Skip to main content
Category

Resources

MVJ Information Integrity Project Seeks Minnesota Content Manager

By Resources

Location: Remote (within Minnesota)

About Us: Military Veterans in Journalism (MVJ) is a professional association that supports veterans in the media by fostering community, promoting career growth, and advocating for newsroom diversity through veteran hiring. Led by veterans and military family members, MVJ collaborates with news outlets, educational institutions, nonprofits, and other partners to create opportunities for veterans in the media industry. MVJ also helps news organizations diversify their staff by serving as a talent pipeline. Established as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in May 2019, MVJ has over 1,000 members nationwide, including both working and aspiring journalists.

Position Overview: Military Veterans in Journalism is seeking a Minnesota-based social media and digital engagement team member for our Information Integrity Project, which works to counter disinformation by violent extremist groups and foreign actors that are targeting the military/veteran community. The ideal candidate will have a keen interest in understanding the information environment and dynamics in the state, the ability to critically analyze various sources of information, and a commitment to promoting factual information, passively teaching media literacy and connecting veterans with support resources in local communities across the state.

Responsibilities:

  • Conduct in-depth research on emerging conspiracy theories and propaganda campaigns targeting Minnesota veterans and service members across various online platforms and communities
  • Identify key sources propagating conspiracy theories and disinformation within the Minnesota information environment and monitor narratives and trends being shared
  • Work with the national program researcher to identify what knowledge is missing and analyze what other circumstances may make Minnesota veterans vulnerable to these emerging trends
  • Develop organic and advertising content on social media, specifically targeting community members in the state, that shares insights on the various bad actors who are looking to target vets in local communities across Minnesota, provides alternatives to extremism and extremist narratives at a local level, and helps inoculate Minnesota vets against disinformation through increasing media literacy skills

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Must be recently separated from the military or currently serving. Must also have a passion for serving the military and veteran community.
  • Knowledge of Minnesota’s information environment, extremist activity and of organizations serving veterans within the state.
  • Strong investigative skills with the ability to critically evaluate and fact-check information from multiple sources.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills with the ability to present complex ideas in a clear and concise manner via language that resonates with the target community.
  • Familiarity with social media platforms and data environments, specifically Facebook, Instagram, Twitter/X and TikTok. MVJ can provide training on platforms the candidate may not be entirely familiar with.
  • Ability to work independently, manage time effectively, and meet deadlines.
  • Commitment to non-partisanship, accuracy, objectivity, and ethical research practices.

The above qualifications are preferred but not required.

Additional Information: This is a part-time contract position with flexible hours. The candidate will work remotely and should be available to attend occasional meetings or check-ins with the broader program team.
Compensation is $25-30 per hour, based on experience, with an expected workload of 20 hours per week. This is a 1099 contract position on an at-will basis for up to 12 months. Further details regarding project timelines, deliverables, and communication protocols will be provided upon hire.

How to Apply: Please submit a resume/CV and a short paragraph (or more) outlining why you want this role to MVJ Executive Director Zack Baddorf at [email protected]

Military Veterans in Journalism is an equal opportunity employer and values diversity in its workforce. We encourage applications from all qualified individuals, including those with diverse backgrounds and those with disabilities.

End Veteran Debt launches Debt Day

By Resources

A new yearlong initiative called “Debt-Day” launching today seeks to eliminate $80 million worth of debt, some predatory, some of necessity that military veterans owe to collections agencies and lenders. 

Financial distress is a known predictor of suicide, and it has wreaked havoc on veterans and their families. 

End Veteran Debt (EVD), a 501(c)(3) charitable private foundation founded by Navy veteran Jerry Ashton, plans to purchase this debt from collectors and commercial debt sellers at a fraction of the cost – the same way collections agencies do – but instead set about to “abolish” the debt at no cost to the veteran.  

Military Veterans in Journalism will support the effort by connecting MVJ members with paid news writing opportunities. They will be assigned to report on how debt forgiveness affects recipients locally and update the public on the program’s progress. 

“Can you imagine how many fantastic human interest stories will emerge from this initiative?” said Jerry Ashton, himself a former Navy Journalist. “All the people and organizations we’re partnering with are excited to liberate deserving vets from their most toxic debts. “

“But, we can’t build momentum around this unless people know about it,” Ashton continued. “We are counting on MVJ to provide a pipeline of veteran freelance journalists, broadcasters, and bloggers to get the word out to news outlets around the country and publish in our online newspaper Now Hear This.”

Dozens of nonprofits have agreed to participate by co-fundraising with EVD, each partner promising to raise from $25 to $50 thousand over the next 12 months to support the initiative.

If the process of abolishing debt sounds familiar to readers of this blog it may be because Ashton – a long-time MVJ member – has successfully used this strategy to forgive $4 Billion in medical debt for more than two million Americans through his previous initiative “RIP Medical Debt.”

Ashton has spent the last few years working with thought leaders to develop strategies to combat veteran suicide, and he says that eliminating the psycho-social burden caused by debt is a giant leap in the right direction. 

Veterans tend to have a rougher path to financial independence than their civilian counterparts. The difficulty in translating military experience into the civilian workforce can cause painful earnings gaps in their careers. This is why veterans are more likely to fall behind on installment auto loans and credit card payments, according to a 2020 study by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Answering the nation’s call to serve also exposes service members to insidious forms of financial risk, as predatory lenders love to set up shop as close as they can to military bases. A 2010 study by the Institute of Medicine found veterans were three times more likely than civilians to take out payday loans to make ends meet.

Here’s the symbolism and math in EVD’s $80,000,000 Debt-Day campaign. It intends to partner with 80 service organizations across the country, each committing to abolish $1M in vet debt (that’s where the $25-$50K donation comes in).

Each $1M will stand for the 80 years since June 6, 1944 – enough funds to abolish the $80M goal.

MVJ Information Integrity Project Seeks On-Camera Influencer

By Resources

Location: Remote

About Us: Military Veterans in Journalism (MVJ) is a professional association that supports veterans in the media by fostering community, promoting career growth, and advocating for newsroom diversity through veteran hiring. Led by veterans and military family members, MVJ collaborates with news outlets, educational institutions, nonprofits, and other partners to create opportunities for veterans in the media industry. MVJ also helps news organizations diversify their staff by serving as a talent pipeline. Established as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in May 2019, MVJ has over 1,000 members nationwide, including both working and aspiring journalists.

Position Overview: We are seeking an On-Camera Influencer for our Information Integrity Project (IIP). The IIP is dedicated to combating the spread of disinformation and extremism in veteran and military communities. The Influencer will create and present engaging non-partisan content focused on improving media literacy, countering emerging disinformation and conspiracy theories, and promoting alternatives to extremism. The ideal candidate will have a strong on-camera presence, excellent communication skills, and a passion for promoting accurate information to veterans.

Veterans (enlisted and officers) and military spouses are highly encouraged to apply!

Responsibilities:

  • Working with our small team, develop short on-camera content that educates veterans about media literacy, debunks conspiracy theories, and counters disinformation. Film and edit this content in a simple, no frills style that is conversational, educational and hopefully entertaining. 
  • Collaborate asynchronously with the IIP team, primarily through Slack, to ensure that content aligns with non-partisan project goals and messaging.
  • Stay informed about current trends in disinformation and media literacy to create timely and relevant content in collaboration with our team’s researcher.
  • Participate in editorial review processes to maintain high standards of accuracy and integrity. 
  • Attend weekly meeting and contribute to team discussions and planning.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Experience as an on-camera presenter or influencer, preferably in the areas of media literacy or countering disinformation.
  • Familiarity with the needs and interests of military and veteran communities 
  • A passion for information integrity.
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills, with the ability to engage and connect with audiences.
  • Familiarity with social media platforms and digital content creation.
  • Ability to work independently, manage time effectively, and meet deadlines.
  • Commitment to non-partisanship, accuracy, objectivity, and ethical practices.
  • Bachelor’s degree in Communications, Media Studies, Journalism, or a related field OR relevant experience.

Additional Information:

  • This is a part-time contract position with flexible hours. The candidate will work remotely and should be available to attend the weekly team meeting (Friday mornings at 8am Eastern), and occasional other meetings.
  • Compensation is $25-30 per hour, based on experience, with an expected workload of 10 hours per week. This is a 1099 contract position on an at-will basis for up to 12 months, with the possibility of extension to three years, dependent on funding. Further details regarding project timelines, deliverables, and communication protocols will be provided upon hire.

How to Apply: Please submit a resume/CV, a short paragraph (or more) outlining why you want this role, and a link to a short video that demonstrates your on-camera presence/style to MVJ Executive Director Zack Baddorf at [email protected].  

Military Veterans in Journalism is an equal opportunity employer and values diversity in its workforce. We encourage applications from all qualified individuals, including those with diverse backgrounds and those with disabilities.

MVJ Welcomes AP Vice President Ron Nixon to Board of Directors

By Resources

May 23, 2024 — Military Veterans in Journalism is pleased to welcome Marine Corps veteran and AP leader Ron Nixon to its Board of Directors. With his deep experience as a journalist, news leader, military veteran and uplifter of media diversity, Nixon takes on this new role ready to guide MVJ in service of its membership.

Ron Nixon is Vice President, News and Head of Investigations, Enterprise, Partnerships and Grants at the Associated Press. In his role, he helps guide the AP’s enterprise and investigations teams and creates more external opportunities to expand the AP’s reach and gain new sources of funding. Nixon joined the AP in 2019 after 14 years covering homeland security for the New York Times and served as the Global Investigations Editor before taking on his current role in late 2022.

“It’s an honor to be joining the Board of Directors of Military Veterans in Journalism,” said Nixon of the announcement. “I’ve supported MVJ’s work and been a member of its community for some time, and I’m looking forward to guiding the organization in support of veterans working in the news and seeking opportunities to do so.”

Nixon is a co-founder of the Ida B. Wells Society, a professional association that works to increase the ranks, retention and profile of investigative reporters and editors of color. In 2021, he was selected as the News Leaders Association’s News Leader of the Year. Then, in 2022, Nixon was selected as one of Military Veterans in Journalism’s Top Ten Veterans in Journalism.

“MVJ is honored to welcome Ron to our Board of Directors,” said Zack Baddorf, MVJ’s Executive Director. “For the past three years, his advice on strategy and fundraising has helped me grow as a nonprofit leader, and I’m grateful for his guidance. His unparalleled dedication to amplifying underrepresented voices and driving tangible change aligns perfectly with our mission at MVJ, and we believe Ron’s wealth of experience and advice will be incredibly helpful in steering our organization’s future.”

Military Veterans in Journalism extends a warm welcome to Ron Nixon as he joins the MVJ Board of Directors. We look forward to working alongside him to serve military veterans and spouses in the news media.

MVJ Information Integrity Project Seeks Partnership Manager

By Resources

Location: Remote

About Us: Military Veterans in Journalism (MVJ) is a professional association that supports veterans in the media by fostering community, promoting career growth, and advocating for newsroom diversity through veteran hiring. Led by veterans and military family members, MVJ collaborates with news outlets, educational institutions, nonprofits, and other partners to create opportunities for veterans in the media industry. MVJ also helps news organizations diversify their staff by serving as a talent pipeline. Established as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in May 2019, MVJ has over 1,000 members nationwide, including both working and aspiring journalists.

Position Overview: We are seeking a Partnership Manager specifically for our Information Integrity Project (IIP). The IIP is dedicated to combating the spread of disinformation and extremism in veteran and military communities. The Partnership Manager will spearhead efforts to build and maintain relationships with influencers and strategic partners to amplify the reach and impact of our initiatives. The ideal candidate will have a strong background in partnership development, excellent communication skills, and a passion for promoting accurate information and countering disinformation.

Responsibilities:

  • Identify and engage key influencers within the veteran and military communities to support the IIP’s objectives.
  • Build and maintain relationships with strategic partners and stakeholders relevant to the IIP.
  • Collaborate with influencers to create and share content that aligns with the goals of the Information Integrity Project.
  • Coordinate influencer activities, ensuring they align with the IIP’s strategies and messaging.
  • Monitor and assess the impact of influencer partnerships and report on outcomes to the project manager.
  • Develop and execute strategies for expanding the reach and impact of the IIP through partnerships.
  • Work closely with the IIP to ensure cohesive and effective campaigns that support the IIP’s mission.
  • Provide weekly updates and reports to the project manager on partnership activities and their outcomes. 
  • Coordinate with our partners at various social media platforms on collaboration

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree in Marketing, Communications, Public Relations, or a related field OR relevant experience.
  • Demonstrated experience in partnership development, influencer engagement, or related fields.
  • A passion for serving the military and veteran community.
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills, with the ability to build and maintain relationships.
  • Excellent organizational and project management skills.
  • Familiarity with social media platforms and digital marketing strategies.
  • Ability to work independently, manage time effectively, and meet deadlines.
  • Commitment to non-partisanship, accuracy, objectivity, and ethical practices.

Additional Information:

  • This is a part-time contract position with flexible hours. The candidate will work remotely and should be available to attend occasional meetings or check-ins with the team.
  • Compensation is $25-30 per hour, based on experience, with an expected workload of 10 hours per week. This is a 1099 contract position on an at-will basis for up to 12 months, with the possibility of extension to three years, dependent on funding. Further details regarding project timelines, deliverables, and communication protocols will be provided upon hire.

How to Apply: Please submit a resume/CV and a short paragraph (or more) outlining why you want this role to MVJ Executive Director Zack Baddorf at [email protected].

Military Veterans in Journalism is an equal opportunity employer and values diversity in its workforce. We encourage applications from all qualified individuals, including those with diverse backgrounds and those with disabilities.



MVJ Seeks Host & Producer/Editor for Sword & Pen Podcast

By Resources

MVJ is seeking a volunteer podcast producer/editor to oversee the production process of our Sword and Pen podcast. The ideal candidate will have interest and some degree of experience in news research, production management, audio editing, and script-writing for a podcast format. This role will be supervised by the Partnerships Director to support partnership and program promotions, receive prior approval for episode content, and set appropriate schedules for publication and promotion. They will work closely with the Podcast Host to provide audio content for each episode.

RESPONSIBILITIES:

  • Prepare and plan podcast interviews with input from the Podcast Host.
  • Manage scheduling interviewees, recording, editing, and episode publication.
  • Update and maintain the podcast’s creative vision.
  • Offer a helping hand to the host during creation and production.
  • Examine content pitches from the podcast host and MVJ team members.
  • Research MVJ members and/or influential military veterans in the journalism field to find interviewees.
  • Analyze statistics and report on episode performance at monthly team meetings.
  • Monitor, assess, and provide recommendations to improve the podcast channel’s performance.
  • Meet podcast deadlines as set with Podcast Host and Partnerships Director.

REQUIREMENTS:

  • Proficiency with audio editing software, such as Premiere or Audacity
  • Highly organized self-starter with excellent copywriting and communication skills
  • Experience in podcast production and ability to develop engaging podcast content
  • Experience in scriptwriting and research
  • Knowledge of Spotify podcasting platform and environment
  • Strategic knowledge in marketing and engagement & creativity in digital storytelling
  • Good decision-making, outreach and relationship-building skills

Honorarium: $100/episode

Apply below!


MVJ is seeking a new host to be the voice of our Sword and Pen podcast. The ideal candidate will have interest in spotlighting a military veteran journalist audience and some degree of experience in news research and interview procedure and etiquette. This role will work alongside the Podcast Producer/Editor to support partnership and program promotions, receive editorial oversight and feedback, and set appropriate schedules for recording.

