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Board of Directors

Military Veterans in Journalism’s four-member volunteer Board of Directors provides financial oversight and strategic guidance to ensure MVJ is fulfilling its mission and meeting the needs of its members.

Kyra Davenport

MVJ Membership Voice Board Member

Kyra Davenport is an Army veteran, communications professional, journalist, and entrepreneur. She has written several articles for local DC media outlets and done some broadcast news for the Library of Congress Veterans History Project. She also spent time covering the Obama Administration at the White House as an independent blogger. Her alma maters include Tuskegee and Howard University. In her free time, she enjoys doing community service and assisting veterans in the DC and New Orleans communities where she is a resident. She also loves teaching yoga and eating local vegan cuisine.

Priya Sridhar

NBC News / Navy Reserves

Priya Sridhar is a reporter for NBC San Diego. She comes to San Diego from San Antonio, Texas where she worked as a general assignment and investigative reporter for KENS5, a CBS affiliate.

Priya began her journalism career as a multimedia journalist for the NBC affiliates in Maine. She went on to work as a Washington correspondent for RT, an international news channel. She went on to work as the South Asia bureau chief and correspondent based in New Delhi, India.

After returning to the U.S., Priya worked as a video journalist for the Associated Press based in Chicago. She has also worked as a D.C. correspondent and morning show co-host for an international news channel, Arise, headquartered in Nigeria.

Some of her most memorable stories in her ten year journalism career include covering the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, MO for the Associated Press and Nigeria’s historic 2015 presidential elections.

Priya has a master’s degree in broadcast journalism from Northwestern University and a bachelor’s in international relations and history from Bowdoin College. Priya is also an officer in the U.S. Navy Reserve and serves as a Board Member of Military Veterans in Journalism.

Russell Midori

WPIX / Marine Corps

Russell Midori is a photojournalist based in NYC, an Overseas Press Club Foundation board member, a frequent guest lecturer at colleges and universities, and he volunteers as an alumni mentor for students in the Brooklyn College Radio and Television department.

He used the post-9/11 GI Bill to earn a bachelor's degree in broadcast journalism from Brooklyn College and a dual master’s degree in investigative journalism and documentary production from Columbia University. He has done field work in Iraq, Kurdistan, Korea, India, Mexico, Bahrain, Haiti and Standing Rock. He produced several segments for an Emmy-winning broadcast, and received an OPC award and a Mark of Excellence Award from the Society of Professional Journalists. He recently completed a second masters degree in Criminal Justice from John Jay.

He served on active-duty in the Marine Corps from 2008 - 2012, and was twice named an honor graduate of courses at the Defense Information School. During his enlistment he held the rank of sergeant and served as the NCOIC of the Parris Island Public Affairs Office. In 2014 he did a six-month tour at Marine Forces Europe and Africa as a reservist, working as the director of photography and editor for Marine Corps video content shot across both continents.

Zack Baddorf

Filmmaker / Navy Vet

Zack Baddorf is a journalist and filmmaker with more than 15 years of experience producing award-winning stories from more than 30 countries, including Syria, Iraq, Ukraine, Afghanistan, Pakistan, the West Bank, and Kashmir, as well as rebel-held territory in Sri Lanka and Burma.

His work has been published by the New York Times, Washington Post, BBC, Reuters, AP, The Guardian, CBS, ABC, NPR, the Wall Street Journal, Christian Science Monitor, Newsweek, VICE, RYOT, Al Jazeera English, and other publications in video, radio, photo, and print formats. His videos on social media alone have more than 30 million views.

While based in the Central African Republic, Baddorf broke the news of the American military ending its mission against the Lord’s Resistance Army. His in-depth reporting on the Syrian town of Moadamiyah contributed to humanitarian access being granted to besieged people there. Weeks before Russian troops invaded Crimea, his reporting from the peninsula highlighted its political importance in the conflict.

