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Fellow Photos from Military Veterans in Journalism 2021 Fellowships

Fellowship Program – Meet Our Fellows 2021

By News

Military Veterans in Journalism is hosting seven paid fellowships lasting about six months each. These fellowships allow our members to build portfolios of journalistic work and form a network of peers. All of this year’s fellows have already been placed in the newsrooms of their choice.


Before we introduce this year’s fellows, we would like to thank our funders who help make this possible. Four of our fellowships are thanks to generous support from the Knight Foundation, two are thanks to generous support from Craig Newmark Philanthropies, and the last is thanks to generous support from the Wyncote Foundation.

Without further ado, here are our seven fellows for 2021.

The Knight Foundation – Military Veterans in Journalism Fellowship program

Noelle Wiehe, Coffee or Die Magazine

Noelle is an Army veteran and the first responder/military beat for Coffee or Die Magazine.

“I’m so excited to join the team and contribute content to this organization. To be a part of Coffee or Die is an excellent step in my career and one that I know will take me to new heights. To anyone considering a fellowship, you don’t have to work those tiny bottom-of-the-totem-pole jobs, MVJ can help you get your foot in the door of where you want to be. I’m so thankful I am a part of this community.” – Noelle Wiehe


Drew Lawrence, CNN

Drew is an Army veteran who is passionate about soldier and veteran mental health care. He is MVJ’s operations manager and podcast co-host of Sword & Pen. Drew has been placed with CNN, as part of their News Associate Program and Jake Tapper’s The Lead. He will be doing script writing, teleprompter operations, graphics, and research.

“Over the last month, I have had the honor of working with some of the best in media at CNN because of the MVJ Fellowship. The anchors, reporters, operations team and tech managers have all been incredibly welcoming and I’m grateful to learn from their collective expertise.” – Drew Lawrence


Melissa Martens, Philadelphia Magazine

U.S. Marine Corps veteran Melissa Martens has been placed with Philadelphia Magazine and will be producing digital content.

“I am feeling great about this fellowship opportunity and ready to hit the ground with Philly Magazine working with the digital marketing team on creating content for their blog and managing social media. For those considering the fellowship, it is a sure way to gain valuable experience, develop new skills, and push you outside your comfort zone to explore new opportunities.” – Melissa Martens


Brandon Wheeldon, Military Times

Brandon served in the U.S. Army as an infantryman. He is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists’ Student Leadership Cohort and is pursuing his Bachelors of Arts in Journalism with a minor in Anthropology. He has been placed with Military Times as a Military Editor Fellow.

“So far in my fellowship, I have been learning the ropes with social media layouts, site management regarding the data and stats for stories, social media management, story layout and writing, and reviewing stories posted to see how they’re performing. The fellowship has allowed me to learn how newsroom and social media works behind the scenes by using programs like socialflow,, AP Newsroom, DVIDS, Sailthru, canva, and many other programs. The fellowship will help build a solid foundation for understanding the inner workings of the newsroom and the outside operations of the newsroom. MVJ has helped me tremendously grow as a journalism student and journalist.” – Brandon Wheeldon


The Newmark-Veterans in Journalism Fellowship Program

Tim Lenard, The Nevada Independent

Meet military veteran Tim Lenard, who is building the video department from scratch at The Nevada Independent.

“The flexibility of the MVJ fellowship is allowing me to take a chance on creating something that I desperately want to see in the world: local video news aimed at an internet audience. The project is ambitious and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t worried about how it will all turn out, but I’m humbled I was given the opportunity to try. If you have a desire to see something and the work ethic to make it happen, the MVJ fellowship is a fantastic opportunity.” – Tim Lenard 


Alonzo Clark, CNN

Alonzo is an Army veteran who completed his bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communications. He’s since worked as a reporter, news anchor, illustrator, and photojournalist. Alonzo has been placed with CNN as part of their News Associate Program.

“My gratitude towards the Military Veterans in Journalism network is unmeasurable. It’s an exciting feeling to know my hard work is recognized as a good cause to work as a news associate at CNN.