RESPONSIBILITIES:

  • Assist in the planning of each episode, record content and conduct podcast interviews, using prepared questions and other material from the producer/editor.
  • Assist with maintaining the podcast’s creative vision.
  • Offer a helping hand to the producer/editor during production, as needed.
  • Present content pitches to the podcast producer/editor and MVJ team members, as needed.
  • Assess audience engagement and provide recommendations to improve the podcast channel’s performance.
  • Meet podcast recording deadlines.

REQUIREMENTS:

  • Team player with good attitude and commitment and excellent communication skills
  • Experience in hosting podcasts or other auditory media and with conducting interviews
  • Basic to advanced knowledge of recording equipment and software
  • Experience in research and engagement analysis
  • Good decision-making and relationship-building skills

Honorarium: $100/episode

Apply below!


MVJ Information Integrity Project Seeks Research Consultant

By Resources

Thank you for your interest in this position! We are no longer accepting applications for this role. To be informed of future MVJ job and fellowship postings, please subscribe to our newsletter.

Position Title: Research Consultant – Emerging Trends in Conspiracy Theories and Disinformation

Location: Remote

About Us: Military Veterans in Journalism (MVJ) is a professional association that supports veterans in the media by fostering community, promoting career growth, and advocating for newsroom diversity through veteran hiring. Led by veterans and military family members, MVJ collaborates with news outlets, educational institutions, nonprofits, and other partners to create opportunities for veterans in the media industry. MVJ also helps news organizations diversify their staff by serving as a talent pipeline. Established as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in May 2019, MVJ has over 1,000 members nationwide, including both working and aspiring journalists.

Position Overview: We are seeking a research consultant to delve into emerging trends in conspiracy theories and propaganda affecting military and veteran communities. The ideal candidate will have a keen interest in understanding the dynamics of online propaganda, the ability to critically analyze various sources of information, and a commitment to uncovering truth and promoting factual information.

Responsibilities:

  • Conduct in-depth research on emerging conspiracy theories and propaganda campaigns across various online platforms and communities, especially military and veteran online communities
  • Provide weekly report of findings using our template
  • Monitor and analyze trends, patterns, and narratives within conspiracy theory and disinformation ecosystems.
  • Identify key actors, influencers, and sources propagating conspiracy theories and disinformation.
  • Identify what knowledge is missing and other circumstances that may make people vulnerable to emerging trends
  • Collaborate with internal teams to develop insights, reports, and recommendations based on research findings.
  • Stay updated on the latest developments and methodologies in the field of counter-misinformation and disinformation research.
  • Present findings and insights to internal stakeholders as needed. 

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree in a relevant field such as Communication, Journalism, Political Science, Sociology, Psychology, or related field OR relevant experience
  • Demonstrated experience or strong interest in researching conspiracy theories, disinformation, online communities, or related topics.
  • A passion for serving the military and veteran community.
  • Strong analytical skills with the ability to critically evaluate and synthesize information from multiple sources.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills, with the ability to present complex ideas in a clear and concise manner.
  • Familiarity with online research tools, data analysis techniques, and social media platforms.
  • Ability to work independently, manage time effectively, and meet deadlines.
  • Commitment to non-partisanship, accuracy, objectivity, and ethical research practices.

The above qualifications are preferred but not required.

Additional Information:

This is a part-time contract position with flexible hours. The candidate will work remotely and should be available to attend occasional meetings or check-ins with the team.

Compensation is $25-30 per hour, based on experience, with an expected workload of 20 hours per week. This is a 1099 contract position on an at-will basis for up to 12 months, with the possibility of extension to three years, dependent on funding. Further details regarding project timelines, deliverables, and communication protocols will be provided upon hire.

Military Veterans in Journalism is an equal opportunity employer and values diversity in its workforce. We encourage applications from all qualified individuals, including those with diverse backgrounds and those with disabilities.

Military Veterans in Journalism and the USA TODAY Network Launch Paid Fellowships for Military Veteran Journalists

By Career Opportunities, News, Resources

March 27, 2024 – Military Veterans in Journalism (MVJ) announced today a new partnership with Gannett to launch the 2024 USA TODAY Network Military Veterans Fellowship Program. This program offers four paid fellowships designed to employ more veterans as journalists within the national USA TODAY Network.

Gannett, the largest media company in the United States, has a rich history spanning several decades. Renowned for its commitment to delivering trusted, fact-based news, Gannett operates a diverse portfolio of media outlets across the country including its flagship national publication, USA TODAY, and over 200 local publications across the country. Gannett continuously emphasizes the significance of unbiased reporting and journalistic integrity.
“Gannett is excited to announce the 2024 USA TODAY Network Military Veterans Fellowship Program launch in partnership with Military Veterans in Journalism,” said Samantha Howland, Chief People Officer at Gannett. “Gannett and the Military Forward Employee Resource Group understand the value of military veterans and recognize their unique perspectives, professional experiences, and diversity of thought enhance our business and the communities we serve.”

As part of this effort, MVJ and Gannett will select four military veteran journalists for paid fellowships within the USA TODAY Network. This opportunity is perfect for veterans who are up-and-coming journalists seeking to receive six months of paid journalistic employment and growing their skills and connections within a national network of publications.

Ideal fellowship candidates will have some experience reporting and writing on deadline prior to entering the program. Candidates should be interested in a professional career covering both local and national stories in an unbiased manner. Fellows will also participate in MVJ’s mentorship program during their fellowship.

“Military Veterans in Journalism is proud to partner with Gannett on this initiative to employ vets within the USA TODAY Network,” said Zack Baddorf, MVJ’s Executive Director. “This collaboration will provide a great opportunity for veterans to jumpstart their journalism careers and grow within a local news environment. Participation in these fellowships will ensure the selected military veteran journalists develop skills essential to their ongoing success in the journalism field.”

For more information on the program and positions available, visit: https://www.mvj.network/2024-usa-today-network-veterans-in-journalism-fellowships

###

About Gannett
Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE: GCI) is a diversified media company with expansive reach at the national and local level dedicated to empowering and enriching communities. We seek to inspire, inform, and connect audiences as a scalable, growth focused media and digital marketing solutions company. We endeavor to deliver essential content, marketing solutions, and experiences for curated audiences, advertisers, consumers, and stakeholders by leveraging our diverse teams and suite of products to enrich the local communities and businesses we serve. Our current portfolio of trusted media brands includes the USA TODAY NETWORK, comprised of the national publication, USA TODAY, and local media organizations in the United States, and Newsquest, a wholly-owned subsidiary operating in the United Kingdom. Our digital marketing solutions brand, LocaliQ, uses innovation and software to enable small and medium-sized businesses to grow, and USA TODAY NETWORK Ventures, our events division, creates impactful consumer engagements, promotions, and races.

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. Led and run by a dedicated corps of military veterans and military family members, we are working with newsrooms and other non-profit organizations to create opportunities for vets to get a jump start in the media industry. Whether through internships, fellowships or mentorships, our work has created a pipeline to get vets into newsrooms.

Contacts
Gannett | USA TODAY Network
Lark-Marie Anton
Chief Communications Officer
[email protected]

Military Veterans in Journalism
Devon Lancia
Partnerships Director
[email protected]

MVJ Launches Information Integrity Freelance Fund of $20,000

By Career Opportunities, News, Resources

Military Veterans in Journalism is pleased to announce the establishment of a new journalism fund as part of our commitment to combating the spread of misleading narratives within veteran and military communities. 

The MVJ Information Integrity Freelance Fund will offer freelance journalists and newsrooms a unique opportunity to contribute to countering the spread of propaganda, deceptive narratives, and extremism within the military and veteran community. 

The fund of $20,000 will be used to support the publication of stories that focus on propaganda and violent extremism in the military and veteran communities. The reporting fund is intended to focus on investigative and feature stories that examine these issues at an individual and group level as well as governmental and non-governmental responses to the challenge. 

“We know that bad actors actively seek out and prey on veterans and service members. We want to expose what they’re doing,” said MVJ Executive Director Zack Baddorf. “We are very excited to launch this new fund and support stories that make a difference within the military and veteran communities. We welcome freelance journalists and newsrooms to join us in creating this impactful storytelling.”

Journalists or newsrooms can submit their pitches directly to MVJ using this form. Freelancers will ideally have identified a potential partner publication that wants to work with them to publish their work. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Pitches will be reviewed by a committee formed by MVJ. The project ends in early 2025.

Military Veterans in Journalism Joins in Launch of Bedrock As Founding Partner

By Resources

MVJ joins a group of diverse national organizations as part of this new bipartisan collaborative partnership aiming to fight hate-fueled violence across the United States.

Military Veterans in Journalism announces today it is joining Bedrock, a bipartisan organization with the goal of preventing hate-fueled violence and disrupting the normalization of extremist groups in the United States. As one of Bedrock’s founding partners, MVJ joins an impressive list of supporting organizations that will help guide the organization in its goals.

Bedrock is the operational culmination of a nationwide listening tour launched at the White House United We Stand Summit in September 2022 by founding organization Dignity.us. This tour consisted of interviews with hundreds of stakeholders across 50 states, U.S. territories, and tribal lands. Interviewed stakeholders included hate-fueled violence experts, practitioners, and targeted community members, each of whom provided insights about what could reverse the increasing trend in hate-fueled violence.

MVJ joins Bedrock as an addition to MVJ’s counter-disinformation program, which aims to counter the spread of disinformation and extremist propaganda in veteran and military communities. The organization will collaborate with other founding partners of Bedrock to implement prevention tactics across communities recruited for violent and extremist acts. They will also work together with the partners to disrupt the normalization of such violent acts within the military and veteran spaces.

The list of founding partners spans 51 national organizations, each with a diverse focus and community, coming together across political lines to combat targeted violence. MVJ has previously worked with several of these partners, including Task Force Butler Institute, to train journalists on researching bad actors and countering extremist recruitment efforts via journalism.

MVJ remains committed to the nonpartisan nature of its counter-disinformation program and hopes this partnership will enable future successes in preventing veterans from becoming the targets of extremist recruitment.

The Value of Internships

By Resources

One of the hardest parts of leaving the military is deciding what to do next with your life. I was a Blackhawk crew chief in the Army, so journalism wasn’t exactly a lateral move for me. After years of stumbling through community college and graduate programs, I’d finally found myself in the professional world without much guidance to help me figure out what to do next. Military Veterans in Journalism has been extremely helpful with that transition by connecting me with mentors and placing me at NPR for a six-month internship that helped bridge the gap between my schooling and professional life.

Photojournalist and veteran Jeffrey Dean at work. Photo courtesy of Jeffrey Dean.

When I was first approached about applying for the MVJ internship at NPR, I initially dismissed the notion. The position was for a writer, and being primarily a photojournalist, I didn’t see how six months of writing would help me advance my career goals. But, as we all know, opportunities in this world can be few and far between at times. My soon-to-be editors assured me that this internship would be curated to help me learn and grow as a well-rounded journalist while also providing an opportunity to work at one of the premier news outlets in the country. I was sold.

While at NPR, I spent the first three months on the business desk, where I learned how to work with a team to divide up coverage and tackle important news stories like tariffs and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on businesses. I learned what the editing process for a written piece looked like. I received constant guidance and feedback on story-telling techniques and how to shape a narrative. I was able to photograph my stories and work with the visuals team, and I even got to produce an audio piece that aired on NPR’s radio broadcast (still a highlight of my fledgling career!).

After three months on the business desk, I switched to the digital news hub, where I first began learning how to curate NPR’s news stories on their different audio platforms. True to my editor’s word, when we realized that this didn’t exactly align with my professional goals, I was shifted to the breaking news team. There, I had the opportunity to work on news stories such as the invasion of Ukraine and cover the deadly tornadoes in western Kentucky. These experiences gave me valuable insight into how a large news organization decides what to report on and how to cover it. I worked with my colleagues as a team to ensure that people got important information in a timely fashion, lessons I carry with me to this day on every assignment.

Although I entered my internship unsure what I would get from the experience, I left with a body of published work that I am extremely proud of. I was able to work with some of the top professionals in the field and emerged feeling as though I was ready to be a professional. I found my colleagues treated me with respect due to my service and regularly asked me about my perspective on different news stories.

I can’t express enough how important I feel it is for veterans such as ourselves to be a part of the rapidly evolving media landscape and I am eternally grateful to MVJ for helping me and encouraging other veterans to participate in internships such as this one, even if it seems as though it doesn’t align with your goals. Every experience will help you grow as a journalist if you enter them with an open mind and a willingness to learn. These experiences also provide the tools you need to get fast and accurate information to the public about the world around them.

Check out some of Jeffrey’s sports photojournalism work below.

Jeffrey is a former MEDEVAC Crewchief for the US Army who is currently a freelance photojournalist. He has worked with the Associated Press, Getty Images, NPR, NBA, Reuters, Bloomberg, Drawbridge Digital, The Big Ten Conference, and AFP, as well as other national and international organizations. He also wrote for NPR’s Business Desk as well as their Digital News Hub. He produced a series of films for Hearst Television’s Very Local series.

Military Veterans in Journalism Partners with the Wyncote Foundation and NBCUniversal on Paid Fellowship in Philadelphia Newsroom

By Career Opportunities, News

October 19, 2023 – Military Veterans in Journalism announced today a new partnership with NBCUniversal and the Wyncote Foundation to launch a new fellowship designed to employ a veteran as a journalist in NBCUniversal’s Philadelphia affiliate newsroom.

Thanks to support from the Wyncote Foundation, veterans who are members of Military Veterans in Journalism are now eligible to apply for this paid, in-person, six-month reporting fellowship at NBC10 that will start in early November. The chosen fellow will assist in filling critical coverage gaps on the military and veteran affairs beats in the Philadelphia area.

“Supporting a veteran with a passion for journalism is not only a great opportunity for NBC10 but also a powerful way to amplify diverse voices in our newsroom,” said Elizabeth Flores, VP of News for NBC10 and Telemundo62. “We embrace the value that a veteran brings to our team, and we are excited to create an inclusive space that nurtures their talent and experiences. Together, we can make a significant impact and ensure that all perspectives are represented in our stories.”

This fellowship program provides an opportunity for a military veteran journalist to further develop their broadcast news skills and build both a network of world-class journalists and a portfolio of work. During the program, the selected fellow can expect to work with newsroom management and news team members to support news coverage and production, work with producers and reporters on live shots and coverage, and learn and assist with fast-channel content publication.

“Military Veterans in Journalism is proud to continue our collaborative work with NBCUniversal to diversify America’s newsrooms through the hiring of more military veterans,” said Devon Lancia, MVJ Partnerships Director. “This fellowship presents a great opportunity for vets to help produce news that makes a difference in the Philadelphia community. We’re pleased to provide this fellowship and thankful for the Wyncote Foundation and NBC10 team’s support.”

The chosen fellow will report to NBC10’s news director. Veterans who are recent college graduates, transitioning or early in their civilian journalism careers are encouraged to apply for this opportunity. Ideal fellowship candidates will have some experience reporting and writing on deadline for a general audience. The fellow will work 40 hours per week and earn $20 per hour for the duration of their fellowship.

Applicants for this internship may apply online with Military Veterans in Journalism. The deadline to apply is October 31 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time.

Relocation for Work

By Features, Resources

All that I was allowed to bring for a 12-week basic combat training and 14-week advanced individual training fit inside this carry-on sized bag. I remember I packed a favorite pair of black sweatpants, Army-approved undies, an eyeliner pen, a t-shirt and some tennis shoes. Screengrab courtesy of Noelle Wiehe.

