJ Executive Director. “It’s important for newsrooms to improve their coverage of the disability community to avoid perpetuating harmful stereotypes and regain that community’s trust.”

Journalists and other media-related professionals are welcome to attend the event. Space is limited. Those interested in attending can RSVP online:

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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. Led and run by a dedicated corps of military veterans and military family members, we are working with newsrooms and other non-profit organizations to create opportunities for vets to get a jump start in the media industry. Whether through internships, fellowships or mentorships, our work has created a pipeline to get vets into newsrooms.

About the Ford Foundation

The Ford Foundation is a philanthropic organization that was established in 1936 by Edsel Ford, the son of Henry Ford. The foundation’s mission is to advance human achievement by reducing poverty and injustice, promoting democratic values, and encouraging international cooperation. The organization recognizes the inherent dignity of all individuals, while also acknowledging that many people worldwide are marginalized and excluded from important political, economic, and social institutions. For over eight decades, the Ford Foundation has worked tirelessly to address these issues and create positive change around the globe.

About the Disabled Journalists Association

The Disabled Journalist Association is a community of Disabled Journalists who are committed to advancing the coverage of disabled people while protecting their advancement in the industry. Our work is rooted in Disability Justice and the motto – Nothing About Us Without Us.

Military Veterans in Journalism and NBCUniversal To Host Networking Event for Military Veteran Journalists

By Career Opportunities, News

NBCUniversal, one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news and information, announced a new collaboration with Military Veterans in Journalism (MVJ) to get more veterans into NBC’s newsrooms. As part of their ongoing partnership, the two organizations will host an in-person networking event for military veteran journalists at NBC’s New York City headquarters on May 9th, 2023.

“The NBCUniversal News Group’s goal is to diversify our newsrooms so that our staff accurately reflects our audiences across our brands and platforms,” said Yvette Miley, Executive Vice President, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, NBCUniversal News Group. “The Veteran community provides a unique perspective that we recognize we need more of in our storytelling and we welcome MVJ in helping us in this area.”

This event presents an exclusive opportunity for veterans in journalism to connect with hiring managers and learn about employment opportunities across the NBC News Group portfolio. Veterans who attend will network with top media professionals to strengthen their professional connections. Attendees will also have the chance to hear from a panel of fellow veterans and newsroom leadership on the role of veterans in journalism and meet with hiring managers in the room.

This networking event will further NBCUniversal’s efforts to create a diverse, equitable and inclusive media space by engaging talent from a wide array of backgrounds, including those with a history of military service.

“NBC News is a crucial partner in our mission to diversify newsrooms,” said MVJ President Russell Midori. “Their commitment to equitable representation has made them one of the most trusted names in news, and their effort to welcome more veterans into their organization shows how deeply they care about the public they serve.”

Those interested in participating in this opportunity can RSVP online with Military Veterans in Journalism. For more information and to sign up, visit: https://www.mvj.network/events/networking-at-nbcuniversal/

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About NBCUniversal

NBCUniversal is one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news and information to a global audience. NBCUniversal owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment television networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group, world-renowned theme parks, and a premium ad-supported streaming service. NBCUniversal is a subsidiary of Comcast Corporation.

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. Led and run by a dedicated corps of military veterans and military family members, we are working with newsrooms and other non-profit organizations to create opportunities for vets to get a jump start in the media industry. Whether through internships, fellowships or mentorships, our work has created a pipeline to get vets into newsrooms.

Four Years of MVJ

By Features

Journalism and the military are the only two careers I ever pursued that people just bluntly tried to talk me out of. When I told my mom I wanted to be a Marine she rented “Born on the Fourth of July” from Blockbuster and made me watch it. I enjoyed the film; it was much better than when I told friends I wanted to be a journalist and had to endure their lectures on the negative career outlook. I didn’t have an answer for them then, but I do now: Military Veterans in Journalism. 

We have a community of veterans and military spouses, 700 strong, who are pursuing and achieving their goals in journalism. We’re partnered with great news organizations, and supported by more than 300 volunteer mentors from across the news industry. We have a team of people who find innovative ways to advocate for us. Sara Feges, our operations manager, has turned our informal community of practice into a structured advocacy organization you can rely on. Devon Lancia, our partnerships director, fights heroically and tirelessly to show industry leaders the value we bring to newsrooms. The team they lead cares deeply about our diverse community, and they get results. 

MVJ officially became a nonprofit organization four years ago. This letter is to mark the occasion, and to try to express how grateful I feel to be a member of this group. The driving force behind our advocacy is a simple idea; veteran voices strengthen news reporting. But I get to see the flip-side of that – how news reporting strengthens veterans. I see how a journalism career, or a reporting gig, or even consistently writing posts on an upstart blog, restores the dignity of public service some veterans thought they had lost when they folded up their uniforms. 

I also see how many of us don’t have steady journalism work. Some of us work in other careers but joined MVJ because we feel some call to truth and storytelling within us. Even those of us with news careers that have exceeded our dreams still wonder sometimes, “Am I a journalist yet?” This career tests us a thousand ways, and I hope MVJ will always be here to help veterans face them together. 

Last year’s convention provided a space for about 80 members to discuss the issues affecting us in this strenuous, but rewarding career field. Our third annual convention this October will build on its success, but I hope we’ll have many more members in attendance at the opulent New York Athletic Club overlooking Central Park. The pandemic robbed us of the opportunity to connect in person, and we saw last year just how good it really feels to hang out with military veterans in journalism and the people who support them. This year we’ll prioritize the fight against unemployment and underemployment within our community, and we’ll demonstrate our members’ thought leadership to the biggest players in our industry.   

Thanks, MVJ friends, for your service – past and future. See you in New York.

Respectfully,
Russell Midori
MVJ President

Military Veterans in Journalism Partners with Walter Cronkite School for Disability Reporting Training Session

By News

On March 28th, the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Arizona State University will host an event to train students on disability reporting. This event is presented in partnership with Military Veterans in Journalism’s Speakers Bureau, a group of veterans and journalists who have trained on disability inclusion since early 2022. Scott Bourque, a Cronkite faculty member, Speakers Bureau participant and Afghanistan war veteran who advocates for veterans and individuals with disabilities, will be the lead presenter at this event.

“As a veteran with service-connected disabilities that aren’t immediately visible, it can be hard to find your identity: are you really a disabled veteran even if you have all of your limbs?” Bourque said. “My goal with this lecture is to inform the public about the experiences that most of America’s disabled veterans have and how to create news coverage that accurately reflects the reality of the community.”

This training event will focus on reporting on disabilities in a culturally sensitive and inclusive manner. It is essential for journalists to understand the unique experiences and perspectives of individuals with disabilities in order to tell their stories accurately and respectfully. Through this training session, attendees will gain the knowledge and skills needed to do just that.

“I was tired of people making assumptions about me based on a job I had in my early twenties, so I got into researching how news media covers veterans and how that coverage influences public opinion,” Bourque continued of his passion for improving reporting on veterans issues. “There’s a lot for the industry to learn about covering veterans, and I’m privileged to be able to share this information with the community.”

MVJ Disability Journalism Speakers Bureau training sessions are now available for all newsrooms interested in participating. You can book a session for your newsroom here or email Operations Manager Sara Feges if you have any questions regarding the training. MVJ thanks the Ford Foundation for their generous support of this program and ASU Walter Cronkite School for their collaboration on this session.

‘’At Military Veterans in Journalism, our mission is to promote diversity and inclusion in the news media,” said MVJ president Russell Midori. “Our Speakers Bureau program is one way that we’re working towards that goal. We’re thrilled to work with the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication on this important event.’’

We hope that this training session will be a valuable resource for journalism and media students who are looking to expand their knowledge of disability reporting and promote greater cultural awareness in the field.

Nominations Open for Top 10 Veterans in Journalism 2023

By #MVJ2023, News

Military Veterans in Journalism is proud to announce the launch of the Top 10 Veterans in Journalism Contest, a competition honoring the best work of military veteran journalists over the past year. The awardees will be honored at the MVJ2023 Convention, which brings together journalists, industry leaders, and media professionals from around the world.

Eligibility and Requirements

All veterans who have served in the armed forces are encouraged to submit their finished and published work, including self-nominations. Submissions should include the original publishing or release date, all contributors, and the organization under which it was published.

  • Only work done by a veteran of the armed forces is eligible. While pieces developed by a team are acceptable, journalists involved will only be eligible if they are veterans.
  • All submissions should be work that was completed and made publicly available within the past twelve (12) months.

The contest is open to all forms of media, including traditional print and broadcast, as well as emerging forms such as Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Interactive Data Visualization, and others.

Please provide a brief description of why the nominee should be recognized along with your submission. We’d like to know about both the person themselves and their amazing work!

The deadline for submissions is April 13, 2023 at 9:00 PM Eastern. You DO NOT have to be a member of MVJ to submit a piece of work, nor does the nominee; we do encourage you to join, however. Please note: you must be signed in on Google to submit.

Recognize fellow veterans in journalism and the value of their work!

Scoring

The submissions will be scored on originality, newsworthiness, journalistic quality and diversity. Our panel of judges will apply their experience, editing standards and personal background to decide how well a piece does in each category. Judges will be looking for accurate and insightful storytelling that engages them as the audience. All pieces, regardless of media type, will be seen by the same panel of judges and scored in the same manner.

While every submission will be scored and selections for the list will be made, scores will not be released publicly. Outside of scoring, judges will be able to supply commentary if they wish, but not every piece will receive feedback.

Military Veterans in Journalism and McClatchy Partner on Paid Fellowships for Military Veteran Journalists

By Career Opportunities, Features, News

Opportunity for veterans who are up-and-coming journalists to work in their own communities.

 

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – March 1, 2023 – Today McClatchy—one of the largest media companies in the United States with over 85 million unique visitors—announced its partnership with Military Veterans in Journalism (MVJ) in launching a new paid fellowship program designed to employ more veterans as journalists serving their local communities. 