Baddorf works as director of video for the International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism, crafting anti-ISIS videos. For a year in Afghanistan, he worked on rural, remote bases for the U.S. Special Operations Command as a civilian videographer, alongside Green Berets, Navy SEALs and Afghan security forces.

He has also worked as an adjunct professor at New York University and New York Film Academy, teaching public relations and broadcast journalism. He has a master of fine arts degree in documentary studies, a master of arts degree in international relations, another master’s in public relations and a bachelor's in journalism.

Advisory Council

Our volunteer Advisory Council provides strategic guidance, drawing on their decades of experience in journalism, non-profit management, and veterans issues.

Alberto B. Mendoza

Managing Director, John S. Knight Fellowships at Stanford

Alberto B. Mendoza is a managing director of the John S. Knight Journalism Fellowships. He creates opportunities that elevate voices, careers and organizations.

Alberto leads the JSK Fellowships recruitment process, working to ensure the pool of candidates reflects the diversity needed in journalism. He also designs programming and coaches fellows in career strategy as well as nonprofit fundraising.

Since joining JSK in 2021, he’s created the JSK Expert Class concept for alumni. The virtual series features lessons from Stanford experts and journalism thought leaders from throughout the JSK alumni network.

Prior to JSK, Alberto served as the executive director of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, where he increased membership by 200% and diversified the nonprofit’s revenue sources. He oversaw the creation of the Hispanic Cultural Competency Handbook, a guide for newsrooms. He also founded palabra, a multimedia publication that gives freelance journalists the opportunity to tell stories about the Latino community.

His past roles include president and CEO of the Coalition for Clean Air, a California policy and advocacy organization.

Alberto’s personal passion project is Honor41.org, a nonprofit organization he started that gives a platform for Latinx LGBTQ people to share their stories.

His past roles include president and CEO of the Coalition for Clean Air, a California policy and advocacy organization.

Alberto serves on the advisory boards of The Pivot Fund and Trans Latina Coalition. He is an alum of the Poynter Institute’s Media Transformation Challenge Executive Fellowship Program and a graduate of California Polytechnic University in Pomona.

Barbara Starr

Pentagon Correspondent, CNN

Barbara Starr is a Pentagon correspondent for CNN. She has appeared frequently on programs across the network to deliver coverage on US military affairs and global politics, and has reported from locations across the world.
Prior to joining CNN in 2001, Starr was a producer and reporter for national security and military affairs for ABC News. She was awarded an Emmy for her location production work on ABC News’s coverage of New Year 2000 from Moscow. She also provided coverage for Nightline, World News Now, and World News This Morning. Starr covered national security and defense for Jane’s Defence Weekly for nine years before her work for ABC News, and served as an energy correspondent for Business Week between 1979 and 1988..
Starr has provided on-site coverage of the war in Afghanistan since 2003. During the 2006 Lebanon War, she traveled with U.S. Marines to cover American evacuations. Starr also traveled with Lt. Gen. Russel Honore during hurricane relief efforts in Katrina’s aftermath. She has reported directly on international affairs from the Persian Gulf, Russia, Central America, and the Chinese-North Korean border, and updates viewers daily on the latest from the Pentagon.
Starr is an alumna of California State at Northridge.

