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Devon Lancia

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.”

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.

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.

It’s Time to Put More Vets In Newsrooms Across the Nation

By #MVJ2022, News

The Mission Behind MVJ

The mission behind Military Veterans in Journalism (MVJ) is simply to get more military veterans working in America’s newsrooms. According to a Census data analysis from MVJ, only about 2 percent of media workers are military veterans. At MVJ, we believe this needs to change.

Veterans are underrepresented in our nation’s newsrooms. Yet, if given the opportunity, they can bring perspective, nuanced understanding, and on-the-ground experience about the military and veteran affairs to the journalism world and news consumers that no one else can match. It’s time to give veterans a voice and begin bringing their perspectives to America’s newsrooms.

Join Us for the Second Annual Military Veterans in Journalism Convention

The second annual Military Veterans in Journalism Convention will occur in Washington, D.C., at the Reserve Organization of America from October 6-8, 2022. While this is the second annual convention, this will be the first time the convention is taking place in person. This in-person event will allow organizations in the journalism world to engage with veterans directly, and recruiters can meet with veterans for one-on-one interviews. This is a great opportunity for veterans to connect with potential employers in the journalism space. 

Don’t delay! If you’re interested in attending the second annual Military Veterans in Journalism Convention, it’s time to register early and save. Early Bird Tickets will be available until August 31, 2022. Early Bird Tickets for MVJ members are $50 and $75 for non-members. After August 31, 2022, the ticket price for MVJ members will rise to $75, and the ticket price for non-members will rise to $100.

Attendees are able to take advantage of the convention hotel room block at Generator DC for $209/night from Wednesday October 5 to Monday October 10. To book a room, please follow the link below or call the hotel directly at (202) 332-9300 and mention the Military Veterans in Journalism Room Block to the reservations agent.

Become an MVJ Member Today

If you’re a military veteran or active duty military member that has an interest in pursuing work or studies in journalism, then it’s time to become an MVJ member today. All MVJ members gain access to the MY MVJ social platform and Mentorship program. In addition, any new member who signs up during Military Appreciation month is eligible for a free year of membership! After the first year of membership, you will be placed into the appropriate membership category. More information about MVJ membership categories can be found on MyMVJ, the MVJ membership website.

It’s time to bring more diversity to newsrooms across this nation through the perspective of America’s veterans. So, what are you waiting for? Become part of the conversation today by registering to attend the second annual Military Veterans in Journalism Convention in Washington, D.C.

MVJ To Provide Free Membership For Independence Day

By News

Military Veterans in Journalism will provide a free year of membership to veterans and military spouses in honor of Independence Day. Any new members who sign up from July 1 through July 5 are eligible to take advantage of this opportunity.

“We’ve seen the impact our programs have had on our members’ careers and growth,” said MVJ President Russell Midori. “We want to ensure that all veterans and spouses who need these resources are enabled to take full advantage of them.”

It typically costs $30 for a professional journalist to join the organization. Once veterans or spouses become members, they receive access to a robust package of resources to support their career growth. These include exclusive opportunities for jobs and paid fellowships in successful newsrooms, career fairs and networking events, fully funded basic and advanced journalism training and certification programs, and a widely praised mentorship program that pairs world-class journalists with members.

To get a free year through this promotion, simply go to the MVJ Membership Page linked below and choose the “Membership Promotion” option. We look forward to welcoming more military veterans and family members into our community.

MVJ Teams Up With NPR for 2022 Internship Program

By Resources

Military Veterans in Journalism is pleased to announce the third year of the MVJ-NPR internship collaboration. As part of the 2022 Fall/Winter Internship program, MVJ and NPR will select one military veteran to serve as NPR’s Politics and Here & Now Intern.

The selected veteran will spend three months working on the Washington Desk, where they’ll learn the ins and outs of political reporting. The other three months will be with the Here & Now team, where they’ll learn what it means to work on a daily news operation.

Interns at NPR are given real-world, hands-on responsibilities from their first day and work alongside top professionals. NPR’s internship program is normally highly competitive, with over 20,000 applicants in 2020. This program will be a great early career step for veterans working to advance within the news media – you’ll get valuable experience providing coverage across platforms and learn from established journalists.