“There are many ways to support veterans and McClatchy has chosen to do so through our commitment to diversity and talent development,” said Monica Richardson, vice president of local news for McClatchy’s large markets. “This partnership with Military Veterans in Journalism is an expression of our dedication toward the inclusion of veteran voices in our newsrooms, our coverage and our excellence in local journalism.”

As part of this effort, MVJ and McClatchy will select five military veteran journalists for paid fellowships within McClatchy’s local newsrooms. This is an opportunity for veterans who are up-and-coming journalists to receive six months of paid journalistic employment in their own communities. Additionally, these added positions will help solve reporting coverage problems at a local level.

Ideal fellowship candidates will have some experience reporting and writing on deadline prior to entering the program. Candidates should not only be interested in a professional career covering local stories, but they should also be curious and observant risk-takers with an unwavering commitment to accurate, ethical journalism. Fellows will also participate in MVJ’s mentorship program during their fellowship. 

This new program supports McClatchy’s mission to provide the kind of local news coverage that keeps communities healthy and strong.

“We are passionate about high-quality, impactful coverage, and we believe veterans can provide meaningful contributions to the communities our newsrooms serve,” said Natalie Piner, Sr. Director of News Talent, Culture & Training at the McClatchy Company. “McClatchy is proud to partner with MVJ to bring more veteran voices into local journalism through these fellowships.”

This opportunity is available to military veterans who are interested in pursuing a career in one of McClatchy’s local newsrooms in any number of positions, including as a written journalist, multimedia reporter, photojournalist, or digital designer.

“We at Military Veterans in Journalism are proud to work with McClatchy on our efforts to get more vets into local newsrooms nationwide,” said Zack Baddorf, MVJ’s Executive Director.

“This collaboration will provide a great opportunity for veterans to jumpstart their journalism careers while connecting with their communities. By participating in these McClatchy fellowships, these military veteran journalists will develop skills essential to their success in the news industry.”

For more information visit: https://www.mvj.network/mcclatchy-mvj-fellowships/

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About McClatchy 

At McClatchy we live our mission of delivering high-quality journalism every day. The McClatchy name is synonymous with staying power, next-level resilience, and tenacious pursuit of stories that matter to our readers. In the process we’ve created connections solidifying our deeply-rooted commitment to the crucial role local journalism plays in our communities. We’ve extended our unique local and regional reach, relevance, and resources by forging strong partnerships fostering the creation of innovative, digital-forward solutions. It’s our privilege to serve–and engage with–over 85 million unique visitors who come to us first for their news and information. We’re the McClatchy media company. Covering local stories with national significance. Connect with us on social media @mcclatchy or at mcclatchy.com

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. Led and run by a dedicated corps of military veterans and military family members, we are working with newsrooms and other non-profit organizations to create opportunities for vets to get a jump start in the media industry. Whether through internships, fellowships or mentorships, our work has created a pipeline to get vets into newsrooms.

McClatchy-MVJ Fellowships Now Open for Applications

By Career Opportunities, News

McClatchy is a digitally driven company focused on innovation, with newsrooms in 30 communities in the United States. Their journalism focuses on our local communities, and in that role we have the ability to spotlight problems, highlight solutions and truly make a difference — all the reasons you got into journalism. McClatchy and MVJ are seeking five fellows for the new McClatchy Veterans in Journalism Fellowship Program. Please note: you must be logged in on Google to apply.

Here are some key features of the program:

  • This opportunity is available to military veterans who are interested in pursuing a career in one of McClatchy’s local newsrooms – as a written journalist, multimedia reporter, photojournalist, digital designer, or human resources personnel.
  • Fellowship recipients will participate in a six-month full-time fellowship.
  • Fellows are eligible to join McClatchy’s benefits plan after two months of time in-fellowship. Fellows will remain eligible for the remainder of their fellowship.
  • Recipients must agree to be available for the fellowship’s six months as well as commit to working for McClatchy for one full year upon completion if selected to continue employment. Every effort will be made to provide the fellowship and job in the applicant’s area of interest.

McClatchy Veterans in Journalism Fellows can expect to:

  • Be assigned to a mentor from MVJ during the fellowship period.
  • Receive coaching and mentoring both from newsroom teams and from MVJ.
  • Work with seasoned staffers and work directly with local leaders.
  • Work on projects that help solve recurring problems and improve McClatchy’s business.
  • Develop and refine professional skills for success in the journalism field.

Successful candidates should meet many, though not necessarily all, of the following requirements:

  • College degree or equivalent work experience
  • 1-3 years of reporting experience or equivalent
  • Must have reliable transportation. Must have valid driver’s license and vehicle insurance required.
  • Strong writing skills, excellent news judgment and a demonstrated ability to “see the story” that is going to matter to readers.
  • Unwavering commitment to accurate, ethical journalism.
  • Ability to build source networks and bring a constant flow of story ideas.
  • Ability to work collaboratively to aggressively tackle stories.
  • Comfort with a job that will be demanding, fast-paced and constantly evolving.

What we’ll bring: As a journalist at McClatchy, you will join a supportive, flexible, collaborative team. McClatchy strives to be an employer of choice, and our benefits package is made with this goal in mind. With a focus on health, well-being, wealth and daily life, McClatchy’s package options include healthcare coverage for employees and their families, financial protection from expected and unexpected expenses, multiple no-cost wellness resources and even coverage for four-legged friends.

McClatchy’s overall benefit package also includes a 401(k) with employer match, competitive paid time off and corporate holidays, and a variety of mental health benefits. With an excellent support team and with focus on your well-being as a top corporate strategy, McClatchy provides benefits to support you and your family in achieving your health and wellness goals. For more information on McClatchy’s benefit plan, please visit McClatchyLivewell.com.

MVJ Seeks Applicants for Counter-Disinformation Program Support Roles

By Career Opportunities, News

Earlier this year, Military Veterans in Journalism launched our new, non-partisan effort to combat the spread of disinformation and extremism in veteran and military communities. Now, we are seeking applicants for two new positions to help us manage the digital components of this effort.

As part of our new “Fighting Disinformation in Military & Veteran Communities” program, MVJ will hire two new team members for digital marketing and strategy efforts related to the project. These positions will be responsible for online sharing and engagement around the articles produced by our reporting team.

Check out the listings and apply below. Please note: you will need to be logged in on Google to submit an application.

Marketing Manager

MVJ Counter-Disinformation Program

The Marketing Manager for the MVJ Counter-Disinformation Program is responsible for uploading content from the Counter-Disinformation reporting team outside of the MVJ community. Responsibilities include promoting the reporting team’s reporting and relevant information online in online forums to engage with military and veteran community members in various online forums. This person applies critical judgment when distributing information online.

Working on a contract basis, this person will be supervised by the Executive Director and work with the Counter-Disinformation team. This person will also work alongside a strategy consultant to find groups to post reporting in and engage with group members.

Main Duties:

  • Posts promotional content across social media platforms for new stories and information from the reporting team as appropriate
  • Ensures relevant content prepared by the Community Engagement Manager is shared in a timely manner
  • Engages veterans and service members outside of the MVJ community via social media; engages with MVJ members to assist as appropriate
  • Monitors social media engagement and discusses strategy with the Partnerships Director, Community Engagement Manager and Executive Director

Requirements:

  • Knowledge of basic social media posting etiquette on all platforms, including (but not limited to) Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter
  • Dedication to non-partisanship in online posting
  • Demonstration of a calm and cool demeanor in social media engagement; good decision-making skills
  • Efficient and effective communication skills
  • Broad and deep understanding of social media/SEO strategies related to fact-checking content on social networking sites
  • Highly organized, with excellent copywriting and verbal communication skills
  • Team player with good attitude and commitment
  • Knowledge of military and veteran community online content consumption habits.

Time Required: 10-20 hours a week

Social Media Strategy Consultant

MVJ Counter-Disinformation Program

The Social Media Strategy Consultant is responsible for crafting the initial strategy for MVJ’s Community Engagement Manager and this project’s Marketing Manager to follow when spreading project-related reporting. This person will search for and identify online communities of veterans and service members that should be targeted by the Marketing Manager. Responsibilities include conducting thorough research and analysis of online communities and groups and providing general linguistic and design guidance to the Community Engagement Manager and Marketing Manager. This person applies critical judgment when finding these communities and advising on interaction best practices.

Working on a contract basis, this person will be supervised by the Executive Director and work with the Counter-Disinformation team.

Main Duties:

  • Advise the design of social media strategies to achieve project marketing targets
  • Conduct research and analysis of online communities for the Marketing Manager to engage and post in
  • Advise on visual content design practices to employ for the Community Engagement Manager to ensure content is informative and appealing to the target audiences
  • Facilitate communications by conducting initial posts in various groups to gauge response
  • Communicate with fellow professionals via social media to create a strong network to build relationships within these communities
  • Inform MVJ teammates of ongoing adjustments to strategy to integrate and maintain a cohesive social media presence

Requirements:

  • 2-3+ years of experience as a social media strategist or social media manager
  • Hands-on knowledge of using social media for advocacy and spreading awareness
  • An ability to identify target audience preferences and build content to meet them
  • Excellent multitasking skills
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills

Time required: 10-20 hours per week

MVJ2023 in NYC: Join Us to Get More Vets in News

By News

The 2023 Military Veterans in Journalism Convention and Career Fair will take place in New York City from October 5th to 7th, 2023, and attendees and sponsors may register starting today. Our third annual convention, to be held at the New York Athletic Club, will be the premiere opportunity for organizations in the journalism world to engage with veterans directly and for veterans to create new professional connections and strengthen their reporting skills. 

MVJ2023 will feature two days of career-fair events, panels on topics such as entrepreneurship in journalism, the uses and future of AI in journalism, and reporting on disabled veterans. Other programming will include a photojournalism competition, a live concert, an eight-ball tournament, an open-bar reception, and an in-person tour of an NYC newsroom.

Two tiers of ticket registration are available; one for general admission and one for VIP MVJ members. MVJ members who are veterans are eligible to purchase a ticket under the VIP tier, which will include a laminated MVJ Press Pass. Attendees can also take advantage of the great prices in our MVJ2023 hotel room block, located within the convention venue, by booking with MVJ through the links below.