When the military first takes your life into their hands, all you’re allotted is a bag with a change of clothes. I remember that for basic combat training, I thought I’d never packed so little for what would be the longest “trip” of my life. I felt the same when I deployed – only so much stuff fits in your small corner of the world inside a giant shipping container with sheets for curtains and a twin bunk bed frame to sleep on.

Now that you’ve hung up the uniform, the life of luxury doesn’t fit in a duffel.

Alas, we’ve chosen the hard work of the fourth estate, and with this journey comes the expectation of relocation all over again. I’ve had two professors at two separate universities warn me that if I want to have a career in the journalism field, I’m going to have to move.

At least in the military, we were tasked with making a list of our top three duty stations. That might not be the case in journalism. Depending on your situation, you might not have time to wait for a call from The New York Times, and the anchors in your hometown might not be passing on the baton anytime soon. Instead, you may consider moving to middle-of-nowhere Texas, where they need an eager and enthusiastic newbie to work as a general assignment reporter and cover stock shows held in an ag building (true story). Just like the military, though, if you embrace every opportunity, you can have a lot of fun.

The first and most important tip that I have for you when you land a dream job in a place you know nothing about is to network. As a service member, you were a part of the 1% of Americans who serve in the United States military, and now you’re a part of the 7% who are U.S. military veterans in this world. Use your connections. I’ll even give you a headstart: your best one could be right here within Military Veterans in Journalism. This incredible organization connects you to veterans of all branches on the same career path as you.

Noelle Wiehe, general assignment reporter at the Vernon Daily Record from November 2012-October 2013. I covered stock shows for the local high schools in my combat Army boots. Photo courtesy of Noelle Wiehe.

Another great resource is the people who hired you. I nearly took a job in Florida before moving to Georgia here, but the editor told me that if I was relocating, the apartments and houses open were few and far between because the area was still recovering from a hurricane. I took this advice and even considered purchasing an RV, but ultimately turned down the job.

Starting over brand new in a city or small town is hard, and only you know what you need to keep your sanity.

My start date and move-in date did not line up for my first move for journalism. So, I found a campground approximately an hour from the newspaper office so that I could start working and still have a place to shower and sleep until my apartment was ready.

You have to have a plan. And then, you have to have a backup plan.

Being adaptable is key – but hopefully, you’ve kept that trait in your veteran-hood.

The dedicated folks who make up Military Veterans in Journalism at the 2022 Convention in Washington, DC. Not only are these a great group to keep in mind for networking, but they’re also all a lot of fun. Photo courtesy of MVJ.

The 2022 Military Veterans in Journalism Convention, held in Washington D.C.My advice is to know what you need in a new place. One of my biggest priorities is building a way to make friends fast. Right after I lock down a job and a place to live, I’m looking up what recreational sports leagues there are and joining “Foodies of [insert new city]” Facebook groups to find hangouts.

The 2022 Military Veterans in Journalism Convention, held in Washington D.C.The career may not come with as many built-in friends as the military did, but that’s why Military Veterans in Journalism exists. If you’re considering a move and would like to pick my brain about some things, please feel free to email me. I’ve lived in nine states and one shipping container in the Middle East chasing this military journalism dream, and believe me, I’ve got more than these 600 words of tips for anyone who wants to listen.

Noelle Wiehe, the author of this article, joined the U.S. Army as an enlisted public affairs soldier. She followed her dream of telling the military’s story from outside the uniform, working in downtown Savannah as editor-in-chief at Connect Savannah before landing a fellowship through Military Veterans in Journalism to work for Coffee or Die Magazine. She is now seeking to continue her journalism passion. Connect with her on LinkedIn!

Launching Sustainable Journalism Ventures with MVJ Grants

By Resources

In the modern media landscape, diverse perspectives and stories are vital to the success of local news in informing the community. Yet for many diverse community members, starting a journalism venture can be incredibly difficult. Today Military Veterans in Journalism (MVJ), a professional association dedicated to supporting veterans’ journalistic career growth and diversifying the journalism industry through veteran inclusion, is launching its Entrepreneurial Journalism Grants program to combat that challenge. 

With an initial funding of $10,000, MVJ’s Entrepreneurial Journalism Grants Program aims to empower veteran news entrepreneurs by providing essential financial support to kickstart their sustainable journalism ventures. These grants are specifically directed towards covering the costs for reporting on a high-impact story, including any fees these news entrepreneurs may need to cover to self-publish under their venture.

As Military Veterans in Journalism (MVJ) launches its Entrepreneurial Journalism Grants program, the initiative signifies a crucial step towards fostering diversity and inclusion in the media landscape. However, beyond grassroots support, the sustainability and growth of these ventures often hinge on access to additional resources. This is where venture capital can play a pivotal role in providing the necessary financial backing to help these veteran-led journalism ventures thrive.

Enter the CMO for revenue-driven companies, whose expertise lies in maximizing growth opportunities and driving strategic initiatives. By recognizing the potential of veteran-led journalism ventures and investing in their success, these leaders can not only contribute to diversifying the media industry but also tap into untapped markets and audiences. Through strategic partnerships and targeted investments, CMOs can help scale these ventures, amplifying their impact and ensuring their long-term viability. In doing so, they not only support veteran entrepreneurs but also enrich the media landscape with a multitude of perspectives and stories that reflect the true diversity of our communities.

“Veterans have a wealth of untapped insights and experiences that can reshape journalism,” said Russell Midori, President of MVJ. “This program bridges the gap and fosters their ability to make invaluable contributions to the industry and their communities.”

This program, open for applications until December 15, welcomes veterans with innovative journalism proposals. Successful applicants receive support for equipment, initial expenses and other costs of writing and self-publishing their first impactful story. Apply today and embark on your journey towards journalistic entrepreneurship with MVJ.

Military Veterans in Journalism Celebrates Labor Day with Membership Promotion

By Resources

This weekend, MVJ celebrates the spirit of hard work and determination that keeps journalism alive. We appreciate all the hard work our community of military veterans, service members and spouses puts in to keep America informed, and we are pleased to announce that Military Veterans in Journalism will provide a free year of membership to veterans and military spouses who join our community during Labor Day weekend.

“We’ve seen the outsized impact MVJ’s programs have had on our members’ careers and growth,” said MVJ President Russell Midori. “And we’ve also seen our members’ impact on the newsrooms we’ve partnered with. We want to ensure that all veterans and spouses who need these resources to jump-start their careers can take full advantage of them.”

It typically costs $30 for a professional journalist to join the organization, but any new members who sign up from September 1 through September 4 are eligible to take advantage of this opportunity. Once veterans or spouses become members, they receive access to robust resources to support their career growth. These include exclusive job opportunities and paid internships and fellowships in local and national newsrooms, hiring and networking events and webinars, access to fully funded basic and advanced journalism training and certification programs, and a widely praised mentorship program that pairs world-class, highly experienced journalists with members.

To get a free year through this promotion, please reach out to MVJ Membership Coordinator Marcy Bach at [email protected]. We look forward to welcoming more military veterans and family members into our community and celebrating all the hard work and service our community does to bolster America’s news media.

Military Veterans in Journalism’s Work on Tackling Disinformation and Extremism

By Resources

The spread of malicious information and extremist narratives within veteran and military communities presents a pressing challenge. Groups involved in spreading these narratives target military and veteran community members, hoping to use their voices to normalize extremist ideas and bolster their perceived credibility, patriotism and professionalism – and it is working. Experts in domestic terrorism and law enforcement analysts “estimate that veterans and active-duty members of the military may now make up at least 25 percent of militia rosters.”  

As these groups gain support within the community via targeted disinformation, the narratives they perpetuate undermine public trust in our nation’s institutions and pose significant risks to national security and the well-being of those who have served. 

I have spent much of my career deeply involved in countering disinformation and extremism. I’ve developed counter-narratives against ISIS and Al Shabaab propaganda in collaboration with the International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism (ICSVE) and contributed to NATO research on Russian disinformation in the Central African Republic, among a variety of other opportunities. I have also had the privilege of putting my knowledge to use as an adjunct professor at NYU teaching about disinformation. As the executive director of Military Veterans in Journalism, these experiences in tackling disinformation have provided me the expertise to lead our organization’s efforts in safeguarding the integrity of information within military and veteran communities.

Launched in January 2023, MVJ’s Counter-Disinformation Program aims to tackle this issue by providing investigative, nonpartisan reporting, countering false narratives, and actively engaging within our military and veteran community to prevent recruitment to these violent extremist groups. This program is a demonstration of Military Veterans in Journalism’s dedication to supporting the welfare of our military and veteran communities while building public trust in American institutions, including the news media, through veteran voices.

We have been honored to partner with a variety of well-known, expert organizations in support of our program goals. Program partner newsrooms include Military Times, Military.com, Task & Purpose and The Associated Press. We have also collaborated with The Poynter Institute, PolitiFact, Task Force Butler Institute, the Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism, Project Over Zero and the Solutions Journalism Network on training initiatives to ensure our reporters are putting out the best journalism possible. Advisory collaborators include the University of Alabama’s Veterans and Media Lab, We the Veterans and Military Families, and START at the University of Maryland. Through these collaborations, we have equipped the program team with the knowledge and skills to effectively tackle the issues at hand.

With the program now underway, we want to take a moment to emphasize our organization’s objectives and values regarding how we are approaching this complex challenge. 

Our focus is on combating violent extremism and protecting our nation, irrespective of political affiliations. We are aware of the efforts by certain extremist groups to exploit the military veteran community and capitalize on its perceived credibility. This exploitation undermines the values we hold dear and poses a threat to our country. It also weakens the broader community when veterans are painted and characterized as extreme.

This is not a partisan issue for us at MVJ. For us, this is an issue of the potential extremist propaganda has to turn the freedom of belief veterans have sacrificed to protect into negative, harmful action. It’s about the actions these groups are driving veterans to take that harm our nation.

Countering disinformation is a complex and ongoing challenge. We are dedicated to refining our approach in collaboration with partners and experts in the field. Our program advisory board, established to guide our reporters in their coverage, consists of 11 such partners and experts. They will help us establish baselines for success, provide advice throughout implementation and guide coverage toward timely and pertinent issues within the malicious information space.

Our approach also involves engaging with the veteran and military communities. By employing veteran reporters and journalists, we aim to enhance trust and authenticity in our reporting. We recognize that trust is crucial in challenging disinformation and fostering meaningful dialogue, and that’s why we’ll be implementing a variety of tactics across social media and other online forums to directly engage with community members. We’ll be aggregating reporting in an online portal separate from newsroom sites.

While it is important to address the presence of extremism within some veteran groups, we want to emphasize that the vast majority of veterans and military members are not violent extremists. However, we know that those limited few who do turn to the extremes have an outsized influence, so we have an obligation to prevent their numbers from rising. We will continue to work with our partners to safeguard our nation, protect our community, and empower veterans and military members against the influence of violent extremist groups.

We welcome your questions, thoughts and suggestions on this effort. Feel free to email me at [email protected]. For more information and updates on our counter-disinformation program, please watch our website for updates as we navigate this complex challenge.

Three Veterans to Join McClatchy Newsrooms as 2023 MVJ Fellows

By Resources

Two more fellowships opened at San Luis Obispo and State College newsrooms.


SACRAMENTO, CA July 5, 2023
Military Veterans in Journalism is pleased to announce that McClatchy has selected three veterans to join its local newsrooms as part of the McClatchy Veterans in Journalism Fellowship program. The selections come after an early March announcement of a new partnered program designed to employ more veterans as journalists serving their local communities.

“Military Veterans in Journalism is proud to have built this partnership with McClatchy to help jumpstart veterans’ careers and add further diversity to local newsrooms,” said Zack Baddorf, MVJ’s Executive Director. “We are grateful to the McClatchy team for its dedication to diversity and the inclusion of veteran voices in its local coverage, and we look forward to seeing these outstanding journalists grow within their communities.”

McClatchy and Military Veterans in Journalism are also announcing the addition of two more in-person fellowship spots in this year’s program. These new positions with The Tribune in San Luis Obispo, California and the Centre Daily Times in State College, Pennsylvania will help solve coverage problems in these local areas. This is an opportunity for veterans who are up-and-coming journalists to receive six months of paid journalistic employment in their own communities. For more information and to apply, please see: https://forms.gle/JuBRMTUDiA5ePNCL8

“We are passionate about high-quality, impactful coverage, and we believe veterans can provide meaningful contributions to the communities our newsrooms serve,” said Natalie Piner, Sr. Director of News Talent, Culture & Training at the McClatchy Company. “McClatchy is proud to partner with MVJ to bring more veteran voices into local journalism through these fellowships.”

The selectees for the McClatchy Veterans in Journalism Fellowships are sorted alphabetically by name below.

Allen FrazierThe Sun Herald

Army veteran Allen Frazier is a Mississippi journalist who has just begun his fellowship at The Sun Herald in Biloxi. As a current graduate student in Arizona State University’s World War II Studies program, Frazier is passionate about historical and military journalism. He is looking forward to growing in a local news environment, connecting with the community, and learning from the Sun Herald team to provide high-quality journalism in Biloxi.

“I am super excited and thankful to receive this opportunity to tell other peoples’ stories,” Frazier said. “I can’t wait to see where this fellowship at The Sun Herald takes me.”

Joshua CarterBelleville News-Democrat

Navy veteran Joshua Carter is a multimedia journalist who will be starting his fellowship with the Belleville News-Democrat in July. Previously based in San Francisco, Carter has covered a wide range of topics across the local community. Carter takes in the world with a critical eye and strives to “see the story” in everything he does. He is passionate about sharing the voices and stories of others with respect, truth and transparency, and he hopes to continue doing so in a new environment during this program.

“The McClatchy Military Veterans in Journalism fellowship provides me with an incredible opportunity to work in an excellent newsroom right after college,” said Carter. “I feel like the skills I learned in the military are actually being seen and appreciated as well.”

Sonia ClarkThe Island Packet

Army veteran and Air Force Reservist Sonia Clark is a photojournalist, videographer and written journalist with a love of storytelling. A native New Yorker with “an eye, ear and heart for adventure,” Clark is constantly seeking opportunities to expand her skills and improve her capabilities while exploring other platforms in journalism, and she hopes to take advantage of the opportunity to tell stories that matter to the Hilton Head community during this program. She will begin her fellowship with The Island Packet in September.

“I look forward to the opportunity to report on the stories that might not otherwise be heard as a McClatchy fellow,” Clark said. “I am honored to be selected.”

About McClatchy 

McClatchy features a powerhouse of vibrant news brands that have earned awards and national recognition, including the Miami Herald, The Kansas City Star and The Sacramento Bee. The McClatchy digital platform hosts over 30 news sites and a robust digital content offering from syndication partners. Our platform is a catalyst for informed engagement, greater understanding, and deeper community connections. Through state of-the-art technology, we reach more than 95 million unique visitors per month by providing essential news and information to the communities we serve. We’re in the midst of a digital transformation with the help of Practice Path, leveraging our platform to deliver mission-based journalism, independent reporting and innovative customer solutions in order to serve our audience at the highest level. Connect with us on social media @mcclatchy or at mcclatchy.com

Contact:
Natalie Piner
[email protected]
305-376-2802
Website: www.mcclatchy.com

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. Led and run by a dedicated corps of military veterans and military family members, we are working with newsrooms and other non-profit organizations to create opportunities for vets to get a jump start in the media industry. Whether through internships, fellowships or mentorships, our work has created a pipeline to get vets into newsrooms.

