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Join us: We are looking for interns

By News

Want to start on the ground level and work with an organization that is growing fast? Become an intern with 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.  

We launched on May 2 this year, and we are looking for an intern to support our membership and outreach efforts. Depending on how that goes, we’ll ask for you support in creating partnerships with journalism universities and veteran student groups.

We are looking for people with creativity who have ideas of how to improve the organization. Since we’re new, you’ll have the chance to make a big impact in our community.

We will train you on membership outreach and partnership creation.

We’d like someone to volunteer 10 hours per week but more time would be great, too.

Join our team and work with us as we move forward in our mission. Email us your résumé with a quick note about why you are interested. Let us know if you have any questions.

A LESSON IN HUMILITY: GOING FROM SERGEANT TO INTERN

By Resources

My first civilian job was an internship with a New York production company where I had hoped to become a professional videographer. My first assignment: sweeping up cigarette butts in front of the building. Sure, I was an old pro at field day duties, but hadn’t I paid my dues already? Hadn’t I been a sergeant of Marines just two months prior?

While 22-year-old workers in corporate America are scarcely trusted to work a copy machine, military service members of that age may make decisions that carry the weight of life and death. It can be quite a shock to start working for an organization that doesn’t seem to place any special trust and confidence in your abilities.

The values required for military service, like integrity and accountability, easily translate to journalism. Experience operating in a hierarchy and just plain getting things done can help you quickly ascend to a position with greater influence. But, in journalism, none of that will likely help you start anywhere but at the bottom. I had to learn to suck it up and pay my dues.

But then I ran into a financial problem. I hadn’t considered the numbers very thoughtfully, and I soon realized I simply couldn’t pay my New York rent with a $7 per hour internship. I had to quit that job and lose that opportunity to grow.

If you’re committed to working in journalism despite knowing you may need to take a low-wage, low-influence position, you should spend some time figuring out the finances. This may mean taking advantage of your Post-9/11 GI Bill. The housing allowance that accompanies the Post-9/11 GI Bill is a fantastic way to keep you on your feet while you make your mark in an entry-level job.

If you can only find an unpaid internship, you can also get six months of unemployment benefits when you first get out (which some states extend to a year). This may give you the time to build your credibility at an organization and in the industry so you can move up to a position more suited to your abilities.

None of this means you should stick with a company where you just plain won’t like working. Look around the room. Are there more senior people doing jobs you could see yourself enjoying? Do you have access to them to talk about how to carve your own path? Those questions should help you determine if an internship is right for you.

You might look at an entry-level job as a way to get a glimpse of the opportunities ahead of you. You’re evaluating the company and the industry as much as they are evaluating you. If you find journalism is for you and you land an internship at a place where you want to grow, then suck it up, pay your dues, find some mentors, and climb that ladder.

New journalists: find your specialty

By News

By Zack Baddorf

It can be overwhelming starting in the journalism field. There are countless news outlets (leaning left, right and everywhere in between) filled with an array of positions (editor, assistant producer, videographer, print reporter, etc) reporting on a whole range of subjects (from science to interior design).

Specializing, or building an expertise in a singular coverage subject or technical skill, can help you find direction in your career.

One way to find your specialization is to follow your passion. Like some other military veterans who work in journalism, I’m naturally drawn to stories related to conflict and post-conflict. After finishing my military service, I freelanced around the world for a few years, reporting mostly on stories of humanitarian crisis, development, and conflict from places like Syria, Cambodia and Venezuela.

Even that level of specialty is really too broad. The smarter career move for me would have been to settle down in one of these places for a year or two and really dig in. Only later in my career did I live and work in places like South Sudan, Afghanistan and Central African Republic for about a year each. I became known to editors around the world and it was normal for the BBC to call me up for analysis.

That’s the key: Become an expert. Become someone whose reporting is valued and recognized as trustworthy.

You don’t have to fly off to a war zone to find your speciality. Perhaps you’re really into emerging technology: Go to Silicon Valley and start filing stories about tech startups. . Work on building two types of contacts – insiders who do work in the specialized beat you’re covering, and editors who can publish your stories or hire you to their staffs.  With time, dedication, and solid reporting, you’ll eventually find your place in the industry. You will become known and people will come to you with stories and leads.

Importantly, you should be reading. A lot. Find articles and outlets where you’d want to be published. If you find yourself reading a story and wish you had been the one to write  it, find out how that reporter got to their current gig. Knowing their path makes it easier to find your own. It’s critical, especially as a freelancer, to visualize where you want your work to end up and then doggedly pursue the gatekeepers to get your best work published.

That’s not to say you can’t shift your focus later in your career. It happens all the time. In the beginning, at a local outlet, you might be a generalist covering everything from political dog and pony shows to literal pony shows. Consider applying for fellowships after you’ve established a track record and have a solid portfolio showing you can hammer out strong reporting.

Ultimately, to find your specialty, you need to follow what interests you and dive deep.



Zack Baddorf is the executive director of Military Veterans in Journalism. He’s an award-winning journalist and filmmaker with reporting experience in more than 40 countries. His work has been published in the New York Times, Washington Post, AP and elsewhere.

Military Veterans in Journalism officially launches

By News

We’re proud to announce the official launch of Military Veterans in Journalism!

Military Veterans in Journalism is a professional association that creates community for vets, supports their career growth, and advocates for increasing newsroom diversity through hiring more vets.

While there is limited data available on how many military veterans now work as journalists, it’s clear they are underrepresented. Whether they worked as a culinary specialist, an EOD tech, or a public affairs officer, we believe veterans bring a diversity of thought and experience that should be more significantly leveraged by media outlets.

We will address this by talking to leaders in newsrooms and their human resources departments about the value that vets bring to the news industry as a result of their military service.

Further, we know veterans have a tough time breaking into journalism as a career. To address this, our all-volunteer staff will run a mentorship program to support veterans as they progress professionally in the media industry. We will also create community (mostly online but also through in person events) that will give vets a chance to network and support each other.

We invite you to browse around our website to learn more about our programming.

HOW TO GET INVOLVED:

  • If you’re a veteran working in journalism or aspiring to work in journalism, we invite you to become a member.
  • If you’re a journalist (veteran or not) interested in mentoring veterans, we invite you to become a mentor.
  • If you have any ideas, thoughts or want to get involved, feel free to get in touch: [email protected] . We’d love to hear from you.

While we are just getting started, we look forward to supporting our fellow veterans in media.

We will be holding an informally launch celebration with supporters at Alligator Lounge in Brooklyn, New York, at 6:30 p.m. The event is open to the public.

Thanks in advance for your support!

Russell Midori (MVJ’s President) & Zack Baddorf (MVJ’s Executive Director)