Army Veteran Eve Sampson to join The Washington Post 2023 Summer Intern Class

By Resources

Military Veterans in Journalism is pleased to announce that The Washington Post has selected Army Veteran Eve Sampson to join its 2023 class of summer interns as an MVJ Fellow. Sampson is the second veteran to receive this intern position as part of MVJ and The Post’s partnership to increase the number of military veterans in America’s newsrooms.

Eve Sampson, an Army veteran and journalist student at the University of Maryland, was selected for this year’s internship opportunity with The Washington Post. Follow Eve’s work on Twitter!

Sampson is a student at the University of Maryland, where she is working toward her Master’s in journalism. She is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point and commissioned as an Army engineer officer. While serving, Sampson helped integrate some of the first female enlisted combat engineers before deploying to Syria and Kuwait. She has also been a breaking news intern at the Detroit Free Press and a Pentagon reporter with Capital News Service. In her free time, Sampson enjoys traveling and spending time with her rescue dog, Mr. Biggs.

“Meeting some of the most incredible people, hearing their stories and seeing their resilience during my time overseas inspired me to pursue a career in journalism,” Sampson said. “I am so excited to join The Washington Post’s Foreign desk as a Military Veterans in Journalism intern and help tell the stories of people like them.”

As a fellow with The Post’s foreign team, Sampson will learn the ins and outs of international news coverage and assist with reporting stories beyond the United States.

“We enthusiastically welcome Eve. Her breadth of knowledge and expertise will add value to our newsroom and coverage while also serving as a testament to our rewarding partnership with Military Veterans in Journalism,” said Carla Broyles, the newsroom’s senior editor for career development who oversees the summer internship program.

Sampson, whose experience includes reporting with the Detroit Free Press and as a Howard Center for Investigative Journalism fellow, has also said she looks forward to the chance to learn from some of the best journalists in the industry and contribute to thoughtful and nuanced journalism.

 “We at MVJ are grateful for The Washington Post’s dedication to diversity through the inclusion of veteran voices at all levels of their newsroom,” said Russell Midori, MVJ’s president. “We are excited to see Eve’s skills flourish under the guidance of their excellent reporters, and we encourage other newsrooms to take the steps necessary to include more veterans.”

Military Veterans in Journalism launches program to lead fight against disinformation and extremism in military, veteran communities

By Features, News

Three major philanthropic organizations commit support for MVJ’s project to curb the rise of extremism in military and veteran communities.

Jan. 17, 2023 – Military Veterans in Journalism is launching a new program today designed to combat the spread of disinformation and extremism in veteran and military communities, thanks to support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and Craig Newmark Philanthropies. Military Times, a trusted, independent source for news for the military and veteran communities, will serve as a key partner in managing the project.

This new project launches two years after the January 6 Capitol riot, in which about 13% of insurrectionists charged for their role in the siege had a military background, and after research has found that veterans and active-duty military members may make up at least 25% of militia rosters.

With its new “Fighting Disinformation in Military & Veteran Communities” program, MVJ will build and support a reporting team at Military Times to independently conduct investigative reporting on anti-democratic extremist groups that are targeting veterans and active-duty service members with disinformation.

“Extremist groups are denigrating our military and those who have served by seeking to co-opt the military and veteran community,” said Zack Baddorf, a U.S. Navy veteran turned journalist who now serves as MVJ’s executive director. “They are using veteran voices to normalize their groups and bolster their perceived credibility, patriotism and professionalism, ultimately undermining our nation. They must be exposed, and ultimately countered, through high-quality, investigative reporting that exposes and counters their disinformation efforts.”

In addition to Military Times, MVJ is partnering with two other prominent military- and veteran-serving publications — Military.com and Task & Purpose — on this project. The Associated Press is also partnering with MVJ on this effort to help bring national coverage on these issues.

“Our team at Military Times is always looking for ways to improve our coverage and to better serve our community,” said Mike Gruss, editor in chief of Sightline Media, which owns Military Times and related publications. “We know the issue of extremism within the military and veteran community deserves in-depth coverage. We’re excited to get to work conducting reporting on these critical issues.”

The program is supported by grants of $360,000 from the Knight Foundation, $100,000 from Craig Newmark Philanthropies, and $50,000 from the MacArthur Foundation. The funding will cover salaries for a team of three reporters, training, travel expenses, marketing, and project management.

“Disinformation is a threat to our nation and our democracy,” said Karen Rundlet, director of journalism at the Knight Foundation. “We must take a whole-of-society approach to countering extremist propaganda, including in military and veteran communities. We are investing in this project because we believe in the power of journalism to shine a light on nefarious actors who are seeking to exploit those who have served.”

MVJ will also partner with the Poynter Institute and their fact-checking arm, PolitiFact, to train the new reporting team on fact-checking and investigative best practices. The non-profit Task Force Butler Institute will train the reporters on best practices for investigating extremist groups.

MVJ will also work with the University of Alabama’s Veterans and Media Lab to research the military and veteran community’s consumption of information and trust levels in media throughout the program.

Further, MVJ will support community engagement efforts by the We the Veterans coalition and the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism at the University of Maryland by providing material that can challenge disinformation propagated by extremist groups.

While this program currently has funding for 18 months, MVJ is seeking support from other funders to extend this effort through the next inauguration in January 2025. If you are interested in supporting our efforts to combat disinformation and extremism in the military and veteran communities through this program, please email [email protected].

2022 Impact Report & 2023 Goal Setting

By #MVJ2022, Features

MVJ Family,

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.

Russell Midori
President, MVJ
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.

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 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

2022 Impact

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.

  • Webinars:
    • 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
  • Workshops:
    • Entrepreneurial Journalism
    • Investigative Reporting
    • Data Journalism
  • Newsroom Networking and Info Sessions (also known as our “Journey Through America’s Newsrooms” series):
    • LakelandNow
    • 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.

2023 Goals

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. 

My Passion for Journalism

By Features

My road to becoming a weekly columnist for the Beaufort Island Newspaper has been a long and often surprising adventure. From a high school storyteller, to an Army pilot who wrote dozens of professional articles, to writing proposals and every kind of business-related plan, I never thought of myself as a writer but rather a person who writes as an important part of my work.

In my career, I’ve written business plans, lesson plans, practical exercises, and dozens of other things required in the business and education fields. Yet I did not consider myself a career writer or even a good writer. After founding three successful small businesses and serving as a police officer, I began to believe that maybe I could eventually write something newsworthy, educational, and valuable for the public.

After five decades of working and writing, I slowly became aware that, even without a degree in journalism, I might be able to become a novelist, newspaper columnist, and a small publishing company owner. I retired in 2014 from the aerospace and defense industry and founded Tigers, Vikings, and Vipers Publishing LLC – the tiniest publishing firm in the world. I published my first military history and action novel, “Blades of Thunder (Book One)”, in 2014, and I have been a freelance weekly newspaper columnist for the Island News since 2020. My columns cover veterans’ benefits, leadership, law enforcement, hospice, end-of-life planning, and employment.

I have thirteen pieces of advice to share with other veterans seeking to become writers and journalists.

1. Follow your bliss.

I love to help other writers, but warn them that while advice is easy for anyone to give, it is much harder for the receiver to select what suggestions are worth remembering. The one piece of advice I feel is unquestionably good is for people to do what they enjoy doing, so long as they can also support themselves and others for whom they are responsible at the same time.  If writing is your bliss, then learn about writing – read, take courses in writing, read, practice writing, read, pursue writing, read, practice, read – and never give up.

2. Do not forget to meet your other obligations.

In his spare time, Larry helps raise money for his local VA Medical Center as a minor league Charleston, SC RiverDogs baseball supporter.

Writing is in competition with my family, my dog, exercising, my weekly columnist duties and deadlines with the Island News, my house chores, and my other tasks and responsibilities. It is so easy to justify not having time to write or market your writing. The bottom line is writers need to eat healthily, exercise, pay their rent, have medical insurance, have reliable transportation, and support their significant other if they have a spouse, partner, or children. So, until your writing generates enough income and security, you will probably need to hold other jobs to “get by” while working to become a successful journalist.

3. Be honest, ethical, kind, understanding, compassionate, accurate, and fair.

Journalists should never forget that their first obligation is to tell the truth. I try my best to seek reliable and accurate facts when I am writing. I also do my darndest to write in terms that can be fully understood and assessed by my audience. Being as transparent as possible about sources and methods is also essential in journalism. Maintaining allegiance to the audience and to the truth should not be forgotten.

Although it may not always be possible to avoid hurting feelings or publishing something that may prove to be less than totally accurate, I firmly believe that journalists must do their best to be as kind, compassionate, ethical, factual, understanding, and honest as possible. Journalists can accomplish much of this by being straightforward when presenting evidence, facts, and sources.

4. Avoid propaganda, advertising, fiction, sensationalism, and entertainment.

Journalism is storytelling with a constructive purpose, not fiction or advertising. Yet journalists are not free of bias. To counter their biases, journalists must strive to use objective methods, like consistent testing of information, in every part of their research. They must also represent interviews accurately, as interviews are essential in journalism.

5. Serve as a fearless and selfless independent monitor of power.

Remember that honest journalists are one of the best and perhaps the most important checks on those most powerful in society. In the USA, we journalists are what I call the fourth check on the powerful. The branches of our government and our citizens need a free press to keep evil in check. We are counted on to ensure those with the most power, be it of numbers, wealth, or other factors, are held accountable.

Journalists must serve as an honest and ethical watchdog over those whose power and position most affect citizens. We must be the trustworthy voice for (and to) everyone, especially the voiceless and weakest members of society.

6. Write about what you know – it’s easier (but not easy).

Larry’s UH-1B Huey Gunship after it was shot down in Vietnam on March 28, 1969. He uses his experience in Vietnam in his work.