Contact:
Devon Lancia
[email protected]
724-924-0905
www.mvj.network

Military Veterans in Journalism Celebrates Independence Day with Membership Promotion

By Resources

This Independence Day, Military Veterans in Journalism celebrates the unwavering spirit of freedom and liberty that defines our country. Our community of veterans and military spouses continue their service to the American people every day by upholding and participating in the free press, and MVJ remains steadfast in our mission to support every member of our community in their careers. We are pleased to announce that Military Veterans in Journalism will provide a free year of membership to veterans and military spouses who join our community during the week of Independence Day.

“We’ve seen the outsized impact MVJ’s programs have had on our members’ careers and growth,” said MVJ President Russell Midori. “And we’ve also seen our members’ impact on the newsrooms we’ve partnered with. We want to ensure that all veterans and spouses who need these resources to jump-start their careers can take full advantage of them.”

It typically costs $30 for a professional journalist to join the organization, but any new members who sign up from July 3 through July 7 are eligible to take advantage of this opportunity. Once veterans or spouses become members, they receive access to robust resources to support their career growth. These include exclusive job opportunities and paid internships and fellowships in local and national newsrooms, hiring and networking events and webinars, access to fully funded basic and advanced journalism training and certification programs, and a widely praised mentorship program that pairs world-class, highly experienced journalists with members.

To get a free year through this promotion, go to the MyMVJ membership page linked below and choose the “Membership Promotion” option. We look forward to welcoming more military veterans and family members into our community and honoring the spirit of American democracy.

MVJ Career Center Officially Launches

By Resources

The MVJCareers home page.

The MVJ team is pleased to announce an exciting new addition to the MVJ membership experience! We’ve been working with JournalismNext to develop MVJCareers, a brand-new job search platform available exclusively for MVJ members.

On this new portal, members can upload resumes and browse through employment listings from news organizations seeking to hire veterans and military spouses. Members can search by keyword, city, field of journalism, or even employer to find the opportunities they’re looking for!

Registered users will also receive a weekly newsletter with the latest job listings, which can be unsubscribed from at any time. That newsletter will start this coming week.

Since the site is new, we’re working to fill it up with plenty of opportunities – but we need members’ help to give employers chances to connect with them. To set up an MVJCareers account and upload your resume, follow the steps below:

  1. Navigate to MyMVJ and log in. This will transfer your sign-on details to the career portal for a seamless single sign-on experience between MyMVJ and MVJCareers.
    1. If you have difficulty resetting your password or experience trouble logging in, please email [email protected].
  2. After logging in on MyMVJ, navigate to the MVJCareers site at mvjcareers.org and log in again using the same credentials from MyMVJ.
    1. Please log in on MyMVJ before accessing MVJCareers for the first time – you may not be able to access the site without this step. After this initial login process, you can log in directly from MVJCareers without needing to be logged in on MyMVJ.
  3. Once you are logged into your account, click the “Post Resumes” button on the dark gray bar toward the top of the page.
  4. Fill out your profile information when prompted and press “Save”.
  5. On the next page, fill in the required fields and as many additional fields as you’d like. You can upload your resume directly into the system using the “Upload Résumé” button under the “Skills” box.
  6. Click “Next”. You can add your education and work history on the following screens. We encourage you to add these (you can copy and paste them from your resume) to make it easier for employers to find you within the system.
  7. Finally, press “Submit” to save your resume. You can edit any time by clicking the “Post Resumes” button again.

You’re done! Now you can browse MVJCareers freely, and newsroom employers can connect with you to discuss available jobs you may be interested in.

We look forward to making the new MVJ Career Center the go-to resource for newsrooms to hire more vets and for veterans to connect with journalism employers!

From Frontlines to Headlines: Veteran Networking at NBC

By Resources
MVJ President Russell Midori pictured speaking to attendees. He is wearing a dark suit and standing at a white podium at the front of the room. Next to him is a screen with the event logos.

MVJ President Russell Midori addresses event attendees. Photo courtesy of Ryan Ruggiero of NBC.

About 50 military veterans and media personnel attended From Frontlines to Headlines, an event co-hosted by NBC and Military Veterans in Journalism at NBC headquarters in Manhattan to allow veterans in journalism to network with top media professionals from NBC and to highlight the importance of getting more vets in journalism.

Cesar Conde, chairman of the NBCUniversal News Group, welcomed attendees to 30 Rock, after which MVJ President Russell Midori encouraged the attending veterans to take full advantage of the chance to build their networks.

The NBCUniversal team held the event with MVJ to diversify their newsroom so that their staff more accurately reflects their audience across platforms. Only two percent of journalists are military veterans, yet eight percent of Americans have served in the armed forces.

Addressing the group, Lucy Bustamante, an Emmy-winning morning anchor and journalist for NBC10, breaking news anchor for Telemundo62 and Navy spouse, expressed the value NBCUniversal places on the service of military veterans and the company’s appreciation for the diversity of experiences veterans bring to the workforce. Bustamante then moderated a four-person panel of military veteran NBC employees who spoke about their experiences.

A photo of the event panel and the room of attendees at the "From Frontlines to Headlines" event. Panelists are seated on a stage to the right, while attendees are seated across the rest of the photograph.

Event attendees listened to each of the panelists speak at the “From Frontlines to Headlines” event. Photo courtesy of Ryan Ruggiero of NBC.

The first of these speakers was NBC News and MSNBC Senior Medical Correspondent Dr. John Torres, who discussed his experience in the Air Force and how it has helped his civilian career. Torres grew up as an Air Force brat before attending the Air Force Academy, where he became a commissioned officer upon graduation. After serving several years as a pilot, Torres answered his calling to become a physician and has since traveled worldwide to provide medical care and humanitarian aid. Torres now combines his medical knowledge and skills from service to bring depth and trust to NBC’s medical coverage. On the side, he also instructs NATO Special Forces in combat and medical skills.

The second panelist to speak was Patrick Martin, a multimedia journalist and producer with the NBC News medical unit. An Afghanistan veteran who served with the 82nd Airborne, Martin’s mission after service became telling stories and the truth for those who were not being heard, such as victims of military sexual trauma. He said his time in service has helped him cover a variety of veteran- and civilian-related health topics in his career.

Emmy-winning political reporter and host of NBC7’s “Politically Speaking” Priya Sridhar also spoke at the event. Sridhar grew up as a first-generation American and joined the Navy Reserves in her 30s, where she currently serves as an officer with the 7th Fleet. After she joined the Reserves, Sridhar became a board member of Military Veterans in Journalism, where she helps connect veterans with opportunities to grow, network and work in the news media. Sridhar talked about one of her recent projects that followed Marines at Camp Lejeune on a remembrance hike for the comrades they had lost in Afghanistan. She also said journalism and military service go hand-in-hand to make her better at serving her country and her community.

A photo of attendees networking at the event. Attendees are scattered around the room, with some small tables covered in gray tablecloths inbetween.

Attendees had plenty of chances to network and connect at the event. Photo courtesy of Ryan Ruggiero of NBC.

Also on the panel was Heather Blasko, a transmission and broadcast engineer for CNBC and NBC Sports, who served in communications in the Army during the Cold War. Upon completion of her military service, NBC hired Blasko for transmissions work. She has since worked behind the scenes on coverage for several Olympics with NBC Sports, including the 2022 games in Beijing. She said she has deep satisfaction with her work and the environment at NBC over the years.

An attendee asked Martin, “What is the trick to getting hired by NBC? I’ve been applying for twenty years.”

“There is no trick,” Martin answered. “It’s very competitive. You just have to keep applying.”

While the event did not guarantee direct placement in an NBC newsroom, the opportunity to network and learn from successful military veteran journalists provided great insight for the attendees, according to multiple participants.

A photo of MVJ member Addison Jureidini, pictured here in a long dark double-breasted coat, a light blue collared shirt and black slacks. Addison is smiling and standing out front of a USPS location.

Addison Jureidini, the author of this article, is an Army veteran and aspiring photojournalist. Follow his work on Medium or LinkedIn!

Military Veterans in Journalism Announces Counter-Disinformation Program Advisory Board

By Resources

Military Veterans in Journalism (MVJ), a professional association dedicated to supporting veterans’ journalistic career growth and diversifying newsrooms through veteran inclusion, announced the appointees to its Counter-Disinformation Program  Advisory Board. 

This Advisory Board will provide editorial guidance, advice and story leads to the Military Times reporting team and the MVJ community engagement team. Their collective wealth of expertise and diverse perspectives will help ensure the initiative’s success in combating disinformation and extremism. 

Members of the Advisory Board will assist with reviewing the reporting team’s stories, discussing trends in disinformation narratives, and strategizing on how to counter those same narratives. In addition, leaders from two other prominent military- and veteran-serving publications — Military.com and Task & Purpose — are joining the advisory board to expand publication of the reporting team’s coverage. The MVJ team welcomes these advisors and the feedback and support they will provide as the reporting and engagement teams begin their work.

“We are honored to have these experts join our Advisory Board, as their advice will significantly enhance our efforts to counter disinformation within military and veteran circles and beyond,” said MVJ Executive Director Zack Baddorf. 

Counter-Disinformation Program Advisory Board:

Dr. Anne Speckhard

Director/Founder, International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism

Dr. Anne Speckhard is the Director of the International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism (ICSVE) and an Adjunct Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Georgetown University School of Medicine. As an expert in interviewing terrorists and extremists, she has developed counter-narrative projects that utilize real testimonials to discredit extremist ideologies.

Christa Sperling

Co-Founder & Board Member, We The Veterans

Christa Sperling is a Co-founder and Board member of We The Veterans, a non-profit organization dedicated to strengthening American democracy by empowering the veteran and military family community. Through her work on the Mis-/Dis-/Malinformation (MDM) Working Group, Christa contributes to novel solutions that counter misinformation.

Doowan Lee

CEO & Cofounder, VAST-OSINT

Doowan Lee is a technologist and national security expert specializing in aggregating, detecting, and analyzing large-data sources related to foreign and extremist information operations. Lee's work has focused on studying, mitigating and preventing the harms of malign influence exploiting the openness of the information environment.

Ellen Gustafson

Co-Founder & Co-Executive Director, We The Veterans

Ellen Gustafson is a Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director of We the Veterans, empowering the veteran and military family community to strengthen democracy. With her background in entrepreneurship and social impact, she contributes to building effective strategies to counter disinformation and promote a more inclusive society.

George Chewing

Deputy Director, Beeck Center for Social Impact & Innovation,

George Chewning is a veteran advocate and technology expert who has served in various roles, including as a White House Presidential Innovation Fellow at the Department of Veterans Affairs. His experience at the intersection of technology, policy, and well-being contributes to developing innovative solutions to combat disinformation.

Jeff Schoep

Founder, Beyond Barriers

Jeff Schoep, Founder of Beyond Barriers, brings a unique perspective as a former leader of a neo-Nazi organization. Through personal transformation, he now dedicates himself to helping individuals leave extremist organizations and supports communities affected by extremism.

Kristofer Goldsmith

Founder & CEO, Task Force Butler

Kristofer Goldsmith, a former US Army sergeant turned advocate and investigator, specializes in countering disinformation and extremist recruitment efforts targeting American troops and veterans. His work at High Ground Veterans Advocacy and Sparverius, LLC focuses on training veterans and detecting and disrupting disinformation campaigns.

Marty Skovlund Jr.

Editor in Chief, Task & Purpose

Marty Skovlund is an award-winning journalist and editor-in-chief of Task & Purpose. Known for his narrative long-form storytelling, Marty's coverage of high-profile events and conflicts provides important perspectives in countering disinformation and shaping public discourse.

Scott M. Parrot

Associate Professor in Journalism and Creative Media, The University of Alabama

Scott Parrott is an academic researcher specializing in media representations of mental illness and how exposure to media content influences attitudes and behaviors related to mental health. His expertise in media studies brings unique insights into the impact of disinformation on public perceptions and provides valuable guidance for countering such narratives.

Zachary Fryer-Biggs

Managing Editor, Military.com

Zachary Fryer-Biggs is the managing editor at Military.com and an experienced national security journalist. With a decade of experience covering defense and security issues, his expertise in investigative reporting contributes to the development of effective strategies to counter disinformation campaigns with high-quality journalism.

Fact Brief Writer Opportunity

By Resources

Gigafact, a nonprofit organization working to counter misinformation and build trust in local media, is seeking part-time fact brief writers to support local newsrooms in addressing unsupported claims. These fact brief writers will join the teams at MinnPost, The Nevada Independent, and Wisconsin Watch to combat misinformation in Nevada and Minnesota. This is the perfect opportunity to make a real impact in journalism by ensuring accurate reporting and countering misinformation with your skills.

Each newsroom may have its specific requirements, but the role of a fact brief writer generally encompasses several key activities. As a fact brief writer, applicants will have the opportunity to:

  1. Research and Identify Unsupported Claims: The primary responsibility of the role will be to conduct thorough research and identify unsupported claims circulating on social media platforms and public forums within your organization’s area of expertise.
  2. Pitch and Assess Potential Fact Brief Claims: The fact brief writer will pitch potential fact brief claims to your editor for assessment. This collaborative process ensures that the most impactful claims are selected for further investigation.
  3. Draft Fact Briefs: Using the Gigafact publishing platform, fact brief writers will draft fact briefs for publication. These briefs will provide clear, concise, and well-supported findings, citing high-quality sources.
  4. Amplify Findings: Fact brief writers will play a crucial role in amplifying fact briefs by sharing them through various channels. This dissemination of accurate information helps combat misinformation and promotes informed discussions.
  5. Participate in Training: Gigafact provides training to enhance team members’ research skills, fact-checking abilities, and effective writing and publishing of fact briefs. This ongoing training ensures that team members are equipped with the necessary tools and knowledge to excel in their role.

At The Nevada Independent, fact brief writers will receive $75 per published fact brief with a desired weekly commitment of 3-5 fact briefs, requiring approximately 10 hours per week.

MinnPost offers competitive pay rates: $25 per hour for writers with professional experience and $17 per hour for beginning writers. The desired weekly commitment for MinnPost is 5-10 hours.

By applying for these positions, you can actively contribute to countering misinformation while making a tangible impact in the field of journalism. Don’t miss out on these exciting opportunities to join reputable news organizations. Seize the chance to combat misinformation and promote accurate reporting by submitting your application today!



MVJ’s Counter-Disinformation Program Welcomes Two New Military Times Hires

By Resources

Military Veterans in Journalism announced today the addition of two new members to its Counter-Disinformation Program team. 

Allison Erickson and Nikki Wentling have joined the program as part of MVJ’s partnership with Military Times. Erickson, an Army veteran, serves as the program’s investigative reporter, while Wentling serves as a disinformation and extremism reporter. Both work directly for Military Times.

MVJ’s nonpartisan Counter-Disinformation Program combats the spread of disinformation within military and veteran communities. Military Times will maintain editorial independence while receiving financial support from this program for the hiring of the two reporters. The program is funded by the Knight Foundation, MacArthur Foundation and Craig Newmark Philanthropies.  

“We are thrilled to have Allison and Nikki join us for this project,” said Zack Baddorf, MVJ’s executive director. “Their extensive experience and expertise in reporting on issues that impact the military community will help us achieve our mission to combat disinformation and provide accurate information to the public.”