Dan Clare

Disabled American Veterans

Dan Clare is a Marine Corps veteran of the Persian Gulf era and an Air Force veteran of the Iraq War. In August 2019, Clare was appointed chief communications and outreach officer for Disabled American Veterans (DAV).
Clare first joined DAV’s professional staff in November 2004 as a senior communications specialist with the National Communications Department at the organization’s national headquarters in Cold Spring, Kentucky. Prior to his current appointment, Clare served as the national communications director.
In his position, Clare oversees DAV’s Voluntary Services, Employment and Communications Departments, and is responsible for ensuring outreach support, collaboration and DAV’s ability to serve and empower its members.
Clare enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1994. Following his formal military education at the Defense Information School, Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana, he was stationed at Marine Corps Air Station at El Toro, California, where he served as a journalist and later as a broadcaster at American Forces Network, Okinawa, Japan. He was recognized for the Marine feature broadcast of the year in 1997.
He joined the California Air National Guard in 2001, and supported the airlift of Federal Emergency Management Agency teams to McGuire Air Force Base, New Jersey, on Sept. 11, 2001. Clare transferred to the Ohio Air National Guard in 2005. He was called to active duty for Operation Iraqi Freedom and deployed to Balad Air Base in September 2007. During his deployment he directed news production and helped manage media relations for the Air Force in Iraq. Additionally, he wrote for DAV’s website while acting as the organization’s liaison for the Air Force Theater Hospital.
Clare was named the Air National Guard Print Journalist of the Year for 2007 for coverage of the hospital and combat operations in Iraq. He transferred to the Kentucky Air National Guard in June 2008.
Clare’s awards include the Air Force Commendation Medal (with two oak leaf clusters), Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Air Force Achievement Medal (with two oak leaf clusters), Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Service Medal and the Iraq Campaign Medal. He is the national president for the Marine Combat Correspondents Association.

Howard Altman

The War Zone

Howard Altman is the former managing editor of Military Times. He currently writes for The War Zone as a Senior Staff Writer.

Jake Tapper

Host of The Lead with Jake Tapper, CNN

Jake Tapper joined the CNN in January 2013 and currently anchors a two-hour weekday program, The Lead with Jake Tapper, which debuted in March of that same year. He has hosted CNN's Sunday morning show, State of the Union, since June 2015. In April 2021, he became the lead anchor for CNN for Washington, D.C. events.

Jeff Jarvis

Professor & Director, Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism at CUNY

Jeff Jarvis is a national leader in the development of online news, blogging, the investigation of new business models for news, and the teaching of entrepreneurial journalism. He writes an influential media blog, Buzzmachine.com.
Prior to joining the Newmark J-School, Jarvis was president of Advance.net, the online arm of Advance Publications, which includes Condé Nast magazines and newspapers across America. He was the creator and founding managing editor of Entertainment Weekly magazine and has worked as a columnist, associate publisher, editor, and writer for a number of publications, including TV Guide, People, the San Francisco Examiner, the Chicago Tribune, and the New York Daily News. His freelance articles have appeared in newspapers and magazines across the country, including the Guardian, The New York Times, the New York Post, The Nation, Rolling Stone, and BusinessWeek.
Jarvis holds a B.S.J. from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. He was named one of the 100 most influential media leaders by the World Economic Forum at Davos.

LaSharah Bunting

CEO & Executive Director, ONA

LaSharah S. Bunting is the CEO & Executive Director of Online News Association, a nonprofit membership organization for digital journalists.

Most recently, Bunting was the Vice President & Executive Director of Simon & Schuster. Previously, she served as the Director/Journalism at John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, where she started in 2017 and managed a multimillion-dollar portfolio of grants and initiatives focused on advancing organizational transformation, equity and diversity, and high-quality storytelling in journalism. She oversaw the execution of one of Knight’s biggest efforts in local news sustainability: the Table Stakes Local News Transformation initiative.

Prior to her work at Knight, Bunting worked for 13 years at The New York Times, where she served in various editing roles. In her final role at The Times, she was Senior Editor, leading digital and organizational transformation across the newsroom. Bunting also worked as an editor on The Times’ National desk, where she directed breaking news and oversaw the department’s daily report, multimedia projects and audience engagement. She led multimedia projects that included “The Way North,” a monthlong, day-by-day journey along Interstate 35, from Texas to Minnesota, chronicling how immigration has shaped the United States. She was an assignment editor on the Metro and Arts and Culture desks as well as editor for Frank Rich’s Sunday Op-Ed column. Bunting also served for many years as senior faculty for the New York Times Student Journalism Institute, an intensive two-week program for college journalists.