I find that writing about what you know about and are interested in is easier than covering other topics. For me, that’s writing about:

  1. Leadership, military science, and my experience in Vietnam and Iran;
  2. Helping veterans and their families;
  3. Hospice and end-of-life planning;
  4. Aeronautics and logistics;
  5. Law enforcement and the challenging and often dangerous work police officers do;
  6. Business Process Re-engineering and Lean Six Sigma; and
  7. My childhood experiences growing up in rural South Carolina and the beautiful and historic city of Charleston.

7. Writing about what you do not know is not that hard.

Even with the above point, my advice is not to fear writing about things you don’t know. It only takes research, interviews, observations, and patience to write about subjects in which you are not an expert. A common saying in the industrial sector is, “Even people who know nothing about a process can observe the process and see things that others who work there every day cannot see.”

Honestly, I find out every time I write that I do not know enough about the subject, no matter what experience and credentials I possess before I start writing!

8. Write every day, at the same time, and turn off your cell phone.

Write in the morning while you are fresh and not tired or stressed. Use an outline (if you prefer) to plan your article. Make notes on the details and ideas you have when looking for ideas. Practice being courageous and exhibiting contagious enthusiasm for your work. Just start writing.

9. Do not think about your talent or capability.

Talent, skill, and capability will come with time. The most important part is to get started and keep your hands writing or typing. Use the five W’s of answering who, what, when, where, and why to help you develop your story.

10. Develop a journalist tool kit.

This kit might include a dictionary, a thesaurus, a notebook, and all the best articles and books on writing you can find and read.

11. Join professional writing organizations aligned with your interests.

Military Veterans in Journalism (MVJ), Military Writers Society of America (MWSA), American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA), Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE), America Press Institute (API), Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ), and others are a goldmine of helpful information, education opportunities, advice, grant opportunities, conventions, and more.

12. It is possible to make a living with writing.

You do not have to write a best-selling book to become a successful author, nor do you need to be a journalist for a large newspaper to make a living as a writer. There are almost limitless opportunities for journalists to supplement their income as a small-town newspaper contributor, a freelance writer, a proofreader, and any number of other jobs while they’re working toward making writing sustainable.

13. As a veteran, you can bring good things and a unique view to journalism.

About seven percent of the US population living today has served in the US Military. I believe veteran perspectives are important in each field of journalism because:

  1. Veterans were taught to focus on attention to detail and journalistic writing demands details and facts. We are self-disciplined to follow proven processes and objective methods that lead to successful results.
  2. Veterans believe that the past is our heritage, the present is our challenge, and the future is our responsibility.
  3. The vast majority of veterans are honest, ethical, moral, and hard-working men and women who have been ambassadors of goodwill in each country where they were stationed.
  4. Veterans bring a unique view of the world to journalism – a view based on both civilian and military education, vast amounts of training, frequent world travel, a pledge to selfless service, an oath of allegiance to the United States of America, and a broad view of the tragedy and insanity of war.
  5. Veterans are among the only few Americans who have seen the challenges of starvation, illiteracy, rampant lawlessness, brutality and dishonesty, terrorism, and a myriad of other challenging circumstances.
  6. Few citizens have seen the importance of our alliances and partnerships with other countries like our military members.
  7. Veterans have worked alongside other government departments to provide disaster relief and uphold the national defense. Veterans have worked frequently with the Department of State, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Commerce, and many other parts of our federal and state governments.


The Bottom Line of My Experience, Observations, and Advice

Get as much education as you can in writing and English. Recognize you are not free from bias. Be transparent, fearless, and honest. Be selfless, enthusiastic, kind, compassionate, and empathetic in your writing. Write like crazy. Interview and ask all sides for their comments and observations. Do not just write about problems and failures, but also write about successes. Be a faithful and courageous watchdog and, finally, do not let self-interests compromise your work.

LTC (Retired) W. Larry Dandridge is an ex-Army infantryman and ex-Army attack helicopter pilot who has written numerous articles on aviation, logistics, and leadership. He is the owner, senior editor and writer with T, T, &V Publishing LLC. His articles have been published in over 20 magazines, newspapers, and two books across three countries. He is pictured here speaking to the Hilton Head-Bluffton, SC Veterans Club.

MVJ Speakers Bureau members learn to improve coverage of disabled veterans

By Features, Resources

Earlier this year, Military Veterans in Journalism and the Ford Foundation launched its Disability Inclusion Program to advocate for better, more nuanced reporting around disabled military veterans. Eleven veterans were chosen to serve as speakers. MVJ organized a training series with top journalists and experts in the disabled veterans and broader disability spaces to discuss these critical issues and teach best practices.

Disabled veterans and the issues that affect them often do not receive proper representation in the media. From “inspiration porn” to outright stereotyping, newsrooms have a history of neglecting their due diligence in coverage on these issues. Inaccurate portrayals of invisible disabilities like post-traumatic stress (PTS) or sweeping assumptions of disabled veterans as a group create misperceptions that harm veterans who are looking for help.

The MVJ training sessions began with a discussion of issues in coverage of disabled veterans with Dan Clare of Disabled American Veterans. Clare spoke on the dangers of using tropes in covering disabled veterans, as the consequences can be disastrous for the community. Sweeping assumptions influence shifts in public perception and harm veterans looking for work or other help. Stories that contain these tropes are often partisan in nature, he explained, so they do not reflect the whole disabled veteran community, and that is a disservice to all veterans.

Instead, Clare advised that journalists must portray veterans in a straightforward, factual way. Reporters have access to plenty of organizations like DAV that are available for resources and fact-checking, and these organizations can connect them with disabled veteran sources. He also advised that journalists should avoid exaggerations and instead take the time needed to build a strong story. Above all, reporters should understand that veterans are never required to disclose the specifics of their disability or that they are disabled at all.

The Speakers Bureau members also learned from Cara Reedy of the Disabled Journalists Association, who provided insight on systemic troubles plaguing disabled veterans. The criminal justice system punishes disabled veterans disproportionately, as approximately one in five male veterans in federal prisons are combat veterans. According to the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, disabled veterans face harsher outcomes when it comes to homelessness, too.

Reedy asked the Speakers Bureau veterans to consider why so many news stories treat disabled veteran homelessness or incarceration as natural. “Veterans, who are supposed to be taken care of once they are out of combat, are literally falling through the cracks,” Reedy noted. She believes reporters must question where the failures in the system are that lead to these outcomes.

Journalists also need to allow disabled veterans the space and agency to tell their own stories, according to Reedy. Non-disabled people often shape the narrative around disabled issues, leading to inaccurate information and a sense of unimportance. Instead of allowing non-disabled individuals to have this power, Reedy advised that journalists should seek disabled veteran sources who face the impacts of systemic failures.

The final training sessions, led by Wendy Lu of The New York Times, covered best practices for reporting on disabled veterans. Lu reminded members of the Speakers Bureau that many veterans who acquire disabilities through service face a different process of acceptance than civilians who have lived their entire lives with disabilities. She advised that journalists should be aware of and give more space to the recovery and acceptance processes that many disabled veterans go through. 

Many disabled veterans have experienced trauma in different forms, and it’s important to avoid potentially triggering them, Lu said. While many people develop a sense of disability pride, that road is not always possible for disabled veterans.

Some veterans don’t have visible disabilities, but instead live with invisible disabilities like PTSD. However, Lu said, invisible disabilities are often stigmatized or outright ignored in coverage. She advised reporters to avoid making assumptions about invisible disabilities and including them when relevant to the story. PTSD and other invisible conditions affect how veterans live and function just like visible disabilities do, and this needs to be recognized in coverage. 

After spending the last four months learning from experts on best practices for stronger coverage of disabled veterans issues, MVJ’s Speakers Bureau members will take the tips they have learned and share them with newsrooms across the country, aiming to improve how the news industry covers the disabled veteran community.

MVJ teams up with WJXT to strengthen reporting on disabled veterans

By News

Reporters, anchors and producers from the News4JAX team pose for a snapshot with MVJ President Russell Midori (left) and Speakers Bureau trainer Raychel Young (right). This and another group of WJXT team members engaged in discussions on best practices for reporting on disabled veterans during MVJ’s Nov. 14 visit to Jacksonville, Fla.

Reporters, producers and photographers at Jacksonville’s top television news station, WJXT, participated in a discussion with members of Military Veterans in Journalism last week to consider best practices for reporting on disabled veterans.

The News4JAX team engaged in two hour-long training sessions with members of the MVJ Speakers Bureau. The conversation focused on impactful storytelling, accurate representation, connections between veterans and other marginalized groups, and local and national resources for journalists. 

“Although they had tough questions, I felt entirely prepared to speak as an authority on disability reporting because of my training through MVJ and my own first-hand experience as a disabled veteran in journalism,” said Raychel Young, one of the trainers from the Speakers Bureau. 

She and her fellow speakers have developed this training by working with top disability reporters and veterans groups, distilling the strongest insights from those sessions to share with news teams. 

WJXT is the first news outlet to invite the Speakers Bureau for an in-person discussion. 

“Taking every step we can to better serve our military veterans is important to all of us at News4JAX, which is why we jumped on the opportunity to meet with MVJ,” said Jodi Mohrmann, managing editor at WJXT.  “We had candid discussions about the needs of disabled veterans and have already implemented some of what we learned in our daily reporting to make sure the stories we tell will have a greater impact on the veteran community.”

The training is funded through a grant from the Ford Foundation, and aims to help reporters access communities of disabled veterans – many of whom have told the MVJ team they often feel ignored by news media coverage. 

WJXT is the only news station in its market to engage in this training, even though MVJ offered to provide speakers to most major news outlets in the Jacksonville area. 

“Almost every American mass media outlet claims to care about the veterans in their audience, but channel 4 in Jacksonville really walks the walk,” said MVJ President Russell Midori.

“Reporting on disabled veterans is not as easy as it sounds,” Midori said. “This is a very diverse group of people affected by a wide range of social inequities. So many disabled veterans are less trustful of the media than the average American, and I am hopeful the commitment news outlets like WJXT have shown will begin to counter that mistrust by strengthening coverage of veterans issues.”