Erickson, a former Medical Service Corps officer in the U.S. Army, brings a unique perspective to her role as the project’s investigative reporter. She completed a combat deployment to Afghanistan and earned several medals, including the Purple Heart and Meritorious Service Medal. Her journalism career began before her military service when she studied editorial journalism at Texas Christian University. Erickson has since worked on various freelance assignments in print and digital news and produced podcasts reporting on migration, politics, and health. She previously served as MVJ’s Texas Tribune Military Affairs Reporting Fellow for 2022.

Wentling, a former reporter for Stars and Stripes, has covered issues affecting veterans, service members, and their families at the national and local levels. She reported from Congress, the White House, and the Department of Veterans Affairs, as well as throughout the country. Wentling is also an alumna of the Paul Miller Washington Reporting Fellowship and has been recognized for her reporting on homeless veterans during the coronavirus pandemic.

 

“We are excited to welcome Allison and Nikki to our reporting team,’’ said Mike Gruss, Military Times’ editor in chief. “Their reporting on the important challenges of disinformation and extremism in the military and veteran communities will be invaluable to our readers. We are grateful to partner with MVJ on this important project.”




 

blog cover image for "The Benefits of Networking for Veterans in Journalism" post. dark blue diamond-patterned background, MVJ logo, and white text with the title.

The Benefits of Networking for Veterans in Journalism

By Resources

You purchased your ticket and booked your hotel for the MVJ 2023 convention happening October 5-7th. Networking will be essential at this event and others. Arriving with a strategy will allow you to make the most out of the experience. Networking well earns you more credibility with a broader range of people. Connections make all the difference in the jobs and collaboration you achieve.

Think of your network as a vine and each connection as a leaf. A vining plant is healthiest when its vines continue to move upward and grow new leaves.

You probably didn’t get to choose your coworkers when serving in the military and advancement is selective, so the importance of networking isn’t experienced. For this reason it’s easy to make the mistake of transitioning to a new career without your sights on creating connections.

Outside the military, networking is a vital step toward building your career. Once you have established your network, you can build relationships through the people within it.

First, think inside the box. Who do the people close to you know? How can you benefit their career or vice-versa? What stories can they tell that may fit in your journalistic writing?

Social media is an excellent place to start. You can find groups of people that align with your career goals and interests on various platforms. Some of these will even have in-person meetups.

Networking with companies is the same as networking with people. You can find the companies you are interested in on LinkedIn, join their following, and look at the employees to see what you have in common – like attending the same school, for instance.

Websites like LinkedIn and Alignable have emerged that focus on working professionals. Reaching out to people is a great way to step up your connections. It never hurts to try to make a professional connection online, and it is a pleasant surprise to hear back from people you are writing about or admire.

Opposite to online networking is in-person networking. It’s good to maintain a comfortable balance between the two. Keep your eye out for events where you can meet people, and bring business cards or have a QR code to lead people to your LinkedIn. 

Making professional connections is often about being in the right place at the right time. Salespeople understand this and use what they call “placement tactics.” For journalists, this means going to locations where the people they want to interview are. 

Being a veteran provides a unique advantage to networking. You can (and often will) stay in contact with former peers, superiors and subordinates. You will create new connections when you attend their birthdays, weddings or other events, and you can also make new connections through families and organizations like Military Veterans in Journalism. Veterans are known to be reliable, and keeping up bonds throughout various industries is vital to career success.

The importance of networking for veterans does not stop at individual gain. Veterans work in various positions and occupations to provide advocacy and support for each other in media, journalism and beyond. There are veteran organizations built around a variety of goals and concepts for veterans to connect. 

Team RWB, for instance, is an organization for veterans to socialize and participate in physical activity. Team Rubicon is another that provides service after service through humanitarian aid. Joining a group or organization opens your avenues of communication, expanding your web of knowledge and people.

When you meet a fellow veteran, connect online – and check mutual connections. As we say in the Marines, “It’s a small Marine Corps.” The broader military community is small, though. The last few times I met another Marine, we had at least one mutual connection. A Marine I met in a veteran group was roommates in Okinawa with my first staff sergeant in the fleet.

Strike up a conversation with people when you attend events. If you recognize someone, make the time to talk to them. Even if you are unsure how you know them, say hello anyway. Talk to those you do not know too. 

Networking should not be intimidating, but don’t expect to perfect your skill overnight. It will take time to grow your network and practice socializing with people, especially those outside the military. Relating to civilians and using civilian career communication skills will get easier over time. Once you have a network, you must maintain it by remaining involved, even with those you worked with in the military.

Networking with a unique veteran perspective will bring reliability and success in your media and journalism career. Introduce your connections to each other if you see a commonality. Stay in touch with the people you interview or photograph, and always strive to meet new people.

Eleanor Nesim, the author of this piece, is an accomplished writer with bylines in Atlantis, Verte Magazine, Writer’s Hive, The Humanitarian Rights Arts Festival, on Oxean14, and in the Book: Beyond Belief Marines Colorado. Eleanor also obtained years of utilizing communication skills both technologically and verbally while in a supervisor Military position.

Blog post cover image for "Newsrooms Should Harness the Hiring Incentive of the WOTC". Dark blue diamond-patterned background, the MVJ logo, and the blog title in white text.

Newsrooms Should Harness the Hiring Incentive of the WOTC

By Resources

Newsrooms want to hire veterans. Or they should, anyway. 

Hiring veterans is a great strategy for employers: allowing them to gain high performing employees who are dedicated with an array of skills. Companies are incentivized to hire. 

This is important to know. It singles us out, but if you know this fact, you may as well harness the information and use it to your advantage. 

United States military veterans can leverage their service when applying to jobs thanks to the Work Opportunity Tax Credit. Photo by Todd Trapani on Unsplash.

Whether a service member put in two years or 46 years of service, newsrooms are given what is called a Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) for hiring them as “targeted groups who have faced significant barriers to employment.” That credit can be as much as $9,600 per veteran hired.

The credit available starts at $2,400 and can increase depending on the group and wages paid to the employee in the first year of employment. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, it can increase by 40% of the employee’s qualified wages made in the first year, given a 400+ hours first year of employment.

According to the Internal Revenue Service, the Federal tax credit incentivizes increased diversity within the workplace. We know that diversity impacts the caliber of journalism. This general business credit, provided under section 51 of the Internal Revenue Code, The credit is available to employers up until December 31, 2025, under the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021.

Veterans aren’t the only ones who qualify a company for the credit. A newsroom who hires any person within one of the designated targeted groups could receive a federal tax credit per individual brought on to work.

Those in the targeted groups include:

  • Qualified recipients of Temporary Assistance to Needy Families.
  • Qualified veterans receiving Food Stamps or qualified veterans with a service-connected disability who:
    • have a hiring date which is not more than one year after having been discharged or released from active duty OR
    • have aggregate periods of unemployment during the one-year period ending on the hiring date that equal or exceed six months.
  • Ex-felons hired no later than one year after conviction or release from prison.
  • Designated Community Resident – an individual who has attained ages 18 but not 40 on the hiring date who resides in an Empowerment Zone, or Rural Renewal County.
  • Vocational rehabilitation referrals, including Ticket Holders with an individual work plan developed and implemented by an Employment Network.
  • Qualified summer youth ages 16 through 17 who reside in an Empowerment Zone.
  • Qualified Food Stamp recipients ages 18 but not 40 on the hiring date.
  • Qualified recipients of Supplemental Security Income.
  • Long-term family assistance recipients.
  • Qualified Long-Term Unemployment Recipients.

Unlike your age, marital status, and proposed days off in the future, you should reveal your inclusion as a member of the targeted group up front to potential employers because you and they must complete some paperwork on the day or before you’re offered the job for the newsroom to qualify for the credit. 

There are also plenty of ways to connect targeted group members seeking employment to the companies willing and looking to hire them. The American Job Center assists interested employers in recruiting, hosting job fairs, doing skills assessment, and providing support during the transition to the new job.  

A state workforce agency such as the military’s Vocational Rehabilitation or Veterans Administration can predetermine a job seeker as qualifying as part of a WOTC targeted group.  The agency can note this determination with a Conditional Certification, ETA Form 9062. This cuts out a significant step in the process by alerting employers seeking to grow their workforce to the availability of the tax credit and providing a means for employers to request a WOTC certification for the prospective new hire. 

Both taxable and some tax-exempt U.S. employers are eligible to claim the credit. The difference is that taxable employers claim the WOTC against income taxes, while eligible tax-exempt employers can claim the WOTC only against payroll taxes and only for wages paid to qualifying veterans.

Veterans who served anywhere between two to 46 years can be considered a part of a targeted group eligible for a tax credit when hired by a company. Photo by Syndey Rae on Unsplash.

While I did say you, I wasn’t addressing all veterans who may be reading this piece. Not every veteran may qualify for this perk with their new employer, unfortunately. The IRS defines a qualified veteran as: 

  • A veteran who is a member of a family receiving assistance under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or food stamps, for at least a three-month period during the 15-month period ending on the employee’s hiring date
  • A veteran who was unemployed for periods of time totaling between four weeks to six months in the one-year period ending on the veteran’s hiring date
  • A veteran who was unemployed for periods of time totaling at between six months in the previous year ending on the hiring date
  • A veteran who is entitled to compensation for a service-connected disability and hired not more than one year after their date of discharge or when they were released from active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces or
  • A military veteran who is entitled to compensation for a service-connected disability of any rating and unemployed for periods of time totaling at least six months in the one-year period ending on their hiring date.

A veteran’s spouse may also qualify for the credit, thanks to the Military Spouse Hiring Act of 2022. It hasn’t passed just yet, but if the act goes into effect, the Work Opportunity Tax Credit would include military spouses. According to the current law, the tax credit only extends coverage to qualified military veterans as members of those targeted groups, not military spouses.

Those factors which may make all of this null and void are the limitations: 

  • A qualifying employee must work at least 120 hours – or about three solid, full-time workweeks – during their first year with the company 
  • The tax credit is limited to W-2 employees and does not apply to 1099 or contract workers. 
  • Nepotism excludes a qualified veteran from earning their company the tax credit, as family members hired do not qualify. Business owners also cannot qualify themselves as WOTC employees. 

All things considered, the tax credit gives veterans another (yes, another) leg up on their competition when going out for their dream jobs – or just a job that’ll bring home the bacon. It is important to research the steps necessary to apply for the tax credit and to involve your employer. Consider it another page on your ILoveMe Book. Make an effort to scrape up the proper forms and bring up the tax credit if your employer doesn’t first. You’ll actually be getting them paid for paying you.

Noelle Wiehe, the author of this article, joined the U.S. Army as an enlisted public affairs soldier. She followed her dream of telling the military’s story from outside the uniform, working in downtown Savannah as editor-in-chief at Connect Savannah before landing a fellowship through Military Veterans in Journalism to work for Coffee or Die Magazine. She is now seeking to continue her journalism passion. Connect with her on LinkedIn!

Military Veterans in Journalism and NBCUniversal To Host Networking Event for Military Veteran Journalists

By Career Opportunities, News

NBCUniversal, one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news and information, announced a new collaboration with Military Veterans in Journalism (MVJ) to get more veterans into NBC’s newsrooms. As part of their ongoing partnership, the two organizations will host an in-person networking event for military veteran journalists at NBC’s New York City headquarters on May 9th, 2023.

“The NBCUniversal News Group’s goal is to diversify our newsrooms so that our staff accurately reflects our audiences across our brands and platforms,” said Yvette Miley, Executive Vice President, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, NBCUniversal News Group. “The Veteran community provides a unique perspective that we recognize we need more of in our storytelling and we welcome MVJ in helping us in this area.”

This event presents an exclusive opportunity for veterans in journalism to connect with hiring managers and learn about employment opportunities across the NBC News Group portfolio. Veterans who attend will network with top media professionals to strengthen their professional connections. Attendees will also have the chance to hear from a panel of fellow veterans and newsroom leadership on the role of veterans in journalism and meet with hiring managers in the room.

This networking event will further NBCUniversal’s efforts to create a diverse, equitable and inclusive media space by engaging talent from a wide array of backgrounds, including those with a history of military service.

“NBC News is a crucial partner in our mission to diversify newsrooms,” said MVJ President Russell Midori. “Their commitment to equitable representation has made them one of the most trusted names in news, and their effort to welcome more veterans into their organization shows how deeply they care about the public they serve.”

Those interested in participating in this opportunity can RSVP online with Military Veterans in Journalism. For more information and to sign up, visit: https://www.mvj.network/events/networking-at-nbcuniversal/

###

About NBCUniversal

NBCUniversal is one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news and information to a global audience. NBCUniversal owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment television networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group, world-renowned theme parks, and a premium ad-supported streaming service. NBCUniversal is a subsidiary of Comcast Corporation.

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. Led and run by a dedicated corps of military veterans and military family members, we are working with newsrooms and other non-profit organizations to create opportunities for vets to get a jump start in the media industry. Whether through internships, fellowships or mentorships, our work has created a pipeline to get vets into newsrooms.

MVJ and RFA Team Up for Disability Reporting Training

By Resources

Report for America (RFA) and Military Veterans in Journalism (MVJ) collaborated to host an online training session for reporters, producers, and photographers on disability reporting at the end of February. The session aimed to improve the accuracy, quality, and sensitivity of disability-related news reporting, including coverage of disabled veterans issues.

Three experienced trainers from the MVJ Speakers Bureau led the session: Ben Brody, Director of Photography at RFA; Caron LeNoir, founder of CaronisMedia; and JP Lawrence, Stars and Stripes’ reporter on Afghanistan and the Middle East. These trainers provided education and expertise to the 15-20 participants who attended the event, helping to improve their disability reporting skills.

“We are proud to have collaborated with Report for America to provide this valuable training session on disability reporting,” said Zack Baddorf, MVJ Executive Director. “As veterans ourselves, we understand the importance of deep, nuanced coverage of disability-related issues, particularly those affecting disabled veterans.”

The trainers emphasized the importance of accurate, high-quality, and sensitive reporting on disabled veterans and encouraged participants to engage directly with the disabled veteran community. They also shared best practices for reporting on disability-related topics and accessing and engaging with communities of disabled veterans. The session covered many topics, including impactful storytelling, accurate representation, connections between veterans and other marginalized groups, and local and national resources for journalists.

“My part of this training included tips I learned from reporting on PTSD and TBI while a reporter in San Antonio,” said J.P. Lawrence. “I dialed in all the way from Turkey, but it was worth it to hear all the story ideas from the RFA corps members on this topic!”

MVJ Disability Journalism Speakers Bureau training helps reporters access communities of disabled veterans, many of whom feel ignored by news media coverage. The goal is to strengthen coverage on veteran and disability issues and build trust with disabled veterans who may be less trustful of the media. With this collaboration between RFA and MVJ, more news outlets can learn best practices for reporting on disability-related topics and better serve their veteran audiences.

MVJ Disability Journalism Speakers Bureau training sessions are now available for all newsrooms interested in participating. You can book a session for your newsroom here or email Operations Manager Sara Feges if you have any questions regarding the training. MVJ thanks the Ford Foundation for their generous support of this program and RFA for their collaboration on this session.



Elevating Our Mission: MVJ’s Focus on Innovation, Reliability, and Diversity

By Resources

Our core values are at the heart of our mission to provide meaningful opportunities and support for veterans in the journalism field. They guide the way we advocate for our community as we work to empower and uplift veterans in the news media. At MVJ, we believe that innovation, reliability and diversity are vital to bringing about the change we wish to see for the military and veteran community we serve.