Before coming to The Times in 2004, Bunting was an editor at The Dallas Morning News and is a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She is also an alumna of Sulzberger Executive Leadership Program at Columbia University; Diverse Future Executive Program; and the Maynard Media Academy at Harvard University. She serves on the board of directors of Dow Jones News Fund and the Digital Diversity Network, and serves as a thought leader on diversity and equity in journalism and philanthropy. She grew up in Omaha, Nebraska, and lives in Miami.

Martin Baron

Former Editor of the Washington Post

Martin Baron is an American journalist who was editor of The Washington Post from December 31, 2012, until his retirement on February 28, 2021. He was previously the editor of The Boston Globe from 2001 to 2012.

Melissa Pucino

The JPaq Group / Gold Star Sister

With over 15 years of business experience, Melissa Pucino has worked in the finance sector for various industries. Over the past 10 years, Melissa has served on the board for her brother’s foundation, SSG Matthew A. Pucino Memorial Foundation, Ltd., assisting wounded service members and keeping Matthew’s legacy alive. She possesses vast experience in nonprofit accounting, financial management, human resources management, event planning and production, and operations management. As COO for the JPaq Group, she assists businesses and non-profits in all of these areas. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Suffolk University and is a Certified Project Master.

Mike Gentine

Keller and Heckman LLP

Mike Gentine counsels manufacturers, retailers, and other commercial clients on legal and regulatory matters particularly in the area of consumer goods and product safety. Drawing from his federal government, private practice, and in-house experience, Mike advises on compliance strategies and government relations, helping clients advance legislative and policy objectives at the state and federal levels. His experience in the product recall space includes having negotiated or collaborated on consumer product and motor vehicle recalls in multiple countries.

Mike held multiple positions at the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). He served as senior counsel for the Office of CPSC Commissioner Joseph P. Mohorovic from 2014-2017, where he advised on various policy, enforcement, and ethics issues. He led several efforts to reform rules and regulations, including an initiative to reduce the paperwork burden on CPSC-regulated companies. He also worked at the CPSC as a legal fellow and law clerk in the Office of Commissioner Nancy Nord.

Most recently, Mike advised a major recreational product and motor vehicle manufacturer on product safety and compliance strategies, representing the company in agency proceedings, stakeholder organizations, and trade associations. He also served in a government relations role, advancing legislative and policy objectives before federal, state, and local governments. His legal training included service with the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee and U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps.

Aided by a prior career in broadcast journalism, Mike is a frequent speaker at industry and other conferences on product safety, regulatory, compliance, and government affairs topics.

Michael Phelps

Navy & Massachusetts Air National Guard Vet

Michael Phelps is managing principal of Amapola Marketing Communications LLC, based in Norfolk, Virginia, taking on interim executive assignments and providing counsel in media strategy, press relations, promotion and advertising sales and fielding professional writing and editing and moderating/facilitation assignments. Recent clients include the CEOs of the Washingtonian, PenFed Credit Union, Virginia News Group, Falmouth (MA) Publishing Inc (fractional assistant to the publisher), the Wenatchee (WA) World and the Old Dominion University Center for Economic Analysis and Policy.

His career began as a reporter for a twice-weekly Cape Cod newspaper and most recently included a seven-year tour as publisher, president and CEO of The Washington Examiner, a daily newspaper and website.

Just before that, he was publisher for The Baltimore Examiner, a metropolitan daily newspaper started from scratch under his leadership.

Phelps was vice president, publishing for Lee Enterprises, a publicly held news media company, responsible for newspapers and their websites in Iowa, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and South Carolina. Previously, he worked as a reporter, news editor, managing editor, newspaper owner and consultant to newspaper CEOS and publishers (Newsday, Boston Globe, Hartford Courant, Thomson Newspapers, Editor & Publisher, Howard Publishing et al).

He has taught journalism as editor-in-residence at Michigan State University and graduate media economics at Emerson College.