New York Times senior staff editor educates MVJ on disability reporting best practices

By Features, Resources

Earlier this year, Military Veterans in Journalism and the Ford Foundation launched its Disability Inclusion Program to advocate for better, more nuanced reporting around disabled military veterans. Eleven veterans were chosen to serve as speakers. MVJ organized a training series with top journalists and experts in the disabled veterans and broader disability spaces to discuss these critical issues and teach best practices.

Wendy Lu is a senior staff editor on the Flexible Editing desk at The New York Times, where she edits a variety of stories from across the newsroom — breaking news, science stories, political features, briefings, wellness stories, newsletters and more. Lu is also a global speaker on disability representation in the media and a national reporter covering the intersection of disability, politics and culture. Previously, she was an editor at HuffPost. Lu has written for Teen Vogue, Refinery29, Bustle, Men’s Health, Quartz, Columbia Journalism Review and others, and has also been named on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list in the Media division.

This summer, Wendy Lu, a senior staff editor at The New York Times, held three training sessions with the Speakers Bureau veterans. Lu coached them on the technical components of disability reporting, including what to do – and what not to do – when covering disability issues.

Lu started her sessions by discussing disability media tropes and the concept of disability as an identity. Although the disability community is very diverse, she explained, it is a strong one and has its own vibrant culture and history. In fact, disabled people make up the largest minority group in the U.S., with more than a quarter of the population identifying as disabled. 

Most nondisabled reporters fail to understand the complex nature of disability, so disabled subjects often do not get nuance in coverage, she explained. Non-disabled people are often at the center of stories rather than the disabled people who are actually affected by the issue. These factors lead to mischaracterizations in the news, which trickles into society as a whole.

Part of this broader issue is “inspiration porn,” which Lu defines as “a genre of reporting that portrays people with disabilities as inspirational solely because they’re disabled.” The genre includes charity stories that congratulate non-disabled people for doing something to help a disabled person. When writing these exploitative stories, reporters often take a condescending tone that turns disability into something to be pitied. This creates assumptions about what living with a disability is like, Lu explained.

Inspiration porn, Lu argued, creates an “us versus them” dynamic where non-disabled people end up feeling grateful they’re not disabled. It also fails to give space to wider issues in these stories, like highlighting inaccessibility in society or a broader investigative angle. Instead, Lu advised reporters to ask themselves two things as a starting point: Does a story about disability include actually disabled sources, and is it inspirational to disabled people, too? Stories that fit both criteria are more likely to avoid the exploitation often associated with disability coverage.

Using respectful, inclusive language around disabilities is also crucial, although it can be tricky for journalists to navigate, according to Lu. Phrases and terms like “suffers from,” “handicapped,” and “special needs” have become less favorable as awareness of disability issues has grown over the years. Other language has become more nuanced. For example, although many terms may have originated with negative connotations, the disabled community has managed to reclaim some of them and use them in more empowering ways.

One discussion reporters might have in their newsrooms is whether to use person-first terms, like “person with disabilities,” or identity-first terms, like “disabled person.” There is no consensus among the disabled community, as every disabled person has different preferences. Some community members even use both interchangeably. Lu advised asking sources what they prefer, with the recognition that  some disabled people may not realize they even have a preference until they’re asked. Journalists should use accurate, inclusive, and neutral language, and only mention the disability when relevant to the story, Lu said.

It is vital to ensure reporters consider the complexity of disability language without allowing it to overshadow the need for coverage. Making mistakes is all right as long as you are able to learn from them, Lu said. “It’s about being accurate, truthful, and respectful, and meeting people where they are,” she explained.

In visual storytelling, she emphasized that journalists should give space for disabled people to authentically be themselves. It is good practice to seek creative angles to showcase the subject’s life and perspective while ensuring they have agency in the visuals. When doing video interviews, reporters should aim to show viewers who the person is in their day-to-day life. Visual reporting needs to treat disabled people like anyone else, Lu said.

It’s important to note that none of this means giving disabled people in power “a pass,” Lu added. Disabled politicians, for instance, still need to be held accountable, and reporters should still ask them the tough questions that they would ask anyone else. At the end of the day, it’s about being accessible, inclusive, fair, and factual — all hallmarks of strong journalism.

Journalists wanting to make their coverage more accessible to the disabled community have a few things to consider, Lu explained. Multimedia stories should include captioning and audio descriptions. Lu advised avoiding automated captions whenever possible since they are often incorrect. Instead, captions should be manually added or burned in. Simple accommodations like these will increase trust between newsrooms and the disabled community, and also increase readership and viewership.

Lu also discussed her tips for pitching disability stories to mainstream news outlets. More and more newsrooms need to make disability stories a priority, Lu said, and journalists should pitch ideas when they have them. “Many editors still don’t realize disability is an actual beat,” she said, “so there might be a lot of instances where [reporters] have to over-explain a bit more.” Editors often need to see the importance of a disability issue on a local, state, or national level before approving a pitch, she said, so reporters should be prepared to explain the “why” and “why now” of a story idea.

Lu also instructed the Speakers Bureau veterans on how to teach others about disability reporting. She emphasized the importance of meeting people where they are and understanding that not everyone will get these concepts immediately. She spoke on acknowledging the gaps and limits in one’s knowledge, saying that while presenters cannot know everything, what they do know is worth sharing. Lu also suggested asking attendees if they need accommodations well beforehand, recording the sessions, and providing transcripts to demonstrate some of the disability best practices. 

“Hosting trainings takes a lot of trial and error,” Lu said in her final session with the Speakers Bureau members. “Some sessions will go better than others, and sometimes you’ll think of other things you could’ve done differently.” She emphasized to the veterans that simple respect by reporters will go a long way toward improving disability coverage.

Military Veterans in Journalism Announce Release of New Military & Veteran Affairs Reporting Guide

By News

Military Veterans in Journalism has launched the Military & Veteran Affairs Reporting Guide, an online portal that provides a range of resources for reporters covering military and veteran issues.

MVJ will officially announce the release of this resource at an MVJ-led panel discussion at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 11, which is Veterans Day. 

This portal, created thanks to support from News Corp Giving, provides several helpful items for journalists seeking guidance, including:

  • A guide on reporting on military and veteran issues like post-traumatic stress and military sexual trauma
  • A showcase of veterans working in the news media
  • A directory of experts focused on military and veteran affairs
  • A series of reporting tips from seasoned journalists in this space

The guide can be accessed at www.milvetreporting.org.

The Military & Veteran Affairs Reporting Guide serves as part cultural competency guide and part style guide. It was compiled over the past year with assistance from MVJ’s community of veterans in journalism.

The reporting tips section of the portal provides reporters with helpful articles and videos that expand on topics covered within the guide. Current articles explore military sexual trauma (MST), post traumatic stress (PTS), the hero-victim-messiah complex, embedding with and photographing service members, and women veterans’ news coverage.  

The guide is a living portal that will frequently be updated with feedback from the veteran community. 

The Veterans Day panel in D.C. will focus on the role of veterans in the news media. Co-hosted with the National Press Club, this event will be moderated by NPC President Jen Judson and will include the following panelists:

  • Bob Woodward of The Washington Post, Navy veteran
  • Zack Baddorf of Military Veterans in Journalism, Navy veteran
  • Ron Nixon of the Associated Press, Marine Corps veteran
  • Allison Erickson of The Texas Tribune, Army veteran

Disabled Journalists Association director educates MVJ on systemic disability struggles

By Resources

Earlier this year, Military Veterans in Journalism and the Ford Foundation launched its Disability Inclusion Program to advocate for better, more nuanced reporting around disabled military veterans. Eleven veterans were chosen to serve as speakers. MVJ organized a training series with top journalists and experts in the disabled veterans and broader disability spaces to discuss these critical issues and teach best practices. 

Cara Reedy is the Media Narrative Director at Disabled Journalists Association. She is a journalist and producer who spent ten years at CNN producing documentaries as well as writing for various verticals. In 2019, she produced her most recent short doc for The Guardian entitled Dwarfism and Me.

In June, Cara Reedy, the director of the Disabled Journalists Association, held three training sessions with the Speakers Bureau veterans. Reedy focused on the broader, systemic struggles disabled people face daily and what reporters should do to help disabled people be empowered by their stories.

Reedy began by taking a hard look at the role of disability in economic and societal well-being. According to the National Council on Disability, people with disabilities live in poverty at more than twice the rate of those without, and of the 17.9 million working-age adults with disabilities, more than 65% participate in income support or safety net programs. Only 29 percent of disabled working-age people have employment, and education doesn’t help much – just 25 percent of disabled people with at least a bachelor’s degree are employed, whereas 70 percent of people without disabilities with the same education level have jobs, per an early 2022 Bureau of Labor Statistics news release.

Disabled people – especially disabled people of color – are also more likely to face harsher outcomes early on in life, as shown in a 2018 study from the Government Accountability Office. Disabled students, for instance, make up 25 percent of all out-of-school suspensions despite only representing 12 percent of public school students. Those numbers increase when looking at black disabled students – while only 19 percent of public school students are black and disabled, they make up 36 percent of school punishments. This overrepresentation of disabled minorities among public school punishments is a large, although often overlooked, part of the school-to-prison pipeline.

It’s an early example of the harshness of the justice system on disabilities. In a Bureau of Justice Statistics survey published last year, as many as 29 percent of federal inmates and 40 percent of state inmates reported having disabilities. When the Supreme Court passes down rulings on issues important to people without disabilities, the decisions often don’t affect the treatment of disabled people. 

Recently, we’ve seen examples of police officers not following Miranda Rights rules when handling the cognitively disabled, leading to unjust imprisonment – or even death, in the case of people like Kokou Christopher Fiafonou from Austin, Minnesota. And with the recent overturning of Roe v. Wade comes concerns from disability rights organizations like the Disability Justice Initiative that many disabled women won’t be able to get equitable medical care if they can’t carry their children to term.