These updates to MVJ’s values were the result of a collaborative effort between our team members and leadership. The process began with a leadership course that emphasized the importance of better defining the concepts that guide MVJ’s mission and vision. After that, our team reflected on our successes and challenges, and discussed how we could improve MVJ’s operations to better serve America’s veterans. These conversations became the three core values that we believe embody the spirit and purpose of MVJ.

Innovation is key to achieving our goal of driving positive change for veterans. We believe in being adaptable and willing to experiment in order to create meaningful impact for our community in the constantly evolving information environment. Our dedication to innovation in news media sets us apart as we strive to bring a bold and creative approach to veteran advocacy.

Reliability is the foundation of all our operations. We are always available to our members, partner organizations, and stakeholders, and make every effort to respond to inquiries and requests in a timely manner. Our reputation for reliable service has empowered us to consistently innovate and foster trust and confidence in our organization.

Diversity is a core value that we embrace in our staffing, programming, and advocacy efforts. We recognize that everyone brings unique experiences and perspectives to our mission, and we strive to create a safe and welcoming environment where everyone feels valued and respected. We are committed to creating pathways for individuals from all backgrounds to achieve their goals.

MVJ’s new core values are essential to our mission of driving change for America’s veterans within the news industry. By prioritizing innovation, we are better equipped to tackle complex challenges and develop creative solutions that empower our community. Our commitment to reliability ensures that our members, partner organizations, and stakeholders can always count on us for dependable service and support. Our focus on diversity enables us to create an inclusive environment where everyone feels valued and respected. We believe that by serving to these standards every day, we can make a meaningful difference in the lives of our fellow veterans. 

MVJ’s new core values will enable us to better serve our community and continue to push America’s veterans to new heights in journalism. Thank you for your continued support of MVJ.


Military Veterans in Journalism and McClatchy Partner on Paid Fellowships for Military Veteran Journalists

By Career Opportunities, Features, News

Opportunity for veterans who are up-and-coming journalists to work in their own communities.

 

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – March 1, 2023 – Today McClatchy—one of the largest media companies in the United States with over 85 million unique visitors—announced its partnership with Military Veterans in Journalism (MVJ) in launching a new paid fellowship program designed to employ more veterans as journalists serving their local communities. 

“There are many ways to support veterans and McClatchy has chosen to do so through our commitment to diversity and talent development,” said Monica Richardson, vice president of local news for McClatchy’s large markets. “This partnership with Military Veterans in Journalism is an expression of our dedication toward the inclusion of veteran voices in our newsrooms, our coverage and our excellence in local journalism.”

As part of this effort, MVJ and McClatchy will select five military veteran journalists for paid fellowships within McClatchy’s local newsrooms. This is an opportunity for veterans who are up-and-coming journalists to receive six months of paid journalistic employment in their own communities. Additionally, these added positions will help solve reporting coverage problems at a local level.

Ideal fellowship candidates will have some experience reporting and writing on deadline prior to entering the program. Candidates should not only be interested in a professional career covering local stories, but they should also be curious and observant risk-takers with an unwavering commitment to accurate, ethical journalism. Fellows will also participate in MVJ’s mentorship program during their fellowship. 

This new program supports McClatchy’s mission to provide the kind of local news coverage that keeps communities healthy and strong.

“We are passionate about high-quality, impactful coverage, and we believe veterans can provide meaningful contributions to the communities our newsrooms serve,” said Natalie Piner, Sr. Director of News Talent, Culture & Training at the McClatchy Company. “McClatchy is proud to partner with MVJ to bring more veteran voices into local journalism through these fellowships.”

This opportunity is available to military veterans who are interested in pursuing a career in one of McClatchy’s local newsrooms in any number of positions, including as a written journalist, multimedia reporter, photojournalist, or digital designer.

“We at Military Veterans in Journalism are proud to work with McClatchy on our efforts to get more vets into local newsrooms nationwide,” said Zack Baddorf, MVJ’s Executive Director.

“This collaboration will provide a great opportunity for veterans to jumpstart their journalism careers while connecting with their communities. By participating in these McClatchy fellowships, these military veteran journalists will develop skills essential to their success in the news industry.”

For more information visit: https://www.mvj.network/mcclatchy-mvj-fellowships/

###

About McClatchy 

At McClatchy we live our mission of delivering high-quality journalism every day. The McClatchy name is synonymous with staying power, next-level resilience, and tenacious pursuit of stories that matter to our readers. In the process we’ve created connections solidifying our deeply-rooted commitment to the crucial role local journalism plays in our communities. We’ve extended our unique local and regional reach, relevance, and resources by forging strong partnerships fostering the creation of innovative, digital-forward solutions. It’s our privilege to serve–and engage with–over 85 million unique visitors who come to us first for their news and information. We’re the McClatchy media company. Covering local stories with national significance. Connect with us on social media @mcclatchy or at mcclatchy.com

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. Led and run by a dedicated corps of military veterans and military family members, we are working with newsrooms and other non-profit organizations to create opportunities for vets to get a jump start in the media industry. Whether through internships, fellowships or mentorships, our work has created a pipeline to get vets into newsrooms.

McClatchy-MVJ Fellowships Now Open for Applications

By Career Opportunities, News

McClatchy is a digitally driven company focused on innovation, with newsrooms in 30 communities in the United States. Their journalism focuses on our local communities, and in that role we have the ability to spotlight problems, highlight solutions and truly make a difference — all the reasons you got into journalism. McClatchy and MVJ are seeking five fellows for the new McClatchy Veterans in Journalism Fellowship Program. Please note: you must be logged in on Google to apply.

Here are some key features of the program:

  • This opportunity is available to military veterans who are interested in pursuing a career in one of McClatchy’s local newsrooms – as a written journalist, multimedia reporter, photojournalist, digital designer, or human resources personnel.
  • Fellowship recipients will participate in a six-month full-time fellowship.
  • Fellows are eligible to join McClatchy’s benefits plan after two months of time in-fellowship. Fellows will remain eligible for the remainder of their fellowship.
  • Recipients must agree to be available for the fellowship’s six months as well as commit to working for McClatchy for one full year upon completion if selected to continue employment. Every effort will be made to provide the fellowship and job in the applicant’s area of interest.

McClatchy Veterans in Journalism Fellows can expect to:

  • Be assigned to a mentor from MVJ during the fellowship period.
  • Receive coaching and mentoring both from newsroom teams and from MVJ.
  • Work with seasoned staffers and work directly with local leaders.
  • Work on projects that help solve recurring problems and improve McClatchy’s business.
  • Develop and refine professional skills for success in the journalism field.

Successful candidates should meet many, though not necessarily all, of the following requirements:

  • College degree or equivalent work experience
  • 1-3 years of reporting experience or equivalent
  • Must have reliable transportation. Must have valid driver’s license and vehicle insurance required.
  • Strong writing skills, excellent news judgment and a demonstrated ability to “see the story” that is going to matter to readers.
  • Unwavering commitment to accurate, ethical journalism.
  • Ability to build source networks and bring a constant flow of story ideas.
  • Ability to work collaboratively to aggressively tackle stories.
  • Comfort with a job that will be demanding, fast-paced and constantly evolving.

What we’ll bring: As a journalist at McClatchy, you will join a supportive, flexible, collaborative team. McClatchy strives to be an employer of choice, and our benefits package is made with this goal in mind. With a focus on health, well-being, wealth and daily life, McClatchy’s package options include healthcare coverage for employees and their families, financial protection from expected and unexpected expenses, multiple no-cost wellness resources and even coverage for four-legged friends.

McClatchy’s overall benefit package also includes a 401(k) with employer match, competitive paid time off and corporate holidays, and a variety of mental health benefits. With an excellent support team and with focus on your well-being as a top corporate strategy, McClatchy provides benefits to support you and your family in achieving your health and wellness goals. For more information on McClatchy’s benefit plan, please visit McClatchyLivewell.com.

MVJ Seeks Applicants for Counter-Disinformation Program Support Roles

By Career Opportunities, News

Earlier this year, Military Veterans in Journalism launched our new, non-partisan effort to combat the spread of disinformation and extremism in veteran and military communities. Now, we are seeking applicants for two new positions to help us manage the digital components of this effort.

As part of our new “Fighting Disinformation in Military & Veteran Communities” program, MVJ will hire two new team members for digital marketing and strategy efforts related to the project. These positions will be responsible for online sharing and engagement around the articles produced by our reporting team.

Check out the listings and apply below. Please note: you will need to be logged in on Google to submit an application.

Marketing Manager

MVJ Counter-Disinformation Program

The Marketing Manager for the MVJ Counter-Disinformation Program is responsible for uploading content from the Counter-Disinformation reporting team outside of the MVJ community. Responsibilities include promoting the reporting team’s reporting and relevant information online in online forums to engage with military and veteran community members in various online forums. This person applies critical judgment when distributing information online.

Working on a contract basis, this person will be supervised by the Executive Director and work with the Counter-Disinformation team. This person will also work alongside a strategy consultant to find groups to post reporting in and engage with group members.

Main Duties:

  • Posts promotional content across social media platforms for new stories and information from the reporting team as appropriate
  • Ensures relevant content prepared by the Community Engagement Manager is shared in a timely manner
  • Engages veterans and service members outside of the MVJ community via social media; engages with MVJ members to assist as appropriate
  • Monitors social media engagement and discusses strategy with the Partnerships Director, Community Engagement Manager and Executive Director

Requirements:

  • Knowledge of basic social media posting etiquette on all platforms, including (but not limited to) Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter
  • Dedication to non-partisanship in online posting
  • Demonstration of a calm and cool demeanor in social media engagement; good decision-making skills
  • Efficient and effective communication skills
  • Broad and deep understanding of social media/SEO strategies related to fact-checking content on social networking sites
  • Highly organized, with excellent copywriting and verbal communication skills
  • Team player with good attitude and commitment
  • Knowledge of military and veteran community online content consumption habits.

Time Required: 10-20 hours a week

Social Media Strategy Consultant

MVJ Counter-Disinformation Program

The Social Media Strategy Consultant is responsible for crafting the initial strategy for MVJ’s Community Engagement Manager and this project’s Marketing Manager to follow when spreading project-related reporting. This person will search for and identify online communities of veterans and service members that should be targeted by the Marketing Manager. Responsibilities include conducting thorough research and analysis of online communities and groups and providing general linguistic and design guidance to the Community Engagement Manager and Marketing Manager. This person applies critical judgment when finding these communities and advising on interaction best practices.

Working on a contract basis, this person will be supervised by the Executive Director and work with the Counter-Disinformation team.

Main Duties:

  • Advise the design of social media strategies to achieve project marketing targets
  • Conduct research and analysis of online communities for the Marketing Manager to engage and post in
  • Advise on visual content design practices to employ for the Community Engagement Manager to ensure content is informative and appealing to the target audiences
  • Facilitate communications by conducting initial posts in various groups to gauge response
  • Communicate with fellow professionals via social media to create a strong network to build relationships within these communities
  • Inform MVJ teammates of ongoing adjustments to strategy to integrate and maintain a cohesive social media presence

Requirements:

  • 2-3+ years of experience as a social media strategist or social media manager
  • Hands-on knowledge of using social media for advocacy and spreading awareness
  • An ability to identify target audience preferences and build content to meet them
  • Excellent multitasking skills
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills

Time required: 10-20 hours per week

Army Veteran Eve Sampson to join The Washington Post 2023 Summer Intern Class

By Resources

Military Veterans in Journalism is pleased to announce that The Washington Post has selected Army Veteran Eve Sampson to join its 2023 class of summer interns as an MVJ Fellow. Sampson is the second veteran to receive this intern position as part of MVJ and The Post’s partnership to increase the number of military veterans in America’s newsrooms.

Eve Sampson, an Army veteran and journalist student at the University of Maryland, was selected for this year’s internship opportunity with The Washington Post. Follow Eve’s work on Twitter!

Sampson is a student at the University of Maryland, where she is working toward her Master’s in journalism. She is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point and commissioned as an Army engineer officer. While serving, Sampson helped integrate some of the first female enlisted combat engineers before deploying to Syria and Kuwait. She has also been a breaking news intern at the Detroit Free Press and a Pentagon reporter with Capital News Service. In her free time, Sampson enjoys traveling and spending time with her rescue dog, Mr. Biggs.

“Meeting some of the most incredible people, hearing their stories and seeing their resilience during my time overseas inspired me to pursue a career in journalism,” Sampson said. “I am so excited to join The Washington Post’s Foreign desk as a Military Veterans in Journalism intern and help tell the stories of people like them.”

As a fellow with The Post’s foreign team, Sampson will learn the ins and outs of international news coverage and assist with reporting stories beyond the United States.

“We enthusiastically welcome Eve. Her breadth of knowledge and expertise will add value to our newsroom and coverage while also serving as a testament to our rewarding partnership with Military Veterans in Journalism,” said Carla Broyles, the newsroom’s senior editor for career development who oversees the summer internship program.

Sampson, whose experience includes reporting with the Detroit Free Press and as a Howard Center for Investigative Journalism fellow, has also said she looks forward to the chance to learn from some of the best journalists in the industry and contribute to thoughtful and nuanced journalism.

 “We at MVJ are grateful for The Washington Post’s dedication to diversity through the inclusion of veteran voices at all levels of their newsroom,” said Russell Midori, MVJ’s president. “We are excited to see Eve’s skills flourish under the guidance of their excellent reporters, and we encourage other newsrooms to take the steps necessary to include more veterans.”

MVJ Speakers Bureau members learn to improve coverage of disabled veterans

By Features, Resources

Earlier this year, Military Veterans in Journalism and the Ford Foundation launched its Disability Inclusion Program to advocate for better, more nuanced reporting around disabled military veterans. Eleven veterans were chosen to serve as speakers. MVJ organized a training series with top journalists and experts in the disabled veterans and broader disability spaces to discuss these critical issues and teach best practices.

Disabled veterans and the issues that affect them often do not receive proper representation in the media. From “inspiration porn” to outright stereotyping, newsrooms have a history of neglecting their due diligence in coverage on these issues. Inaccurate portrayals of invisible disabilities like post-traumatic stress (PTS) or sweeping assumptions of disabled veterans as a group create misperceptions that harm veterans who are looking for help.

The MVJ training sessions began with a discussion of issues in coverage of disabled veterans with Dan Clare of Disabled American Veterans. Clare spoke on the dangers of using tropes in covering disabled veterans, as the consequences can be disastrous for the community. Sweeping assumptions influence shifts in public perception and harm veterans looking for work or other help. Stories that contain these tropes are often partisan in nature, he explained, so they do not reflect the whole disabled veteran community, and that is a disservice to all veterans.

Instead, Clare advised that journalists must portray veterans in a straightforward, factual way. Reporters have access to plenty of organizations like DAV that are available for resources and fact-checking, and these organizations can connect them with disabled veteran sources. He also advised that journalists should avoid exaggerations and instead take the time needed to build a strong story. Above all, reporters should understand that veterans are never required to disclose the specifics of their disability or that they are disabled at all.

The Speakers Bureau members also learned from Cara Reedy of the Disabled Journalists Association, who provided insight on systemic troubles plaguing disabled veterans. The criminal justice system punishes disabled veterans disproportionately, as approximately one in five male veterans in federal prisons are combat veterans. According to the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, disabled veterans face harsher outcomes when it comes to homelessness, too.

Reedy asked the Speakers Bureau veterans to consider why so many news stories treat disabled veteran homelessness or incarceration as natural. “Veterans, who are supposed to be taken care of once they are out of combat, are literally falling through the cracks,” Reedy noted. She believes reporters must question where the failures in the system are that lead to these outcomes.