Application deadline: July 10, 2022, at 11:59 PM Eastern.

The veteran intern will join the NPR Politics team covering the House, Senate and Biden administration across platforms – broadcast, digital and in the podcast space. At Here & Now, the intern will report to NPR’s deputy managing editors in Washington, who shepherd the network’s daily news gathering operation.

During the six-month program, interns will:

  • Maintain the Washington desk calendar
  • Conduct research for editors and reporters
  • Fact-check the NPR Politics Podcast
  • Build clipboards, log tape and write digital posts
  • Research a wide variety of topics for Here and Now
  • Assist in studio recording
  • Book on-air guests for the show
  • Produce content for radio and digital platforms

Interested candidates should note what NPR is looking for:

  • Must be a current student in an accredited degree program or a recent graduate of no more than 12 months from the month of the start of the internship.
  • Strong research skills
  • Demonstrated interest in journalism, and in government and politics
  • Computer literacy
  • Good communication and organizational skills
  • Ability to learn quickly
  • Informational accuracy
  • A keen intellectual curiosity and creative stripe are highly desired.
  • Experience in a newsroom or in audio production (or both)
  • Knowledge of NPR programming and platforms is preferred.

Interns are expected to work 40 hours per week for 6 months and will be paid throughout the internship. The program will be in-person in Washington, D.C. NPR mandates that employees are vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition of employment, subject to reasonable accommodation as required by law.

Paid MVJ-CNN Fellowships: Apply Today!

By Career Opportunities, Features

Military Veterans in Journalism is pleased to announce the continuation of our partnership with CNN to get more veterans into their newsrooms. As part of this effort, MVJ and CNN will select two MVJ members to participate in CNN’s 15-month News Associates program.

CNN’s News Associates program will give these aspiring military veteran journalists skills needed for the next level in their careers and help them build a network of experienced, world-class journalists. News Associates are paid and receive benefits for the duration of their program.

MVJ is currently seeking applicants for one of the two openings to tentatively start in late August at CNN’s Washington, D.C. newsroom. The second fellow will start several months later.  

Application deadline: July 14, 2022, at 6 PM Eastern.

During the fellowship’s 15 months, News Associates will:

  • Work with newsroom management to support news coverage and show production.
  • Print scripts for anchors, operate the teleprompter and greet guests.
  • Work with live producers, show staff and reporters on live shots, show production, and coverage of live events.
  • Work with digital teams on researching and writing stories for CNN.com.
  • Monitor a variety of sources, including social media, wires and local news to assist in news gathering efforts.
  • Conduct research at the direction of producers and desk management, which may include identifying video or digital stories.
  • Pitch stories for various CNN networks and platforms.

Interested candidates should note what CNN is looking for:

  • Bachelor’s Degree required
  • At least one internship in a news environment and previous newsroom experience is preferred.
  • Strong general news judgment and editorial skills.
  • Strong writing skills.
  • Ability to multitask and make fast decisions.
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills; strong interpersonal and organizational skills.
  • Computer literacy with a working knowledge of social media.
  • Schedule flexibility – be prepared to work various shifts including overnights and weekends, as CNN’s newsroom is staffed 24 hours a day.

“We at Military Veterans in Journalism are proud to work with CNN in our shared goal of diversifying America’s newsrooms through the hiring of more military veterans,” said Zack Baddorf, MVJ’s Executive Director. “This collaboration with CNN’s News Associates program has proven to be a great opportunity for military veteran journalists to develop skills essential to success in this industry. We’re pleased to provide this chance again this year to support the career growth of veterans in journalism.”

“I have always valued the experiences and culture of veterans and what they bring to the workplace,”said CNN Chairman and CEO, Chris Licht. “I look forward to continuing to champion their voices and stories in our newsrooms through CNN’s News Associates program.”

In 2021, CNN hosted two military veteran journalists as part of Military Veterans in Journalism’s Fellowship program. Both of the fellows, Drew Lawrence and Alonzo Clark, have cited the value their experience as News Associates brought to their ongoing success as journalists. Read more of what they had to say on our Impact page.