There is only one way into the system, Reedy said, and when disability gets added in, people face a lack of options to navigate it. But studying the parts of society that are failing disabled people provides opportunities for reporters to use their skills to advocate for solutions.

U.S. Navy veteran Kimberly Kennedy speaks about challenges to disabled Michigan residents at the North American International Auto Show on January 15. Returning the power in narratives to people with disabilities is an important part of improving disability coverage. (U.S. Army National Guard/Spc. Samantha Hall)

Often, stories on disability issues remove power from those directly affected, Reedy said, because reporters go the “easier route,” speaking to non-disabled people instead of the disabled people themselves. As a result, non-disabled people feel they can speak for the disability community because they’ve held power in disability stories for so long. 

Reedy further explained that reporters often don’t cover the divide between abled and disabled individuals working in the disability space, making it harder for disabled people to speak up for themselves. As a result, the stories produced by the media at large tend to lean toward eugenic language and patronizing tones, she said.

Reedy suggests journalists must not pretend that disability does not exist. “Everyone will be disabled at some point,” she says, as it is a natural part of aging. “Once you’re in the disability system, no one will come to help you if you don’t use your power to change things now.”

Using that power is easier said than done for many reporters. In giving agency back to individuals with disabilities, reporters may have to question their own biases and beliefs. 

The questioning process is hard to start, though, when many reporters and newsrooms are afraid to publish mistakes. Reedy says journalists must get comfortable with making mistakes, by acknowledging their mistake, apologizing, and moving forward. It is better to make a mistake and still cover the story than to let the story pass and bring harm to more people, she said. Reedy advises journalists to ask sources as many questions as possible, including the language they think is best.

Reedy also recommends researching every source. Untrustworthy non-disabled sources are not the only problem – some disabled people will give inaccurate information for monetary gain. When reporters ask others in the community about their potential sources, community members gain a chance to tell reporters more about the source. 

Speaking with disabled people as sources can also produce insight into incidents within the disabled community. “The disability community in particular will have proof,” Reedy explained. “If you ask [disabled people] for screenshots, they’re holding them, waiting for someone to come and report the story.”.

Maryland School for the Blind students Andrea Washington, left, and Derontay Taylor, right, along with teacher Colleen Shovestull, center, use their sense of touch on topographical maps. This is a good example of “disability tax”, or the extra time and effort people with disabilities have to put in to do everyday things. (NASA/Paul E. Alers)

Even with journalists taking these approaches, many in the non-disabled community may not understand why disability stories matter. Reedy’s solution is to introduce a “disability tax” – the extra time and energy disabled people have to expend to live, as a way for people to understand the importance of these issues. 

For instance, how much extra energy did a disabled person have to exert compared to an abled person? People understand the value of time better than most other metaphors, Reedy said.

Reedy finished her sessions with advice on tackling these issues in newsrooms. “Turn everything on its head,” she offered, explaining that journalists need to consider the disability side of stories. Reedy also advised encouraging newsrooms to show and normalize disabilities instead of avoiding them. Reporters need to think about why things are how they are and what they can do to give agency back to disabled communities.

NPR Selects Coast Guard Veteran as Part of Its 2022 Internship Cohort

By News

Military Veterans in Journalism is pleased to announce that NPR has selected Coast Guard Veteran Devin Speak to join its 2022 class of interns.

Devin Speak, a Coast Guard veteran and photojournalist, was selected for this year’s internship opportunity with NPR. Follow Devin’s work on his photography website or on Instagram!

Devin Speak is a photojournalist with a steadfast concern for climate change and social inequities. He is a protegé of the Associated Press’s Alex Sanz as part of MVJ’s mentorship program as well as a member of the Freelance Journalists Union. After his time in the United States Coast Guard, he took a deep-dive into academia at NYU where he graduated as valedictorian of his class in sustainability and peace & conflict studies. Speak is honored to have his photography in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History and publications like The Intercept, as well as featured across his friend’s bands, fashion projects, businesses, and nonprofits.

“I’m very excited to learn from such an incredible organization and grateful for MVJ making the connection,” Speak said. He will join the Here & Now team for the first half of the program, where he will learn the ins and outs of NPR’s daily news operation. During the second half of his internship, Speak will switch to the NPR Politics team, where he will assist in covering the House, Senate and Biden administration across platforms.

“Devin joins us with a bounty of experience,” says Here & Now’s James Mastromarino. “He’s quickly learning the ins and outs of radio, and is a dogged reporter and fastidious researcher.”

Although Speak’s primary experience is in photojournalism, he said he is looking forward to improving his research and daily news production skills and having the chance to produce content across a variety of platforms with NPR.

“Our team at MVJ is incredibly grateful for NPR’s continued support of newsroom diversity via the inclusion of military veterans in its highly competitive internship program,” said Russell Midori, MVJ’s president. “We are excited to see Devin’s growth as part of their excellent team, and we encourage other newsrooms to step up in diversifying their staff.”

Speak is the third veteran to receive this intern position since the start of MVJ and NPR’s partnership in 2020.

Military Veterans in Journalism Podcast Now on Wreaths Across America Radio

By News, Podcast

Thanks to a new partnership with Wreaths Across America Radio, Military Veterans in Journalism’s podcast “Sword & Pen” will now be featured alongside the online station’s other veteran-centric broadcast content.

“‘Sword & Pen’ is a great addition to our line up,” said Jeff Pierce, Director of Broadcast and Media Partnerships for Wreaths Across America. “As a ‘Voice for America’s Veterans’, the addition of shows like ‘Sword & Pen’ provides another layer of depth to our selection of content designed to inform and provide resources for our Veterans. As Wreaths Across America Radio continues to support and further the mission of Wreaths Across America, we are always looking for more content like ‘Sword & Pen’ that will continue to help veterans-related organizations with their mission.”

Sword & Pen, launched in late 2019 with MVJ Webmaster Rich Dolan as host, is a once-monthly podcast that provides educational and career tips for military veterans interested in journalism. Now helmed by co-hosts Drew Lawrence and Lori King, Sword & Pen episodes feature interviews with military veterans already in the field, journalism educators, and other supporters of increasing newsroom diversity through hiring and promoting veterans. Podcast guests share their stories, what they think veterans can bring to newsrooms, and their advice for those looking to get started as journalists and military veterans during each episode.

“When MVJ started in 2019, Sword & Pen was one of the first programs where we could spotlight vets in the news industry while providing advice to those who weren’t sure where to start,” said Zack Baddorf, MVJ Executive Director. “We are thrilled to partner with Wreaths Across America Radio to share Sword & Pen alongside their variety of programming that helps America’s veterans. We hope each month’s episode can be useful to military veterans in journalism nationwide.”

The new content sharing partnership begins this week, with Sword & Pen playing on Mondays at 10 AM, Saturdays at 8 PM, and again Sundays at 7 PM Eastern. Wreaths Across America Radio’s 24/7 stream can be accessed anytime and anywhere on the iHeart Radio app, Audacy app, TuneIn app, or at www.wreathsacrossamerica.org/radio.

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 www.mvj.network.

About Wreaths Across America Radio

Wreaths Across America Radio is a 24/7 Internet stream. Its unique format provides informational and inspiring content about members of the U.S. armed forces, their families, military veterans, and volunteers throughout the country and overseas who support the mission to Remember, Honor and Teach. Along with the inspiring content, Wreaths Across America Radio plays a variety of music with roots firmly planted in patriotism and a country music thread running through the core of the stream. Wreaths Across America Radio has a live morning show every weekday morning from 6 am to 10 am ET, along with a variety of special programs that support the mission.

Military Veterans in Journalism Announces Top Ten Vets in Journalism for 2022

By Resources

Military Veterans in Journalism is pleased to announce the winners of this year’s Top Ten Vets in Journalism contest. This annual contest, started in 2021, is aimed at recognizing and honoring journalists who have made significant contributions to the field of journalism and who have served in the armed forces. It is a testament to the incredible talent and dedication of these journalists, and we are proud to have them as part of the MVJ community.

Please meet 2022’s Top Ten Veterans in Journalism:

Ben Kesling, a former Marine Corps infantry officer, is a Midwest correspondent with The Wall Street Journal in the Chicago bureau where he also focuses on domestic security and veterans issues. He was previously a national security and veterans issues reporter at the Journal’s bureau in Washington. He also has experience as a foreign and combat correspondent. Ben graduated from Wabash College and has a Master of Divinity degree from the Harvard Divinity School. He attended Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University.

 

Anthony Vazquez is a Marine Corps veteran and photojournalist for the Chicago Sun-Times where he concentrates on the city’s south and west sides. Previously, Vazquez was based out of Iowa, where he focused on the effects of Medicaid privatization, and Mexico, where he reported on rural life in the United States and Mexico. In the Marine Corps, Vazquez supervised flight line operations of multiple airfield control groups as well as aided in medical evacuations of injured personnel by securing and designating landing zones for helicopters. His experience in the Marine Corps confirmed the importance of documenting and sharing stories. After the military, Vazquez pursued journalism at the University of Iowa, where he served as photo editor of The Daily Iowan. He moved to Mexico post-graduation to continue documenting illegal immigration. While in Mexico, he was a stringer for The Associated Press and AP Images.

 

Ron Nixon is an American journalist. He was the homeland security correspondent for The New York Times, and the author of Selling Apartheid: South Africa’s Global Propaganda War. He joined the Associated Press as international investigations editor in early 2019, and was promoted to global investigations editor in March of that year

 

Dustin Jones is a news desk reporter at NPR, where he covers national and international issues like politics and COVID-19. He holds a Master’s in Documentary Production from Columbia Graduate School of Journalism and has was MVJ’s first intern with NPR in 2020. He is a veteran Marine Corps sniper with multiple combat deployments. 

He produced a beautiful and moving documentary about veteran suicide while at Columbia. He specializes in breaking news and long-form narrative pieces on issues across the spectrum.