Journalists also need to allow disabled veterans the space and agency to tell their own stories, according to Reedy. Non-disabled people often shape the narrative around disabled issues, leading to inaccurate information and a sense of unimportance. Instead of allowing non-disabled individuals to have this power, Reedy advised that journalists should seek disabled veteran sources who face the impacts of systemic failures.

The final training sessions, led by Wendy Lu of The New York Times, covered best practices for reporting on disabled veterans. Lu reminded members of the Speakers Bureau that many veterans who acquire disabilities through service face a different process of acceptance than civilians who have lived their entire lives with disabilities. She advised that journalists should be aware of and give more space to the recovery and acceptance processes that many disabled veterans go through. 

Many disabled veterans have experienced trauma in different forms, and it’s important to avoid potentially triggering them, Lu said. While many people develop a sense of disability pride, that road is not always possible for disabled veterans.

Some veterans don’t have visible disabilities, but instead live with invisible disabilities like PTSD. However, Lu said, invisible disabilities are often stigmatized or outright ignored in coverage. She advised reporters to avoid making assumptions about invisible disabilities and including them when relevant to the story. PTSD and other invisible conditions affect how veterans live and function just like visible disabilities do, and this needs to be recognized in coverage. 

After spending the last four months learning from experts on best practices for stronger coverage of disabled veterans issues, MVJ’s Speakers Bureau members will take the tips they have learned and share them with newsrooms across the country, aiming to improve how the news industry covers the disabled veteran community.

New York Times senior staff editor educates MVJ on disability reporting best practices

By Features, Resources

Earlier this year, Military Veterans in Journalism and the Ford Foundation launched its Disability Inclusion Program to advocate for better, more nuanced reporting around disabled military veterans. Eleven veterans were chosen to serve as speakers. MVJ organized a training series with top journalists and experts in the disabled veterans and broader disability spaces to discuss these critical issues and teach best practices.

Wendy Lu is a senior staff editor on the Flexible Editing desk at The New York Times, where she edits a variety of stories from across the newsroom — breaking news, science stories, political features, briefings, wellness stories, newsletters and more. Lu is also a global speaker on disability representation in the media and a national reporter covering the intersection of disability, politics and culture. Previously, she was an editor at HuffPost. Lu has written for Teen Vogue, Refinery29, Bustle, Men’s Health, Quartz, Columbia Journalism Review and others, and has also been named on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list in the Media division.

This summer, Wendy Lu, a senior staff editor at The New York Times, held three training sessions with the Speakers Bureau veterans. Lu coached them on the technical components of disability reporting, including what to do – and what not to do – when covering disability issues.

Lu started her sessions by discussing disability media tropes and the concept of disability as an identity. Although the disability community is very diverse, she explained, it is a strong one and has its own vibrant culture and history. In fact, disabled people make up the largest minority group in the U.S., with more than a quarter of the population identifying as disabled. 

Most nondisabled reporters fail to understand the complex nature of disability, so disabled subjects often do not get nuance in coverage, she explained. Non-disabled people are often at the center of stories rather than the disabled people who are actually affected by the issue. These factors lead to mischaracterizations in the news, which trickles into society as a whole.

Part of this broader issue is “inspiration porn,” which Lu defines as “a genre of reporting that portrays people with disabilities as inspirational solely because they’re disabled.” The genre includes charity stories that congratulate non-disabled people for doing something to help a disabled person. When writing these exploitative stories, reporters often take a condescending tone that turns disability into something to be pitied. This creates assumptions about what living with a disability is like, Lu explained.

Inspiration porn, Lu argued, creates an “us versus them” dynamic where non-disabled people end up feeling grateful they’re not disabled. It also fails to give space to wider issues in these stories, like highlighting inaccessibility in society or a broader investigative angle. Instead, Lu advised reporters to ask themselves two things as a starting point: Does a story about disability include actually disabled sources, and is it inspirational to disabled people, too? Stories that fit both criteria are more likely to avoid the exploitation often associated with disability coverage.

Using respectful, inclusive language around disabilities is also crucial, although it can be tricky for journalists to navigate, according to Lu. Phrases and terms like “suffers from,” “handicapped,” and “special needs” have become less favorable as awareness of disability issues has grown over the years. Other language has become more nuanced. For example, although many terms may have originated with negative connotations, the disabled community has managed to reclaim some of them and use them in more empowering ways.

One discussion reporters might have in their newsrooms is whether to use person-first terms, like “person with disabilities,” or identity-first terms, like “disabled person.” There is no consensus among the disabled community, as every disabled person has different preferences. Some community members even use both interchangeably. Lu advised asking sources what they prefer, with the recognition that  some disabled people may not realize they even have a preference until they’re asked. Journalists should use accurate, inclusive, and neutral language, and only mention the disability when relevant to the story, Lu said.

It is vital to ensure reporters consider the complexity of disability language without allowing it to overshadow the need for coverage. Making mistakes is all right as long as you are able to learn from them, Lu said. “It’s about being accurate, truthful, and respectful, and meeting people where they are,” she explained.

In visual storytelling, she emphasized that journalists should give space for disabled people to authentically be themselves. It is good practice to seek creative angles to showcase the subject’s life and perspective while ensuring they have agency in the visuals. When doing video interviews, reporters should aim to show viewers who the person is in their day-to-day life. Visual reporting needs to treat disabled people like anyone else, Lu said.

It’s important to note that none of this means giving disabled people in power “a pass,” Lu added. Disabled politicians, for instance, still need to be held accountable, and reporters should still ask them the tough questions that they would ask anyone else. At the end of the day, it’s about being accessible, inclusive, fair, and factual — all hallmarks of strong journalism.

Journalists wanting to make their coverage more accessible to the disabled community have a few things to consider, Lu explained. Multimedia stories should include captioning and audio descriptions. Lu advised avoiding automated captions whenever possible since they are often incorrect. Instead, captions should be manually added or burned in. Simple accommodations like these will increase trust between newsrooms and the disabled community, and also increase readership and viewership.

Lu also discussed her tips for pitching disability stories to mainstream news outlets. More and more newsrooms need to make disability stories a priority, Lu said, and journalists should pitch ideas when they have them. “Many editors still don’t realize disability is an actual beat,” she said, “so there might be a lot of instances where [reporters] have to over-explain a bit more.” Editors often need to see the importance of a disability issue on a local, state, or national level before approving a pitch, she said, so reporters should be prepared to explain the “why” and “why now” of a story idea.

Lu also instructed the Speakers Bureau veterans on how to teach others about disability reporting. She emphasized the importance of meeting people where they are and understanding that not everyone will get these concepts immediately. She spoke on acknowledging the gaps and limits in one’s knowledge, saying that while presenters cannot know everything, what they do know is worth sharing. Lu also suggested asking attendees if they need accommodations well beforehand, recording the sessions, and providing transcripts to demonstrate some of the disability best practices. 

“Hosting trainings takes a lot of trial and error,” Lu said in her final session with the Speakers Bureau members. “Some sessions will go better than others, and sometimes you’ll think of other things you could’ve done differently.” She emphasized to the veterans that simple respect by reporters will go a long way toward improving disability coverage.

MVJ offers free training sessions on disability reporting across the nation’s newsrooms

By Resources

Military Veterans in Journalism is offering free training sessions on disability reporting, including on veterans, for newsrooms across the nation. 

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.

Thanks to support from the Ford Foundation, over the past year, military veterans in the MVJ Speakers Bureau have been training with top disability beat journalists and experts at organizations like Disabled American Veterans with the goal of improving coverage on disabled veterans and the broader disailed community. Now, the participants are taking that training into newsrooms across the nation to increase awareness and understanding when journalists cover these issues.

The training sessions take roughly 60 minutes, and it’s preferred that the training be in-person, but can also be conducted via Zoom.

What will reporters learn?

  • Relevant data points on disabled veterans 
  • Challenges and common tropes related to disabled veterans
  • Intersectionality in the disabled veterans and broader disability communities – how does improving coverage of disabled veterans affect the issues in disability reporting?
  • Crafting respectful narratives around disabilities – language and storytelling tips and advice

“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 engage the reporters in a powerful conversation that helps them think critically about their own reporting on disability and provide them with best practices. 


Email MVJ Operations Manager Sara Feges at [email protected] to schedule a free training session for your newsroom.

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.

Disabled Journalists Association director educates MVJ on systemic disability struggles

By Resources

Earlier this year, Military Veterans in Journalism and the Ford Foundation launched its Disability Inclusion Program to advocate for better, more nuanced reporting around disabled military veterans. Eleven veterans were chosen to serve as speakers. MVJ organized a training series with top journalists and experts in the disabled veterans and broader disability spaces to discuss these critical issues and teach best practices. 

Cara Reedy is the Media Narrative Director at Disabled Journalists Association. She is a journalist and producer who spent ten years at CNN producing documentaries as well as writing for various verticals. In 2019, she produced her most recent short doc for The Guardian entitled Dwarfism and Me.

In June, Cara Reedy, the director of the Disabled Journalists Association, held three training sessions with the Speakers Bureau veterans. Reedy focused on the broader, systemic struggles disabled people face daily and what reporters should do to help disabled people be empowered by their stories.

Reedy began by taking a hard look at the role of disability in economic and societal well-being. According to the National Council on Disability, people with disabilities live in poverty at more than twice the rate of those without, and of the 17.9 million working-age adults with disabilities, more than 65% participate in income support or safety net programs. Only 29 percent of disabled working-age people have employment, and education doesn’t help much – just 25 percent of disabled people with at least a bachelor’s degree are employed, whereas 70 percent of people without disabilities with the same education level have jobs, per an early 2022 Bureau of Labor Statistics news release.

Disabled people – especially disabled people of color – are also more likely to face harsher outcomes early on in life, as shown in a 2018 study from the Government Accountability Office. Disabled students, for instance, make up 25 percent of all out-of-school suspensions despite only representing 12 percent of public school students. Those numbers increase when looking at black disabled students – while only 19 percent of public school students are black and disabled, they make up 36 percent of school punishments. This overrepresentation of disabled minorities among public school punishments is a large, although often overlooked, part of the school-to-prison pipeline.

It’s an early example of the harshness of the justice system on disabilities. In a Bureau of Justice Statistics survey published last year, as many as 29 percent of federal inmates and 40 percent of state inmates reported having disabilities. When the Supreme Court passes down rulings on issues important to people without disabilities, the decisions often don’t affect the treatment of disabled people. 

Recently, we’ve seen examples of police officers not following Miranda Rights rules when handling the cognitively disabled, leading to unjust imprisonment – or even death, in the case of people like Kokou Christopher Fiafonou from Austin, Minnesota. And with the recent overturning of Roe v. Wade comes concerns from disability rights organizations like the Disability Justice Initiative that many disabled women won’t be able to get equitable medical care if they can’t carry their children to term.

There is only one way into the system, Reedy said, and when disability gets added in, people face a lack of options to navigate it. But studying the parts of society that are failing disabled people provides opportunities for reporters to use their skills to advocate for solutions.

U.S. Navy veteran Kimberly Kennedy speaks about challenges to disabled Michigan residents at the North American International Auto Show on January 15. Returning the power in narratives to people with disabilities is an important part of improving disability coverage. (U.S. Army National Guard/Spc. Samantha Hall)

Often, stories on disability issues remove power from those directly affected, Reedy said, because reporters go the “easier route,” speaking to non-disabled people instead of the disabled people themselves. As a result, non-disabled people feel they can speak for the disability community because they’ve held power in disability stories for so long. 

Reedy further explained that reporters often don’t cover the divide between abled and disabled individuals working in the disability space, making it harder for disabled people to speak up for themselves. As a result, the stories produced by the media at large tend to lean toward eugenic language and patronizing tones, she said.

Reedy suggests journalists must not pretend that disability does not exist. “Everyone will be disabled at some point,” she says, as it is a natural part of aging. “Once you’re in the disability system, no one will come to help you if you don’t use your power to change things now.”

Using that power is easier said than done for many reporters. In giving agency back to individuals with disabilities, reporters may have to question their own biases and beliefs. 

The questioning process is hard to start, though, when many reporters and newsrooms are afraid to publish mistakes. Reedy says journalists must get comfortable with making mistakes, by acknowledging their mistake, apologizing, and moving forward. It is better to make a mistake and still cover the story than to let the story pass and bring harm to more people, she said. Reedy advises journalists to ask sources as many questions as possible, including the language they think is best.

Reedy also recommends researching every source. Untrustworthy non-disabled sources are not the only problem – some disabled people will give inaccurate information for monetary gain. When reporters ask others in the community about their potential sources, community members gain a chance to tell reporters more about the source. 

Speaking with disabled people as sources can also produce insight into incidents within the disabled community. “The disability community in particular will have proof,” Reedy explained. “If you ask [disabled people] for screenshots, they’re holding them, waiting for someone to come and report the story.”.

Maryland School for the Blind students Andrea Washington, left, and Derontay Taylor, right, along with teacher Colleen Shovestull, center, use their sense of touch on topographical maps. This is a good example of “disability tax”, or the extra time and effort people with disabilities have to put in to do everyday things. (NASA/Paul E. Alers)

Even with journalists taking these approaches, many in the non-disabled community may not understand why disability stories matter. Reedy’s solution is to introduce a “disability tax” – the extra time and energy disabled people have to expend to live, as a way for people to understand the importance of these issues. 

For instance, how much extra energy did a disabled person have to exert compared to an abled person? People understand the value of time better than most other metaphors, Reedy said.

Reedy finished her sessions with advice on tackling these issues in newsrooms. “Turn everything on its head,” she offered, explaining that journalists need to consider the disability side of stories. Reedy also advised encouraging newsrooms to show and normalize disabilities instead of avoiding them. Reporters need to think about why things are how they are and what they can do to give agency back to disabled communities.

Follow the money: Why business journalism is needed

By Features, Resources

“Just follow the money.”

Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, portrayed here by Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman, were the two journalists who reported on the Watergate scandal for The Washington Post.

That’s what Deep Throat (Hal Holbrook) told Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward (Robert Redford) and Carl Bernstein (Dustin Hoffman) to look at in their investigation of the Watergate scandal in the film “All the President’s Men.” (By the way, the real Deep Throat, Mark Felt, never said it, according to NPR in 2012.)

Woodward and Bernstein did just that, which led them to find that President Richard Nixon took part in the Watergate Scandal. The duo’s discovery launched a two-year investigation that eventually forced Nixon to resign.

Business concepts like the ones Woodward and Bernstein investigated affect everyone daily. They are in industries like technology and government. They are there when we purchase a home or attend school. They are in our bills, the gas pump, the restaurant we dine at, and the local grocery store. They are everywhere all at once.

That’s why business journalism is an essential beat in the news industry. From economics to even our health care at the Department of Veterans Affairs, money is what keeps things going – or stops them in their tracks.

When I started working as a general assignment reporter at the Houston Business Journal, I did not know much about the local industries in Houston other than the energy industry. However – and unfortunately – I started working there at the end of February 2020. Three weeks later, we had to shift to work-from-home due to the coronavirus pandemic. We assumed we’d be back in two weeks, but that turned into two years.

My first year at HBJ taught me how the various business industries were affected by the pandemic. Companies had to pivot their plans and models to stay in business. Sometimes, that pivot meant laying off or furloughing employees to save money and survive. These changes affected nonprofits as well. Suddenly, the largest and most significant annual fundraising events had to be canceled and moved to virtual platforms because of the virus.

