A Military Veterans in Journalism hat is sometimes better for getting you access than an NYPD Press Pass, says MVJ President Russell Midori, who wears his hat at his job as an NYC photojournalist. Now you can get a hat like this, or any other free piece of swag, by signing up for MVJ during Military Appreciation Month. The gear and membership are both free this month.
Military Veterans in Journalism will provide a free year of membership to veterans and military spouses during May 2022 – Military Appreciation Month.
To get a free year through this promotion, go to the MVJ Membership Page and choose the “Free for 1 Year” option.
In addition to a free year, any member who joins in May is eligible for any single piece of branded swag from the organization’s online store.
“We see first-hand how our programs are changing our members’ lives and strengthening their careers,” said MVJ President Russell Midori. “But there are so many veterans and spouses trying to find their way in this very challenging career field with no support. We don’t want anything to stand in the way of their access to MVJ’s resources.”
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 claim your free piece of gear, email Russell Midori at [email protected] with a receipt for your membership and tell him what you want from the store. He might even let you get two pieces of branded gear to show off your distinguished place in the MVJ community.
May 1st marks the third anniversary of Military Veterans in Journalism. Since Russell Midori and I founded the org back in 2019, we have been working to help our fellow vets chase their dreams in the journalism field.
We believe journalism is a service to the nation and we see a career in media as a way for our nation’s veterans to continue their service. We also know that veterans are vastly under-represented in the media and we’re working to change that, step by step.
In these three years, we have brought together an amazing community of more than 500 veterans, created many dozens of mentorships, partnered with prominent national organizations like Poynter and the Knight Foundation, hosted career fairs and a national convention, and run more than two dozen webinars to inform our members and connect them with resources. Importantly, we’ve also put more than 10 vets to work in paid internship and fellowship opportunities that we created and funded specifically for our veteran community.
We couldn’t have done it without all of you and your support. Thank you for being members of our community and thank you for your work in journalism. You are what makes MVJ great and it’s an honor for all of us on the MVJ team to advocate for you.
As Russell says, “Journalism needs veterans more than veterans need journalism.” That is to say, you are bringing diversity and trust to the media at a time when American trust in journalism reaches all time lows. We believe now more than ever, your work is critical for democracy.
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.
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 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 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 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’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, 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 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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.”
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/.
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.
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/.
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
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, parse.ly, 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.