 

Kenny Holston is a staff photographer for the New York Times. Most recently Kenny has contributed to the NYT coverage of Voting Rights, Afghan Refugees fleeing Afghanistan, politics, the COVID-19 pandemic, the insurrection of the US Capitol, the 2021 Presidential Inauguration, Black Lives Matter movement and the 2020 presidential campaign. Kenny is a former USAF photojournalist who served for 14 years and was awarded the DoD Military Photographer of the Year award in 2015, and is a graduate of both the photojournalism program at Syracuse University and the Eddie Adams XXVII workshop.

 

Noelle is an award-winning journalist from Cincinnati, Ohio, who came to Coffee or Die Magazine following a fellowship from Military Veterans in Journalism. She graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and interned with the US Army Cadet Command in college. She worked as a civilian journalist covering several units, including the 75th Ranger Regiment on Fort Benning, before she joined the military and served as a public affairs specialist attached to the 3rd Infantry Division. She deployed once as a media analyst for the Special Operations Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve in Kuwait.

 

Thomas Brennan is the founder of The War Horse, an award-winning nonprofit newsroom. He’s the author of Shooting Ghosts with bylines in the Center for Investigative Reporting, Vanity Fair, and on the front page of The New York Times. Brennan has received the prestigious Edward R. Murrow and Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Journalism Awards.

 

Paul Szoldra served as an active duty Marine from 2002 until 2010. In 2012, he founded the satirical publication The Duffel Blog. For the past 4 years he has been the Editor in Chief for Task & Purpose. This year he has launched a new publication, The Ruck, with a focus on the future of national security. 

 

Drew Lawrence is an Army veteran, reporter, and producer of Military.com’s Fire Watch podcast. He is a graduate of The George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs, where he studied journalism. He hails from Massachusetts and is a proud New England sports fan.

 

Sara Samora is a Marine Corps veteran and the veterans reporter for Stars and Stripes. A native Texan, she previously worked at the Houston Business Journal and the New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung. She also serves on the boards of Military Veterans in Journalism and the Houston Association of Hispanic Media Professionals.

 

These awardees were honored at the MVJ2022 convention, where they were recognized for their achievements and contributions to journalism. They have shown exceptional skills in storytelling and reporting and have used their experiences to bring attention to important issues facing veterans and military families.

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 www.mvj.network.

MVJ2022 Convention Nearly Sold Out

By #MVJ2022, Features

There are fewer than 20 tickets remaining for the #MVJ2022 convention to be held this week in Washington D.C.

The 2nd Annual Military Veterans in Journalism convention was initially “intended to be a smaller affair because we didn’t know the demand would be so great coming out of the pandemic,” said MVJ President Russell Midori. “But more than 70 tickets have been sold, and we can’t fit many more attendees in the building.”

MVJ partnered with the Reserve Organization of America to host the event in their venue at 1 Constitution Ave. NE, which can support a little more than 100 people. But MVJ leadership limited total attendance to 90.

“We wanted it to remain an exclusive event so those who attend get personal attention from the programming and quality face time with career fair recruiters,” Midori said. “We are also saving ten spots for D.C.-based journalists who would like to join in on panels or share their experiences with our membership.”

Some of the panels at this year’s convention will demonstrate the ways military veterans are contributing to journalism, such as by improving media coverage of disabled veterans and disinformation. Others will inform attendees on the future of news, including a presentation by Microsoft on new tools for collaborative virtual news gathering and a discussion around entrepreneurial journalism.

The career fair will include recruiters from news organizations like CNN, Sinclair Broadcast Group, Politico, and a number of outlets from around the country.

Industry leaders are scheduled to attend, such as Sewell Chan, editor in chief of the Texas Tribune, but the MVJ leadership team is extending an open invite to other great journalists who care about newsroom diversity.

“We’ve gotten some great support from some of America’s strongest news organizations, but not enough,” Midori explained. “I think that’s because the news media industry doesn’t yet have enough awareness about the talented journalists emerging from the veteran community.”

One of the goals of #MVJ2022 is to help raise that awareness.

“That’s why we’re gathering so many of our members in the heart of Washington D.C., one of the best media markets in the country. We’re hoping to bring on some surprise guests to share their experiences in journalism with our members.”

Those who wish to attend can still purchase their tickets at 2022.MVJ.network.

Military Veterans in Journalism to host Veterans Day discussion at National Press Club on military, veterans News Coverage

By News

Military Veterans in Journalism and the National Press Club are co-hosting a panel discussion about the role of veterans in the news media on Veterans Day (Nov. 11) at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

This 90-minute event will explore topics related to the lack of diversity in the news industry as well as how veterans can use their lived experiences to bring nuanced understanding of military and veteran issues into newsrooms. 

While about 7% percent of Americans have served in the U.S. military, only 2% of American journalists are vets.

The panel discussion will be moderated by NPC President Jen Judson, who is the land warfare reporter at Defense News. Also participating in the discussion will be:

  • Bob Woodward of The Washington Post, Navy veteran
  • Zack Baddorf of Military Veterans in Journalism, Navy veteran
  • Ron Nixon of the Associated Press, Marine Corps veteran
  • Allison Erickson of The Texas Tribune, Army veteran

“The National Press Club is honored to host and moderate this event on such a timely topic in the news industry,” said Judson, an experienced national defense journalist. “Veterans bring much-needed skills to journalistic work, including a diversity of perspective that’s often overlooked. We look forward to hearing the thoughts and advice of this panel of incredibly talented veterans in journalism.”

MVJ will also use the occasion to launch its Military & Veteran Affairs Reporting Guide, a new online resource portal made possible thanks to support from News Corp Giving. 

The Military & Veteran Affairs Reporting Guide includes a series of reporting tips, a showcase of veterans in media, a database of military and veterans affairs experts, and a comprehensive cultural competency guide to reporting on military and veteran issues. This portal will serve as a resource for reporters covering military and veteran reporting beats.

“The Military & Veteran Affairs Reporting Guide was built with support and input from a wide range of folks in the military veteran community,” said Baddorf, who has reported from Syria, Iraq, Ukraine and elsewhere for outlets like the New York Times and the Associated Press. “We also hope this guide will serve as a useful tool for reporters to increase the quality of their reporting on the military and veterans for years to come.”

Journalists and others interested in attending this Veterans Day event may register today to secure their attendance.

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 www.mvj.network.

About the National Press Club
The National Press Club is the World’s Leading Professional Organization for Journalists™. It serves its members through professional development activities that bolster their skills, through services that meet the changing needs of the global communications profession and through social activities that build a vital media community in Washington and around the world. The Club is where news happens in the nation’s capital and is a vigorous advocate of press freedom worldwide. Learn more at www.press.org.

Senior DAV leader educates MVJ on veteran disability issues

By Resources

Earlier this year, Military Veterans in Journalism and the Ford Foundation launched its Disability Inclusion Program to advocate for better, more nuanced reporting around disabled military veterans. Eleven veterans were chosen to serve as speakers. MVJ organized a training series with top journalists and experts in the disabled veterans and broader disability spaces to discuss these critical issues and teach best practices.

Dan Clare is a Marine Corps and Air Force veteran, a former military journalist, and the chief communications and outreach officer for Disabled American Veterans (DAV).

In May, Dan Clare, the chief communications and outreach officer for DAV (Disabled American Veterans), held two training sessions with the Speakers Bureau veterans. Clare focused on the issues disabled veterans face today and how journalists should approach these concerns.

Clare began with a question: what is a disabled veteran? To him and to DAV, a disabled veteran is “an individual who, while serving in the armed forces, experiences a lasting change in their physical or mental health that impedes their ability to work or function in society.”

Disabled veterans are part of the broader world of disabilities and should be treated as such. One thing that makes service-connected disabled veterans unique, however, is that their disabilities were incurred while they were serving to defend the nation. They are not the only disabled people who have advocated for change, but the improvements in VA medical care and research disabled veterans have advocated for  help the movement to make America more inclusive and accessible to all disabled people.

While the military is rigorous in its physical health standards for enlistment, many veterans leave the service forever changed in some way, Clare said. The disability expert states it’s the public’s obligation to ensure veterans receive the care they need to function in society.

According to a report from the U.S. Census Bureau, 43% of post-9/11 veterans have a chance of having a service-related disability, with 39% of those having a disability rating of 70% or higher. The VA’s budget has risen accordingly over the years. In 2001, the VA received $45 billion in funding, which will increase to $300 billion by 2023. Overall, Clare said there’s an increased awareness of the benefits available to veterans and less reluctance to ask for help.

Yet even with that increased awareness, disabled veterans still struggle to receive the care they’re entitled to, and certain groups face more difficulty than others.

Disabled women veterans from across the country pictured together at the Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) Women Veterans Empowerment Retreat.

Women veterans comprise the fastest-growing segment of the population but some don’t identify themselves as veterans to others. Of the two million women veterans in the VA system, only 500,000 are currently in treatment, even though 60% of those in the system have a disability rating of 50% or higher. According to Clare, several factors cause this disparity — the accessibility of childcare and housing, harassment at VA care facilities, and disproportionate denial of claims related to military sexual trauma all serve as barriers to care for women veterans.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender and racial minority veterans haven’t fared much better over the years. LGBT+ veterans are far more likely to experience depression, and their suicide rates are higher than other veteran groups, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association. This group of people often don’t disclose their gender or sexual identity due to a history of mistreatment, bias, and outright denial of care, according to Clare.

Among veterans in racial and ethnic minority groups, service disabled Black vets use the VA care system at the highest rate, with only Hispanic vets coming close behind. Per the VA’s Office of Health Equity, the percentage of minority veterans in the VA system will continue to increase in the future. “The VA needs to diversify its staff,” Clare stated. “It needs to better represent the community it serves.”

Among the more widely-known issues facing veterans today is exposure to environmental toxins in service. Around 3.5 million veterans were exposed to burn pits in the Middle East, and more have been exposed to contaminated water on installations stateside. Yet it takes the VA a very long time to recognize toxin cases related to combat and begin treating them, and it’s often a fight to get there, Clare said. The result is healthy veterans getting sick and dying without access to the care they’ve earned. Clare noted that these veterans die prematurely and without access to benefits, and their families are brushed aside after their deaths. Justice, both for veterans exposed to these toxins and their spouses and families, he said, must be sped up.

