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Sara Feges

MVJ’s launch of the new Reporting Grants program for up to $50,000 over the next two years

By Resources

Thanks to generous support from the Ford Foundation, Military Veterans in Journalism has launched a disability inclusion initiative to create conversations and reporting within American newsrooms about military veteran issues, with a focus on disabled veterans. 

As part of this effort, MVJ is launching our MVJ Reporting Grants program to fund reporting by military veterans in journalism. This program will help aspiring journalists grow professionally in their reporting careers and publish quality stories about issues related to disabilities in the military veteran community.

Grant amounts will vary depending on the story, and will start at $500. Over the next two years MVJ plans to fund up to $50,000 for reporting grants.

MVJ is not a publishing organization – nor do we plan to be. But we care about developing the careers of military vets in journalism. So, if you are selected, we can help you shape your story and assist in getting the story placed. We’d like you to have an idea of where you want to publish your story.

A few notes on what our grant selection committee is looking for:

  • Disability focused. We are seeking pitches for stories related to disability in the military veteran community. Maybe it’s a story about a new healthcare issue, or a personal narrative about a visit to a crummy VA facility, or an investigative piece on an emerging medical issue that affects vets.
  • Be ambitious. We are looking to support deeply reported stories that will make a splash and potentially be impactful.
  • Small (shorter) stories are OK too. For serious investigative reporting, we’ll be looking for proof that you know what you’re doing. If you’re new to journalism, a shorter feature might be more realistic. 
  • Be original. We aren’t interested in the same stories that we’ve all read a million times before. As veterans, we can provide depth and nuance on these stories. Use that experience to come up with unique angles.
  • No PR. Non-profits do great work and they might be part of the story. But we want to see pitches that are more than a happy story about a non-profit providing a house to a homeless vet.  
  • Look for trends. We’re keen to fund stories that only veterans can tell. As vets, you are seeing what’s affecting vets, especially when it comes to healthcare and the VA. Use your networks to find a good story. 

PUBLISH quality stories about disability issues in the military veteran community and get paid for it! 

Note: Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis and will be reviewed every two weeks. Applicant has to be an MVJ member in order to be eligible to receive the grant.

MVJ Speakers Bureau for 2022

By News

The MVJ Speakers Bureau brings together a group of leaders in military veterans in journalism to advocate for better, more nuanced reporting on disabled military veterans and to share best practices with newsrooms across the nation. 

We would like to thank the Ford Foundation for their generous support. With their help we were able to launch a disability inclusion initiative to create conversations and reporting within American newsrooms about military veteran issues, with a focus on disabled veterans. 

We have selected 11 veterans for our speakers bureau this year. They will be 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. After being trained, the veterans will lead their own training and presentations at local newsrooms in the veterans’ communities.

Please, meet MVJ’s 2022 Speakers Bureau Selectees:

Ben Brody

Ben Brody is an independent photographer, educator, and picture editor working on long-form projects related to the American wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and their aftermath. He is the Director of Photography for The GroundTruth Project and Report for America, and a co-founder of Mass Books.
His first book, Attention Servicemember, was shortlisted for the Aperture – Paris Photo First Book Award in 2019. His latest book, 300m, will be released in Spring 2022. Ben holds an MFA from Hartford Art School’s International Low-Residency Photography program. He resides in western Massachusetts.

Caron LeNoir

Caron LeNoir is an American journalist, producer, artist, and activist. The founder of CARONISMedia Group, CARONISM Audio Network, and The Center for Sensual Arts examines life, sexual politics, faith, and power dynamics in the arts and entertainment. A formerly homeless disabled veteran, Caron honorably served in both the US Navy and Army. Her experience informs her advocacy for the diverse voices of women, women veterans, and mental health.