So far, I’ve completed my third day as a fellow, and I’ve gained knowledge on how news production works on a national level. From learning several news softwares, setting up accounts, and meeting new faces, I can say my experience is bound to be a fun rollercoaster full of spontaneity. I am 100% confident the experience will lead me to a level of growth professionally and personally.” – Alonzo Clark 


The Wyncote Foundation-Military Veterans in Journalism Fellowship program

Thomas Hengge, The Philadelphia Inquirer

Thomas is an Army veteran who has recently completed a Master of Arts in Journalism from NYU. He has done documentary photography and video journalism work, covering breaking news and producing long-form photography and video projects like his ongoing series “Left Behind,” documenting families in the aftermath of losing a loved one to COVID-19. Thomas was awarded a 2020 Editor and Publisher “EPPY” Award for best photojournalism for a college website. He has been placed with The Philadelphia Inquirer as a photographer.

“I am beyond grateful I was selected for the MVJ fellowship. It has given me a vehicle to do exactly what I want to do, and that is priceless. There aren’t a lot, if any, veteran specific resources in this industry, so to have MVJ in our corner is incredible. I think any veteran thinking of pursuing an MVJ fellowship for next year absolutely should. There is nothing to lose and everything to gain.” – Thomas Hengge 

In addition to our funders, we would like to thank CNN, Philadelphia Magazine, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Nevada Independent, Military Times, and Coffee and Die Magazine for taking these vets in, and giving them a chance to jumpstart their careers in media.


The Newmark-Military Veterans in Journalism Fellowship Program

By Career Opportunities, News

Two military veterans will be awarded nine-month fellowships in nonprofit newsrooms after graduating with master’s degrees in journalism from the City University of New York (CUNY), thanks to a grant awarded by Craig Newmark Philanthropies.

The Newmark Veterans in Journalism Fellowship Program is a partnership between Military Veterans in Journalism (MVJ), the Institute for Nonprofit News (INN), and the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY.

MVJ and Newmark J-School will recruit veterans to attend the school’s 16-month M.A. in Journalism, M.A. in Engagement Journalism or M.A. in Journalism with a bilingual concentration.

The veterans will be hired by newsrooms that are members of INN — a national network of nonprofit, nonpartisan news organizations. The fellowships will allow these individuals to build portfolios of journalistic work and form a network of peers.

Applications for the program open in the Fall of 2021, and those veterans selected will start attending the program starting in the Fall of 2022.


Any veteran that wishes to apply for this Fellowship, please fill the form to send your inquiry. You can use the following link:

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

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

About the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY

The Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY, founded in 2006, has become nationally recognized for its innovative programs. The only public graduate journalism school in the northeastern U.S., it prepares students from diverse economic, racial, and cultural backgrounds to produce high-quality journalism. As the profession rapidly reinvents itself for the digital age, the Newmark J-School is at the forefront of equipping the next generation of journalists with the tools to find stories and tell them effectively – using print, broadcast, visual, interactive, and social media. The school offers two master’s degree programs: a Master of Arts in Journalism and the nation’s first M.A. in Engagement Journalism. We also feature an M.A. in Journalism with a unique bilingual (Spanish and English) component. All of our master’s degree programs include a paid summer internship.

NPR selects military vet as part of its 2021 internship cohort

By News

Military Veterans in Journalism is pleased to announce that NPR has selected military veteran Jeff Dean to join its 2021 fall cohort of interns.

Jeff Dean served as a medevac crew chief for nine years in the U.S. Army before earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees in journalism from the University of Oregon. Since graduation in 2019, Jeff has worked in West Africa helping to investigate human rights abuses and corruption. More recently, he has been working as a stringer for the Associated Press, AFP, Reuters and Bloomberg, covering breaking news, sports and politics in Ohio and Kentucky.