The main image for the “Returning War Vet” TV Tropes page, which defines the trope as, “A stock character of many action movies. A character returns home from the military [and] will inevitably be called upon to put his skills to good use.”

While reporting on disabled veterans’ issues has evolved, and solid coverage is often a service to the community, Clare believes there are some areas in which it hasn’t necessarily improved. Tropes and “inspiration porn” often seen in coverage of disabled veterans causes direct harm – irresponsible representation of suicide, for instance, has been proven to directly impact the decisions of veterans with suicidal thoughts or tendencies. The consequences can be disastrous on the community, as they influence shifts in public perception.

“These stories need to be told, and they need to be told in a productive and effective manner,” Clare said. “We need reporters to ask, ‘What is the promise that [the public has] made veterans, and how [is the public] going to make them whole?’”

Clare advised the Speakers Bureau veterans against making broad, sweeping statements or assumptions about veterans in news reporting. Stories containing these statements are often publicity stunts or partisan in nature and don’t reflect the whole disabled veteran community, he explained. Broad assumptions about disabled veterans harm those looking for work, as the misperceptions created cause employers to balk at veterans with disabilities.

Instead, reporters should focus on straightforward, factual portrayals of veterans and provide readers with resources to maximize positive impact. Reminding reporters that they’re not alone, Clare said, is important. There are plenty of organizations like DAV available to reach out to for resources and fact-checking, and they can connect reporters with disabled veteran sources.

An airman tosses unserviceable uniform items into the Joint Base Balad, Iraq, burn pit in this March 2008 file photo. “Military uniform items turned in must be burned to ensure they cannot be used by opposing forces,” the Air Force said in a statement accompanying the photo. (Senior Airman Julianne Showalter/Air Force)

He also shared some tips for the Speakers Bureau members to take to newsrooms: 

  • When journalists write headlines, they should avoid exaggerating.
  • Journalists need to look at the issue, find the most credible source, and take the time to build a good story.
  • Journalists should be objective in their analysis of VA. The department should remain accountable to the veterans and families it serves and the taxpayers who fund it. However, subjective or out-of-context reporting that erodes public faith in the VA could harm its ability to support those who served.
  • Reporters should understand that veterans are never required to disclose their disability. If they choose to, the reporter has a duty to report accurately, and does not need to include that information if it’s irrelevant to the story.

Maintaining truth and clarity in reporting on disabled veterans’ issues is what Dan Clare believes should be central in future coverage. “In order for us to have the freedom of the press, citizens have to be willing to make sacrifices for the nation,” he said, “and it’s important to understand the public’s obligation to veterans beyond patriotism.”

Military Veterans in Journalism Sends Six Veterans to NAB Show NY 2022

By News

Military Veterans in Journalism has selected six veterans to attend the NAB Show NY 2022. Made possible by a new partnership with the National Association of Broadcasters, this sponsorship will provide the selectees with the means to improve their broadcast skills.

The NAB Show NY 2022 is a two-day event, and selectees’ attendance fees, flight and lodging costs will be covered by the partner organizations. Attendees will:

  • Lean into efficiency and learn more about finding solutions. Discover alternate workflows and learn how to use what they’ve got.
  • Gain fresh perspective. From training to case study presentations with industry pros, find the tips, tricks and inspiration to stay ahead of the curve.
  • Unlock creativity. Feel empowered to try new things with some connection and collaboration. This is when that big picture idea becomes a thing.

Find out more about the six veterans selected for this opportunity below.

Aaron Haitsma, Production Assistant

Aaron Haitsma is an Air Force veteran and a broadcast production assistant with WSBT-TV in Indiana. He is a recent graduate of The Media School at Indiana University Bloomington, and seeks to find connections that will help him make the most of his journalism experience at the NAB Show NY.

“NAB offers many opportunities to meet and network with experienced industry professionals and attending this event will open many of those doors,” Haitsma said. “An event like this is a great way to find new ways to explore and further one’s career in broadcast.”

Addison Jureidini, Aspiring Photojournalist

Addison Jureidini is an Army veteran and aspiring photojournalist who recently published a piece about how postal service work translates to journalism. He hopes to build a network, expand his skills in visual journalism, and jumpstart his career at the NAB Show NY.

Allie Delury, Travel Writer & Filmmaker

Allie Delury is an Air Force veteran and a journalist with 10 years of experience. She has been to over 90 countries, where she has reported on sustainable tourism and adventure travel. Her work has been published in Thrillist, Fox News, Tastemade Travel, Semester at Sea, Booking.com and more.

“Most of the time it’s not about what you do, but who you know,” said Delury. “I’m excited to meet like-minded colleagues and professionals in the business to grow my network and elevate the quality of my content.”

Eleanor Nesim, Writer & Photographer

Eleanor Nesim is a Marine Corps veteran and a contributing writer for Writer’s Hive Media. She reports on pop culture, and hopes the NAB Show NY will give her the right knowledge and network to break through in her career.

“As a creative, I know this opportunity will expand my knowledge of the impact of new technologies and post-production solutions for my journalistic work,” Nesim said. “I remain curious about roles that may entice me in unfamiliar areas like radio. I also look forward to growing my network of fellow professionals and attaining valuable knowledge from keynote speakers in the field of entertainment and media.”

Renita Wright, Multimedia Journalist

Renita Wright is an Army veteran who recently graduated from Ashford University’s journalism program. She has previously studied broadcast journalism at the New York Film Academy. Renita seeks a new opportunity to learn and connect by attending the NAB Show.

Veronica Mammina, Production Freelancer

Veronica Mammina is a Navy veteran and visual journalist. She specializes in photography, video production, and graphic design, and served as a production apprentice on major TV series “The Blacklist”. Most recently, she produced a docu-series covering the COVID-19 pandemic’s effect on New Yorkers.

“As an early career studio camera operator, it’s important to have my ear to the ground on the latest studio production technology,” Mammina said. “Thank you MVJ for keeping our community of veteran storytellers in-the-know and sharing these kinds of rare opportunities!”

The Texas Tribune and Military Veterans in Journalism Announce Joint Reporting Fellow

By News

The Texas Tribune has hired an Army veteran to work as a reporting fellow covering military and veterans issues in Texas. 

Allison Erickson, from San Antonio, joins the Tribune for a six-month fellowship through a new partnership with Military Veterans in Journalism. 

Erickson served as a Medical Service Corps officer in the U.S. Army from 2011 to 2018, rising to the rank of captain and completing a combat deployment to Afghanistan. She is a recipient of the Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal and an Army Commendation Medal. 

Allison Erickson, a veteran of the U.S. Army and a member of MVJ, has been selected for a six-month fellowship at The Texas Tribune. As part of her fellowship, she will cover military and veteran affairs in her home state.

Erickson’s journalism career began before she became a soldier when she studied editorial journalism at Texas Christian University. She wrote for the Fort Worth Star Telegram, Texas Monthly and The Point. During her transition back to civilian life, she earned a master’s degree in creative publishing and critical journalism from The New School in New York. She has since worked freelance assignments in print and digital news and produced podcast reporting on migration, politics and health. 

“Texas Tribune packs a reputable punch in the nonprofit news sector,” Erickson said. “I couldn’t be happier to develop my journalism skills and contribute to the excellent reporting from the team. I see the work of journalism as yet another call to service, and there is no better team or publication I would like to learn from and lend my voice to at this time. I look forward to reporting military and veteran stories in my home state.” 

Erickson is an alumna of the MVJ mentorship program, where she worked with investigative journalist and UNC Hussman School of Journalism Assistant Professor Erin Siegal McIntyre.

Through the Tribune-MVJ partnership, she will provide much-needed context and perspective in covering military and veteran affairs in a state with massive military installations and a large veteran population.

“The Texas Tribune is a trailblazer in the news business,” said MVJ President Russell Midori. “As much as they’re masters of the old craft, they also have the courage to innovate.

“Our team at MVJ is honored to partner with the Tribune as they expand their beat coverage to better serve veterans, service members and their families, and boy did they pick a great member of the MVJ community to help them do it,” Midori said. “Allison is a gifted writer bursting with curiosity and persistence.”

Erickson won the position over a highly competitive field of journalists from the MVJ community through a selection process that took nearly six months. 

“I’m thrilled to be a supporter and now a partner of Military Veterans in Journalism, which has helped hundreds of former service members to pursue another form of public service — journalism in support of democracy,” said Sewell Chan, editor in chief at the Tribune. “The discipline, teamwork and sense of mission that are instilled in service members are also incredibly valuable traits for newsrooms.” 

Erickson, who will work primarily out of the Tribune’s Austin-based headquarters, will begin her fellowship Aug. 15.

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 www.mvj.network.

The MVJ-Washington Post Internship is Back!

By Career Opportunities, News

Military Veterans in Journalism is pleased to announce the return of the MVJ-Washington Post internship collaboration. As part of the Washington Post’s 2023 Summer Internship program, MVJ and The Post will select one military veteran to participate as an intern.

Washington Post interns have gone on to win Pulitzer Prizes and become top leaders in the newsroom. Working alongside top professionals in the field, interns do meaningful work across a variety of departments at The Washington Post. The Washington Post selects interns to fill various roles for reporters, visual journalists, multiplatform editors, multiplatform producers, news and digital designers, graphics reporters and developers, audience producers, and audio producers. This will be an important early career step for veterans working to advance within the media field.

While participating in this program, interns will work 37.5 hours per week for 10 weeks, starting June 5, 2023, and ending August 11, 2023. The Washington Post is committed to a safe work environment and currently maintains a mask-friendly environment and requires proof of vaccination (booster included) and weekly COVID-19 testing.

As with the last round of this program in 2020/2021, it is preferred that applicants have had at least one professional news media job or internship. Applicants will also be asked to submit three samples of their work and a personal essay with their supplemental materials.

Applicants for this program may apply online with Military Veterans in Journalism. The deadline to apply is September 1, 2022 at 11:59 PM Eastern.