Donna L. Cole

Donna L. Cole is an award-winning multimedia and investigative journalist, based in Annapolis, Md. She’s worked in print, online and broadcasting media. The professional work Donna is most proud of has been her multi-year investigative reporting about the deliberate poisoning of bald eagles on the Delmarva Peninsula. This reporting resulted in global media attention about the issue and garnered numerous journalism awards. Donna is a veteran of the U.S. Navy, mom and breast cancer survivor. She’s also a raptor rescuer, responding to eagles, owls, hawks, falcons and vultures in Maryland that require medical assistance. In her spare time, Donna enjoys wildlife photography. 

Genaro J. Prieto

Genaro J. Prieto is a combat veteran that served over eight years on active duty as an Army Engineer Officer. He possesses a comprehensive background in project management and supervision, training and development of team members, and community relations working in both the private and public sectors. Currently, a Journalism student at Sam Houston State University while holding local positions within the Military Order of the Purple Heart and Combat Wounded of Texas. Previously earned a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Webster University in 2012 and a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Sam Houston State University in 2007. 

J.P. Lawrence

J.P. Lawrence reports on the U.S. military in Afghanistan and the Middle East. He served in the U.S. Army from 2008 to 2017. He graduated from Columbia Journalism School and Bard College and is a first-generation immigrant from the Philippines.

Jimmy White IV

Jimmy White IV is a South Philadelphia native and Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran who served in the US Navy as a nuclear electrician aboard the submarine USS Montpelier. He is a husband, father of 3 boys, minister, and currently serves as the Director of Engineering for Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia at the Comcast Center. As a passionate, professional speaker, Jimmy presents to audiences on the topics of character, leadership and personal/professional growth through his company, Jimmy White Speaks LLC. With the creation of his second company, Inner City Sustainable Solutions LLC, he endeavors to promote environmental and financial sustainability in urban communities through green affordable housing construction. Jimmy is a national award winning youth/veteran advocate, a TEDx speaker, a Leadership Philadelphia alumnus, and a GW Bush Center Presidential scholar.

Joel Searls

Joel’s civilian profession in journalism includes covering Military and Entertainment related stories for USC Annenberg and for We Are The Mighty. He continues his service in the Marine Corps Reserves as Major in the Communication Strategy and Operations occupational field with I MEF at Camp Pendleton. His fifteen years in the Corps includes service across the US and a deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. He is a graduate of the Ohio State University.

Kerri Jeter

Kerri Jeter, Founder of Freedom Sisters Media served in the U.S. Army for 12-years, starting as a Private First Class and exiting as a senior Captain. Kerri and her team of writeHERs promise to share women directed stories and embodied experiences in and out of the uniform with our community through audio, digital media, film, publications, social media, events and in real life.Kerri won the prestigious title Ms. Veteran America 2015, advocating for her Sisters-in-Arms that had fallen on hard times. She has since advocated for military sexual trauma survivors and military veterans with disabilities. Kerri is a mom of five, one of whom has special needs and wife to a 26-year Army Veteran. Together her family embraces mental and spiritual wellness overcoming the challenges of military-connected disabilities and other hurdles in life. 

Raychel K. Young-Porter

Raychel started her full-time career as a combat photojournalist in 2017 with her graduation at the Defense School of Information in Maryland. In 2019, she attended the Eddie Adams Workshop and was awarded the Colton Family Award. In 2020 she was awarded 1st place for Combat Training Documentation for the Military Visual Awards. In 2022, one of her images documenting mountain warfare training was placed in the National Museum of the Marine Corps as a part of a new exhibit displaying the best 30 to images of the year.

Russell Midori

Russell Midori is a photojournalist and documentary producer based in New York. He served in the Marine Corps from 2008-2012 and holds a masters degree in Investigative Journalism from Columbia University. He serves as president of Military Veterans in Journalism and the MVJ Mentorship Program administrator. 