Phelps has led seminars for the American Press Institute, the International News Media Association (for which he also served as president), the National Newspaper Association, the Inter-American Press Association, the International Media Fund and The Freedom Forum. After the fall of the Iron Curtain, he visited Russia and other countries of the former Soviet Union on five occasions to train newspaper industry executives on the path to free market operations.
His military service (Navy & Massachusetts Air National Guard) spanned 21 years, active and reserve, included both line and public affairs assignments and he retired as lieutenant colonel. He is a graduate of both the junior and senior public affairs officer courses of the Department of Defense Information School. He has served the USO Board of Governors and also has university, hospital and museum board experience,
He now serves as a board member for two start-up companies, one of which is in publishing.
He lives in East Beach, Norfolk, with his wife, Adrienne, and their 13-year-old twins.

Paul Szoldra

Duffel Blog / Task & Purpose / Marine Corps Vet

My name is Paul Szoldra (pronounced ZOAL-druh). I am a reporter and editor based in southern California, mainly focused on national security issues. My byline can be found at Task & Purpose, Business Insider, and We Are The Mighty.

Me or my work have been featured in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, MSNBC, CBS News, USA Today, ABC News, Huffington Post, and the Columbia Journalism Review. It has also been cited by the Department of Defense, Department of the Army, Army Cyber Institute, House Armed Services Committee, House Judiciary Committee, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, and in various books.

Prior to becoming a journalist, I served as a U.S. Marine infantryman for eight years. I deployed to the Asia-Pacific region and Afghanistan and served as a combat instructor at the Corps' School of Infantry.

Phoebe Gavin

Quartz / Army Vet

Phoebe is a 26-year-old combat veteran of the US Army. She served on active duty for four and a half years while stationed at Fort Lewis, WA, and was deployed for a 15-month tour in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Phoebe holds a Bachelors Degree in Management which she acquired using the Post 9/11 GI Bill. She is currently Growth Editor at Quartz, a global business news site.

Sara Samora

Houston Business Journal / Marine Corps Vet

I am a Marine Corps veteran working at the Houston Business Journal. I earned a dual degree at the University of Houston in English Literature and print journalism in 2016. I also co-founded the Student Veterans of America UH chapter in 2014. In May 2018, I earned a Master’s degree at Columbia Journalism School in New York City.

Sylvester Smith

National Association of Broadcasters / Army Vet

Sylvester A Smith Jr is currently the Manager of Member and Partner Revenue Development for the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and consults with technology experts creating marketing strategies to engage with broadcast and media organizations. Sylvester also champions collaboration by creating value for strategic key radio, television, international and associate members of the NAB.

Serving in the US Army from 1999-2005, Sylvester understands the challenges for veteran’s separating from active duty and the importance of having a network. Outside of his passion for broadcast and media, Sylvester is a frequent volunteer, mentor, and trustee of the Wakefield High School Education Foundation’s Career and Technical Training scholarship. These experiences led to Sylvester working with MVJ earlier this year to help bring 10 emerging veterans in journalism to the NAB Show in Las Vegas. However, due to the coronavirus and protecting the safety of all participants, it has been delayed until further notice.

Tawnell Hobbs

Wall Street Journal / Air Force Vet

Tawnell Hobbs is the national K-12 education reporter at The Wall Street Journal. Experienced newspaper reporter with a focus on education writing. Adjunct Professor with a demonstrated history of working in the higher education industry. Skilled in Headline Writing, Breaking News, Journalism, Media Relations, and Leadership. Strong education professional with a Bachelor's degree in communications focused in Journalism from The University of Texas at Arlington.
Thomas Brennan

Thomas Brennan

Executive Director, The War Horse / Marine Corps Vet

Thomas Brennan is the Founder of and Executive Director for The War Horse. Prior to studying journalism at Columbia University, he was a sergeant in the Marine Corps and served as an infantryman in Iraq and Afghanistan. Thomas is the co-author of Shooting Ghosts—A U.S. Marine, a Combat Photographer, and Their Journey Back from War. His bylines have appeared in Vanity Fair, Center for Investigative Reporting, and The New York Times.