MVJ’s Mentorship Program Supports Veteran Journalists’ Success

By Resources

Before there was the Military Veterans in Journalism nonprofit organization, there was a small group of journalists who provided informal mentorship to transitioning veterans. All the work we do now, from our fellowships and job postings to our advocacy and media partnerships, was built off this simple idea that mentorship was useful for veterans.

Justin Meacock, pictured above, is an MVJ protégé who was recently accepted to CUNY’s Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism.

But this cornerstone of the MVJ culture – the softening of the divide between civilian newsrooms and veterans in journalism – was quite an amateur operation until MVJ received a $50,000 grant from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association to be disbursed over five years. With the $10,000 we received about one year ago, MVJ has improved the process of pairing military veterans with seasoned journalists, supporting the career growth of veterans who work in news media while directly and indirectly improving newsroom diversity. We have also formalized, professionalized, and automated our mentorship program to ensure its consistency and reliability for mentors and protégés alike.

The first step in the improvement process was to develop a prototype for mentorship software. Our goal was to create a program that would automate connections between MVJ’s mentors and mentees while helping our team better track mentorship experiences. This initial prototype was the first version of MyMVJ, built on a CRM platform called Salesforce. MyMVJ has since developed into the member connection app and site we have today.

Roughly 26% of the protégés in MVJ’s mentorship program identify as female, which is an excellent rate of gender equity compared to the veteran community at large.

Since MVJ is a young nonprofit, our team prototypes processes immediately, then collects feedback from users to test and improve. During the test period from July to October 2021, we saw mentorship requests decline, with only eight mentorship connections occurring. Our team studied the drop-off and found users struggled to connect with mentors. The prototype process was too automated, as user feedback indicated professional journalists do not respond well to automated emails.

In September 2021, we identified a list of problems arising from MyMVJ and used it to overhaul the process. We designed standard operating procedures that were more automated than our original program but offered journalists who volunteered for the mentorship program more personalized communication approaches.

In October 2021, MVJ created our second prototype of the mentorship program using third-party software called Mentornity. This new software allowed the program administrator greater control over mentorship interactions. We introduced the new process on Oct. 21, collected users (both mentors and protégés), and tested the program for the remainder of the last quarter of the year. The new system was fully implemented by January 2022. In addition to Mentornity, we built a manually controlled backend of the mentorship software, which has allowed us to keep excellent track of mentorships with fewer working hours for our team.

MVJ’s mentorship program displays more than double the amount of diversity that’s industry standard for newsroom staff.

The program’s popularity and success skyrocketed from there. Since the beginning of the first quarter of 2022, we have established 25 mentorship connections – the most our program has ever facilitated at once. Of these connections, 41 percent have been persons of color, which is more than double the industry standard for persons of color on newsroom staff. More than 25 percent of our protégés have been women, which is an excellent rate of gender equity among the veteran community, where only 10 percent of veterans are women.

MVJ’s new process also allows us to track the goals of our protégés to determine how well the mentorships have satisfied their objectives from the beginning of their time in the program. This has added great value to MVJ’s mentorship program. Protégés are now asked to take a post-mentorship survey, which our team analyzes to prioritize new mentor assignments based on the goals they have left to achieve. On average, MVJ’s protégés meet more than 70 percent of their goals from their first mentorship session, and 2 out of the 25 mentorships assigned in the first quarter have resulted in MVJ members getting hired thanks to their new connection.

We hope to see the mentorship program continue this expansion in the future, and we believe it has proven its worth for veterans in need of a mentor. If you are seeking to mentor a military veteran journalist or are a veteran journalist looking for guidance, sign up for MVJ’s mentorship program today via the link below.

MVJ-Harrisonburg Citizen Internship

By Career Opportunities, News

We’re proud to announce that Military Veterans in Journalism has partnered with The Harrisonburg Citizen and the Scripps Howard Foundation to help get more vets into America’s newsrooms.

As part of the 2022 Scripps Howard Summer Internship Program, The Harrisonburg Citizen will select one MVJ member to participate in a 10-week paid internship.