Scott D. Bourque

Scott Bourque is an award-winning journalist who specializes in long form storytelling. He is passionate about issues of military/veterans affairs, economic equality, and housing and urban development. He is also an adjunct professor of journalism at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. He is a graduate of Northern Arizona University and Arizona State University, and served in the U.S. Navy from 2009 to 2014, completing a deployment to Afghanistan in 2013. 

 

Vets: Apply to MVJ’s 2022 Speakers Bureau 

By Career Opportunities, News

Thanks to generous support from the Ford Foundation, Military Veterans in Journalism has launched a disability inclusion initiative to create conversations and reporting within American newsrooms about military veteran issues, with a focus on disabled veterans. 

As part of this effort, MVJ is launching a speakers bureau of military veterans in journalism to advocate for better, more nuanced reporting on disabled military veterans and to share best practices with newsrooms across the nation. 

MVJ is seeking applicants for its 2022 Speakers Bureau. MVJ will provide training to eight military veterans on best practices in disability reporting. Afterwards, the veterans will lead their own training and presentations at local newsrooms in the veterans’ communities.

Over the course of 12 months, each veteran will:

  • Attend about 8 hours of training (held virtually) by subject matter experts in Disabled American Veterans and the Disability Media Alliance Project as well as a reporter specializing in disability reporting.
  • Attend about 3 hours of group presentation preparation (held virtually) 
  • Attend about 3 hours of individual presentation mentorship (held virtually) 
  • Conduct about 90 minutes of presentation at 2 local news outlets

Each selected veteran will receive a $3,000 stipend to participate in the pilot program.

Ideally, the selected veterans will:

  • Be based in military or veteran-heavy areas, creating incentives for local news outlets to provide more nuanced reporting on this reporting issue
  • Have experience conducting news reporting on military / veteran affairs or issues in the disability community
  • Have at least 1 year of professional news reporting experience 
  • Have personal experience with their own disabilities, including receiving care at the VA

‘’This program is a great opportunity for military veterans in journalism to help shape better news reporting on disabilities within their community,” said Zack Baddorf, MVJ’s Executive Director. “We hope these conversations elevate this issue within newsrooms while also leading to more nuanced reporting.” 

Ford Foundation and Military Veterans in Journalism to improve news coverage of disabled veterans

By News

The Ford Foundation has awarded a $200,000 grant to Military Veterans in Journalism to improve national and local news coverage of disabled veterans. 

The U.S. Department of Labor reports that about a quarter of all military veterans — an estimated 4.7 million people — have a service-connected disability. 

“Simply put, newsrooms are just not representative of the American people,” said Zack Baddorf, the executive director of Military Veterans in Journalism. “We don’t need more superficial inspiration porn. Our nation deserves news coverage that is nuanced and doesn’t try to make everything into a perfect box with a bow on top.”

Military veterans represent just 2% of journalists in America’s newsrooms, according to U.S. Census data. 

“Vets need to be a part of the national conversation,” Baddorf added. “We know what it’s like to live with post-traumatic stress, to have tinnitus, to work despite hearing loss. Our experiences can help inform a deeper understanding within the media world of what it’s really like for people with disabilities.” 

MVJ will launch a speakers bureau of military veterans to advocate for better coverage of military and veteran affairs. As part of this effort, MVJ has partnered with Disabled American Veterans and the Disability Media Alliance Project to provide training to veterans about best practices on disability reporting. These veterans will then share their experiences and knowledge with newsrooms where the veterans are home-based. 

MVJ will also conduct multiple virtual events to share guidance with newsrooms across the nation about how they can improve their reporting on disability issues. These recommendations will be consolidated on MVJ’s website for future reference. 

“This three year grant is a demonstration of the Ford Foundation’s commitment to disability inclusion,” said Rebecca Cokley, the first U.S. Disability Rights Program Officer for the Ford Foundation. “We see this as a unique opportunity for strong veteran voices to unite with the broader disability community. Together, we can work to ensure our nation’s media treats people with disabilities with the dignity and respect that we deserve.”

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