“NPR is an excellent media organization where I’ll have so many opportunities to learn and grow,” Dean said. Jeff will be working with the Business Desk team for the first half of the program as a reporter and researcher and will then switch to working with the team that programs and curates NPR’s digital platforms including our homepage, mobile apps, smart speakers, social media and newsletters for the second half of the program.

“We are very excited to have Jeff join our team and bring his skills not just as a military veteran but also as a journalist,” said Pallavi Gogoi, NPR’s chief business editor. “His perspective will be invaluable.”

Although he has primarily worked as a visual journalist, Dean said he is excited to strengthen his reporting by learning data analytics and having the opportunity to find, research and produce stories with NPR.

Dean is the second veteran to receive the coveted internship position.

“We’re incredibly grateful that NPR is including military veterans in its internship program,” said Russell Midori, MVJ founder and president. “We need more outlets to step up in diversifying their newsrooms so that their staff is reflective of the diversity of our country.”

“This collaboration with MVJ brings to NPR a critical voice and the valuable perspective of someone who, like so many Americans, has seen life through the lens of military service,” said Keith Woods, NPR’s Chief Diversity Officer. “We’re fortunate, through this fellowship, to be able to bring more of that perspective to our newsroom.”

CNN sponsors Military Veterans in Journalism’s inaugural convention, brings on vets as fellows in newsroom

By #MVJ2021, Resources

Jake Tapper of CNN’s “The Lead” and “State of the Union” also joins MVJ Advisory Board


New York (July 21, 2021) — CNN will be the key sponsor for the inaugural Military Veterans in Journalism convention, slated for October 21 and 22. CNN will also host two veterans as fellows in their newsrooms this fall. 

“CNN has demonstrated time and again its commitment to diversifying America’s newsrooms,” said Zack Baddorf, a Navy vet turned journalist who is MVJ’s founder and executive director. “Military Veterans in Journalism believes America’s newsrooms should reflect the diversity of our nation — which includes military veterans. We are very proud to be working with CNN to further this cause.”

In addition to sponsoring the convention, CNN will be hosting two MVJ Fellows in its Washington, D.C. bureau this fall as part of its News Associates program. The CNN News Associates program is a year-long program which rotates aspiring CNN journalists throughout the CNN Washington newsroom and prepares participants with skill sets needed for the next level. During their rotations, one fellow will be assigned to “The Lead with Jake Tapper” and one fellow will be assigned to “New Day” where co-host Brianna Keilar, a military spouse, has been committed to covering stories about military families. 

“Representation matters at CNN,” said Jeff Zucker, President of CNN Worldwide and Chairman, WarnerMedia News & Sports. “Diverse voices throughout our global organization enable us to be authentic and richer storytellers. We are incredibly proud of our partnership with Military Veterans in Journalism, and I personally look forward to further heightening veteran voices across all of CNN’s platforms.”

Anchor Jake Tapper joined the MVJ Advisory Board this month.  

A long-time supporter of veterans, Tapper was awarded the “Tex” McCrary Award for Excellence in Journalism in 2014 for his book “The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor.” The book recounted one of the most harrowing stories of heroism out of the war in Afghanistan. It is now a Netflix feature film.

“I am honored to support the mission of Military Veterans in Journalism,” Tapper said. “Our nation’s veterans bring unique skills and life experiences to newsrooms. It’s important that veteran voices continue to be a part of our national conversation on military and veteran affairs.”

Barbara Starr, CNN’s Pentagon correspondent, served as a founding Board member of MVJ. She now serves on the Advisory Board.

MVJ’s inaugural convention from October 21-22 will be a virtual gathering for journalists, non-profit professionals, newsroom leaders, and other supporters of newsroom diversity to share, learn and connect with each other while focusing on supporting the under-represented community of military veterans in journalism.

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 

About CNN

CNN/U.S., the leading 24-hour news and information cable television network and the flagship of all CNN news brands, invented 24-hour television news. CNN/U.S. provides live coverage and analysis of breaking news, as well as a full range of international, political, business, entertainment, sports, health, science and weather coverage, and topical in-depth interviews.