The chosen intern will be expected to work at least 35 hours per week and will receive a $3,000 stipend from the Scripps Howard Foundation in addition to $75-100 per piece contributed to The Citizen. Interns will be working in a journalism role at The Citizen and will receive advice, guidance, and editorial support from The Citizen’s publishers and editors. Upon successful completion of the internship, interns will be eligible for a follow-up grant or scholarship of $500 from the Foundation.

Applicants who are willing to relocate or travel to the Harrisonburg area are preferred, and housing help is available from the publisher if needed. Remote work is possible if necessary.

Applicants for this internship may apply online with Military Veterans in Journalism. The deadline to apply is April 20, 2022 at 6PM Eastern.

APPLY NOW and then email the required supplementary documents to [email protected].

Knight Media Forum 2022 Talks Diversity, Truth, Disinformation in News

By Features

Diversity and disinformation were central to the conversation at the 2022 Knight Media Forum, an annual gathering on news trends and their impact that took place virtually Feb. 22-24.

Nikole Hannah-Jones (left) and Ta-Nehisi Coates (right) spoke on truth and trust in journalism at KMF 2022.

The convention began with a panel on clarity and truth in reporting with award-winning journalists Nikole Hannah-Jones and Ta-Nehisi Coates.

The duo discussed the balance between power and news coverage. They believe too many newsrooms lack a skepticism of institutions, leading to what Hannah-Jones considers “lazy reporting.” Many reporters, she says, tend to report what they’re told by authorities instead of investigating all sides. This over-reliance on official sources leaves important stories untold.

Both Hannah-Jones and Coates agreed newsrooms should increase their skepticism to inform their communities better and that having more diverse voices is key.

Journalists from majority groups, Coates believes, are often ill-prepared to question the state’s relationship with the people. They lack the experiences of marginalized communities, who have faced systemic persecution in the past. Diversity in media isn’t performative – it’s important for gaining trust from these communities.

Attendees also heard from news executives on diversity initiatives and leadership in the industry. Versha Sharma, editor-in-chief of TeenVogue, said news executives should do some reporting of their own to keep in touch with what it’s like for reporters working under them.

Kevin Merida (upper right), Versha Sharma (lower left), and Rashida Jones (lower right) came together to discuss leadership’s role in raising diverse talent.

“I think that idea of rolling your sleeves up and doing the work when you can carve out that time…is so important to being a more effective and efficient leader,” Sharma said. Working in the field is necessary to keep up with evolving trends in modern news, she added.

Kevin Merida, editor-in-chief of the Los Angeles Times, discussed the way he fosters diverse talent. He believes everyone has something to contribute to the newsroom and encourages approaching each hire to find and nurture their unique skills.

To build a stronger newsroom, Merida said, leaders have to stimulate a want to belong among their staff. Journalists should want to represent their newsrooms because they feel good about the work they do.

Rashida Jones, president of MSNBC, explained how each journalist’s unique experiences help in the newsroom.

Jones introduced NBCUniversal’s Fifty Percent Challenge Initiative, which sets a goal for the company to have 50 percent diverse staff and 50 percent women. Instead of forcing their newsrooms to diversify via a plan they had no say in, MSNBC’s leadership sought ideas from employees and enabled them to make a difference. “I think the fruit of [this initiative] is better coverage on all of our platforms because it’s better representative of the whole country,” Jones said.

Merida, Jones, and Sharma also covered the importance of mentorships. They encouraged attendees to seek mentors, regardless of where they were in their careers, and advised going to mentors with a career plan. The trio closed their panel by saying the news industry as a whole has to keep improving and pushing forward so the current progress doesn’t disappear.

Dr. Daniel Fagbuyi (top center), Dr. Katrine Wallace (upper right), Jennifer Paganelli (lower left), and Dr. Rajiv Shah (lower center) give solutions to the spread of disinformation.

One of the final panels of the event brought experts in health literature together to discuss disinformation during the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Rajiv Shav of the Rockefeller Foundation, Obama Administration Biodefense Appointee Dr. Daniel Fagbuyi, Dr. Katrine Wallace of the University of Illinois at Chicago, and Jennifer Paganelli of Real Chemistry talked about solutions for countering the spread of “fake news.”

Dr. Shav said disinformation reduces public willingness to act by using specific, often threatening messaging targeted at vulnerable groups. As a counter to this, the group recommended for journalists to identify and connect with messengers within communities – a priest, for instance – and give them the information they need to spread.

“You cannot communicate if you do not know your community inside and out,” Paganelli said.

The panel also suggested efficient use of social media and influencers as a possible solution, but with caveats. Each social media platform has a different demographic, so journalists and organizations must consider that when posting. And while bringing influencers on board is a good idea, they have to believe in what they’re pushing.

Dr. Wallace gives her advice for fighting disinformation on social media: “As long as you keep a standard, very simple conceptual method, you can spread that message across platforms and across age groups.”

Get your master’s – plus a nine-month paid journalism fellowship

By Career Opportunities, News

Military veterans interested in earning a master’s degree at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY may be eligible for a nine-month paid fellowship upon completion of the degree. The fellowship will provide two students with the opportunity to go into a reporting job immediately after graduation. Sign up here to speak with advisors from Newmark J-School and take the first step.

The selected candidates will work at a nine-month fellowship in one of these innovative non-profit newsrooms, receiving a monthly salary of $4,000 and healthcare benefits.

Students must meet the following eligibility criteria to qualify for the fellowship:

  • Apply, be admitted, and enroll in the Newmark J-School
  • Maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0 during all three semesters

The fellowship participants will be selected during the third semester at the J-School. Veterans who complete their degree requirements but are not selected for the fellowship will still receive their master’s degree in journalism with the experience of reporting as a CUNY student in New York City, the largest media market in the country.

As CUNY is a state school, the Post-9/11 GI Bill may cover tuition and provide generous assistance for housing in New York City. Check your VA eligibility to ensure you have three semesters of coverage remaining. 

How to Apply to the Newmark J-School: Students must submit a complete application by March 1, 2022 for scholarship consideration. Applications completed after March 1, 2022 will be reviewed on a space-available, rolling basis. The application fee is waived for veterans. Refer to the How to Apply page to learn more about the application checklist. If you are interested in participating in this program, please fill out this form to schedule a one-on-one application session with advisors from Newmark J-School.

Military Veterans in Journalism To Help Improve Military, Veteran News Coverage

By News

Thanks to a grant from News Corp Giving, the non-profit organization Military Veterans in Journalism will provide a range of resources for reporters covering military and veteran issues through an online resource portal.

MVJ will provide standards, tips, and guidance to reporters navigating sensitive topics using this portal. The organization will put together a directory of experts on such subjects as post-traumatic stress and veteran suicide. MVJ will also create a style guide with explanations on technical terms to help journalists avoid common stereotypes and tropes.

Additionally, MVJ will provide a showcase of work and a database of veteran journalists who can be resources for other newsrooms.

“We’re excited to be bringing together the expertise and knowledge base of our community through this project,” said MVJ’s executive director Zack Baddorf, a Navy veteran. “We will highlight the voices in the military veteran community who know these subjects because they’ve served in the military and, as veterans, know these issues firsthand.”

After creating the online portal, Military Veterans in Journalism will promote the portal for news outlets nationwide.

“At News Corp, we are steadfast in our commitment to a free press as a vital function of democracy, a mission that is ably supported by organizations like Military Veterans in Journalism,” says Toni Bush, Global Head of Government Affairs and head of the News Corp Philanthropy Committee. “The work being done by Military Veterans in Journalism to bolster meaningful coverage of veteran communities and bring authentic voices and expertise to newsrooms across the country is critically important, and we are pleased to play a role in this invaluable effort.”

About MVJ:

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 News Corp Giving:

News Corp Giving is News Corp’s charitable giving program. Since its launch in 2013, the program has contributed financial support and other resources to over 100 charities, many of which benefit young people and veterans in need, including people of color, families in economically disadvantaged environments, and women, along with organizations that defend freedom of the press and promote news literacy. News Corp Giving believes that men and women who have served our nation deserve help as they pursue an education, seek new jobs and work towards a better future for their families. Learn more at newscorp.com/news-corp-philanthropy/.

2021 Impact Report & 2022 Goal Setting

By News
MVJ Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Zack Baddorf
Executive Director, MVJ
Navy Vet / Former Journalist

 

About Military Veterans in Journalism

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

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