Then came the murder of George Floyd, which made almost every company from entertainment to Fortune 500 post a black square on their social media and call out the racial injustice. However, it also forced Corporate America to take a look in the mirror, which made them realize they don’t have enough diversity in their board rooms or in their media. This reckoning made companies take a look at their business practices and rebrand mascots with racist origins, like Uncle Ben’s, now called Ben’s Original, according to The Grocer.

The way a business runs affects the bottom line: money. But where do you start as a business journalist? Do you have to work for the Wall Street Journal or the local news outlet’s business section? No, you don’t. Business is all around you, from the school board to the city council. It takes money to make money and, if you follow it, you’ll see where that money gets used.

Break It Down, Barney-Style

Since I couldn’t get hands-on training because of the pandemic, I had to ask “silly” questions when interviewing executives and business owners. 

What do I mean by “silly”? Don’t be afraid to ask them how something works or what it all means. Yes, you can research and read Securities Exchange Commission filings and new products, but do you comprehend what you’re reading? Do you understand how it’s going to increase revenue? 

Don’t be afraid to ask your sources to explain what concepts mean. You need to understand to get it correct in your story.

Keep in mind that your sources and readings will use industry words, like compound annual growth rate (or CAGR). While sites like Investopedia will define those terms for you, don’t be afraid to tell your sources to “break it down, Barney-style” – as in Barney, the lovable purple dinosaur from the children’s program “Barney and Friends.” Tell your sources to explain it to you so your readers can understand and so that you can understand. Otherwise, they will be emailing or calling you and your editor about it being incorrect.

I sometimes joke to sources that I’m a Marine, so we need things broken down Barney-style to understand. (You know that joke about Marines eating crayons for breakfast, and those crayons are pretty delicious, too.)

If you don’t ask sources to simplify things, then you won’t learn. If you come up with more questions after the interview, don’t hesitate to call or email them. It will drive them crazy, but you can remind them that you need to understand to get it correct in your story. They will appreciate it.

Resources

I mentioned Investopedia as one site to turn to when looking up definitions. It’s an amazing resource that simplifies various financial terms, but it isn’t the only one.

Another resource I like to visit is the Donald W. Reynolds Center for Business Journalism, housed at The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. This is one of the most extensive professional business journalism training programs in the U.S., and its website gives tips on reporting subjects such as the economy and labor. For example, you can type in terms such as “labor unions,” and you’ll find articles on sources, which labor reporters to follow on Twitter, and story ideas for Labor Day. Whether you’re covering the stock market, real estate, or school districts, this website is one of the first places I recommend visiting for guidance.

SEC Filings and Other Documents

If you search, you’ll find a lot of public documents and reports, including Securities Exchange Commission filings, which I love reading. There is a lot to get through, but it’s where you’ll find how much the C-suite executives make yearly. It’s where you’ll discover why someone stepped down from their role and how much their replacement will make. It’s also where you find how much money public companies make or lose quarterly or yearly and the source of that growth or decrease. 

If you watched AppleTV+’s series, “We Crashed,” about WeWork’s founder Adam Neumann’s rise and fall, you’ll find (spoiler alert) it fell through because he and Rebekah took over the S-1 (initial registration with the SEC) and listed how much the company lost ($1.6 billion). This loss led to Neumann’s resignation from his CEO role, but he left with a $1.7 billion exit package, according to Business Insider.

Another website to check out is PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records). You’ll find bankruptcy filings and where companies filed them.

For nonprofits, check out their 990 forms and yearly reports on their websites. If you can’t find these forms on their site, check out Charity Navigator. You’ll see how the nonprofit is rated, which issues it focuses on (e.g., Roe reversal or veterans), and its IRS Form 990.

“A Better Kind of Business Journalism” is a series of webinars created by Quartz and geared towards early-career reporters and editors.

As for city councils and school boards, check their websites for agendas. What’s going to be voted on and discussed? How much taxpayer money will go to an item on the agenda? How will it impact the community? 

I also recommend reading or watching business news, like the Wall Street Journal, MarketWatch, Business Insider, or your local news outlet. Search for small businesses on Instagram or other social media. LinkedIn is great for finding company leaders, company information, or journalists who report on business.

Lastly, keep an eye out for business journalism panels hosted by journalism organizations. For example, last year, Quartz had webinars on being a better business reporter. This is a very informative series from some of the best business reporters, but there are others out there.

Investigating and reporting on business will make you a better reporter. Don’t be intimidated by trying to follow the money.

Sara Samora, the author of this article, is a Marine Corps veteran and the veterans reporter for Stars and Stripes. A native Texan, she previously worked at the Houston Business Journal and the New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung.

Military Veterans in Journalism Announces Top Ten Vets in Journalism for 2022

By Resources

Military Veterans in Journalism is pleased to announce the winners of this year’s Top Ten Vets in Journalism contest. This annual contest, started in 2021, is aimed at recognizing and honoring journalists who have made significant contributions to the field of journalism and who have served in the armed forces. It is a testament to the incredible talent and dedication of these journalists, and we are proud to have them as part of the MVJ community.

Please meet 2022’s Top Ten Veterans in Journalism:

Ben Kesling, a former Marine Corps infantry officer, is a Midwest correspondent with The Wall Street Journal in the Chicago bureau where he also focuses on domestic security and veterans issues. He was previously a national security and veterans issues reporter at the Journal’s bureau in Washington. He also has experience as a foreign and combat correspondent. Ben graduated from Wabash College and has a Master of Divinity degree from the Harvard Divinity School. He attended Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University.

 

Anthony Vazquez is a Marine Corps veteran and photojournalist for the Chicago Sun-Times where he concentrates on the city’s south and west sides. Previously, Vazquez was based out of Iowa, where he focused on the effects of Medicaid privatization, and Mexico, where he reported on rural life in the United States and Mexico. In the Marine Corps, Vazquez supervised flight line operations of multiple airfield control groups as well as aided in medical evacuations of injured personnel by securing and designating landing zones for helicopters. His experience in the Marine Corps confirmed the importance of documenting and sharing stories. After the military, Vazquez pursued journalism at the University of Iowa, where he served as photo editor of The Daily Iowan. He moved to Mexico post-graduation to continue documenting illegal immigration. While in Mexico, he was a stringer for The Associated Press and AP Images.

 

Ron Nixon is an American journalist. He was the homeland security correspondent for The New York Times, and the author of Selling Apartheid: South Africa’s Global Propaganda War. He joined the Associated Press as international investigations editor in early 2019, and was promoted to global investigations editor in March of that year

 

Dustin Jones is a news desk reporter at NPR, where he covers national and international issues like politics and COVID-19. He holds a Master’s in Documentary Production from Columbia Graduate School of Journalism and has was MVJ’s first intern with NPR in 2020. He is a veteran Marine Corps sniper with multiple combat deployments. 

He produced a beautiful and moving documentary about veteran suicide while at Columbia. He specializes in breaking news and long-form narrative pieces on issues across the spectrum.

 

Kenny Holston is a staff photographer for the New York Times. Most recently Kenny has contributed to the NYT coverage of Voting Rights, Afghan Refugees fleeing Afghanistan, politics, the COVID-19 pandemic, the insurrection of the US Capitol, the 2021 Presidential Inauguration, Black Lives Matter movement and the 2020 presidential campaign. Kenny is a former USAF photojournalist who served for 14 years and was awarded the DoD Military Photographer of the Year award in 2015, and is a graduate of both the photojournalism program at Syracuse University and the Eddie Adams XXVII workshop.

 

Noelle is an award-winning journalist from Cincinnati, Ohio, who came to Coffee or Die Magazine following a fellowship from Military Veterans in Journalism. She graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and interned with the US Army Cadet Command in college. She worked as a civilian journalist covering several units, including the 75th Ranger Regiment on Fort Benning, before she joined the military and served as a public affairs specialist attached to the 3rd Infantry Division. She deployed once as a media analyst for the Special Operations Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve in Kuwait.

 

Thomas Brennan is the founder of The War Horse, an award-winning nonprofit newsroom. He’s the author of Shooting Ghosts with bylines in the Center for Investigative Reporting, Vanity Fair, and on the front page of The New York Times. Brennan has received the prestigious Edward R. Murrow and Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Journalism Awards.

 

Paul Szoldra served as an active duty Marine from 2002 until 2010. In 2012, he founded the satirical publication The Duffel Blog. For the past 4 years he has been the Editor in Chief for Task & Purpose. This year he has launched a new publication, The Ruck, with a focus on the future of national security. 

 

Drew Lawrence is an Army veteran, reporter, and producer of Military.com’s Fire Watch podcast. He is a graduate of The George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs, where he studied journalism. He hails from Massachusetts and is a proud New England sports fan.

 

Sara Samora is a Marine Corps veteran and the veterans reporter for Stars and Stripes. A native Texan, she previously worked at the Houston Business Journal and the New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung. She also serves on the boards of Military Veterans in Journalism and the Houston Association of Hispanic Media Professionals.

 

These awardees were honored at the MVJ2022 convention, where they were recognized for their achievements and contributions to journalism. They have shown exceptional skills in storytelling and reporting and have used their experiences to bring attention to important issues facing veterans and military families.

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.

Top journalists, leaders, slated to attend MVJ2022 Convention

By Resources

Ben Kesling, a reporter at the Wall Street Journal, will be the keynote speaker for the second annual Military Veterans in Journalism convention to be held in Washington D.C. this week.

Kesling’s reporting on national security and veterans issues has been prolific over the last decade, and is well informed by the six years he spent as a Marine infantry officer, serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. He will talk about the value veterans bring with them into journalism careers, and has agreed to read an excerpt from his forthcoming book, “Bravo Company,” and provide insights on publishing long-form reporting.

Kesling will stick around after his address to interview Courtney Kube for a fireside chat. Kube, a longtime Pentagon producer-turned correspondent, has extensively covered wars in the Middle East and broadcasted stories about the veterans who have served there.

Other journalists and industry leaders will appear throughout the convention, speaking on topics critical to the community of veterans in journalism. 

Lucy Bustamante, Philadelphia’s NBC10 morning news anchor, will moderate a panel on combating disinformation that targets veterans and military personnel. 

Sewell Chan, Texas Tribune’s editor in chief, will moderate a discussion on diversifying local newsrooms through veteran hiring. 

Paul Szoldra, founder and editor of “The Ruck” will participate in a panel on national security reporting with Lamar Johnson of Politico and E&E News.

Caron LeNoir and Donna Cole, both members of the MVJ Speakers’ Bureau who travel to newsrooms to provide training on the disability journalism, will lead a panel on best practices for reporting on disabled veterans.

The event, which begins Thursday night and goes through Saturday night, will include a career fair with recruiters from top news outlets throughout the country, an award ceremony honoring veterans doing outstanding work in journalism, and informal gatherings for networking with industry leaders. 

Ticket sales are nearly at capacity with fewer than 20 tickets remaining for attendees. Those interested in attending can purchase tickets at https://2022.mvj.network/

Senior DAV leader educates MVJ on veteran disability issues

By Resources

Earlier this year, Military Veterans in Journalism and the Ford Foundation launched its Disability Inclusion Program to advocate for better, more nuanced reporting around disabled military veterans. Eleven veterans were chosen to serve as speakers. MVJ organized a training series with top journalists and experts in the disabled veterans and broader disability spaces to discuss these critical issues and teach best practices.

Dan Clare is a Marine Corps and Air Force veteran, a former military journalist, and the chief communications and outreach officer for Disabled American Veterans (DAV).

In May, Dan Clare, the chief communications and outreach officer for DAV (Disabled American Veterans), held two training sessions with the Speakers Bureau veterans. Clare focused on the issues disabled veterans face today and how journalists should approach these concerns.

Clare began with a question: what is a disabled veteran? To him and to DAV, a disabled veteran is “an individual who, while serving in the armed forces, experiences a lasting change in their physical or mental health that impedes their ability to work or function in society.”

Disabled veterans are part of the broader world of disabilities and should be treated as such. One thing that makes service-connected disabled veterans unique, however, is that their disabilities were incurred while they were serving to defend the nation. They are not the only disabled people who have advocated for change, but the improvements in VA medical care and research disabled veterans have advocated for  help the movement to make America more inclusive and accessible to all disabled people.

While the military is rigorous in its physical health standards for enlistment, many veterans leave the service forever changed in some way, Clare said. The disability expert states it’s the public’s obligation to ensure veterans receive the care they need to function in society.

According to a report from the U.S. Census Bureau, 43% of post-9/11 veterans have a chance of having a service-related disability, with 39% of those having a disability rating of 70% or higher. The VA’s budget has risen accordingly over the years. In 2001, the VA received $45 billion in funding, which will increase to $300 billion by 2023. Overall, Clare said there’s an increased awareness of the benefits available to veterans and less reluctance to ask for help.

Yet even with that increased awareness, disabled veterans still struggle to receive the care they’re entitled to, and certain groups face more difficulty than others.

Disabled women veterans from across the country pictured together at the Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) Women Veterans Empowerment Retreat.

Women veterans comprise the fastest-growing segment of the population but some don’t identify themselves as veterans to others. Of the two million women veterans in the VA system, only 500,000 are currently in treatment, even though 60% of those in the system have a disability rating of 50% or higher. According to Clare, several factors cause this disparity — the accessibility of childcare and housing, harassment at VA care facilities, and disproportionate denial of claims related to military sexual trauma all serve as barriers to care for women veterans.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender and racial minority veterans haven’t fared much better over the years. LGBT+ veterans are far more likely to experience depression, and their suicide rates are higher than other veteran groups, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association. This group of people often don’t disclose their gender or sexual identity due to a history of mistreatment, bias, and outright denial of care, according to Clare.

Among veterans in racial and ethnic minority groups, service disabled Black vets use the VA care system at the highest rate, with only Hispanic vets coming close behind. Per the VA’s Office of Health Equity, the percentage of minority veterans in the VA system will continue to increase in the future. “The VA needs to diversify its staff,” Clare stated. “It needs to better represent the community it serves.”

Among the more widely-known issues facing veterans today is exposure to environmental toxins in service. Around 3.5 million veterans were exposed to burn pits in the Middle East, and more have been exposed to contaminated water on installations stateside. Yet it takes the VA a very long time to recognize toxin cases related to combat and begin treating them, and it’s often a fight to get there, Clare said. The result is healthy veterans getting sick and dying without access to the care they’ve earned. Clare noted that these veterans die prematurely and without access to benefits, and their families are brushed aside after their deaths. Justice, both for veterans exposed to these toxins and their spouses and families, he said, must be sped up.

The main image for the “Returning War Vet” TV Tropes page, which defines the trope as, “A stock character of many action movies. A character returns home from the military [and] will inevitably be called upon to put his skills to good use.”

While reporting on disabled veterans’ issues has evolved, and solid coverage is often a service to the community, Clare believes there are some areas in which it hasn’t necessarily improved. Tropes and “inspiration porn” often seen in coverage of disabled veterans causes direct harm – irresponsible representation of suicide, for instance, has been proven to directly impact the decisions of veterans with suicidal thoughts or tendencies. The consequences can be disastrous on the community, as they influence shifts in public perception.

“These stories need to be told, and they need to be told in a productive and effective manner,” Clare said. “We need reporters to ask, ‘What is the promise that [the public has] made veterans, and how [is the public] going to make them whole?’”

Clare advised the Speakers Bureau veterans against making broad, sweeping statements or assumptions about veterans in news reporting. Stories containing these statements are often publicity stunts or partisan in nature and don’t reflect the whole disabled veteran community, he explained. Broad assumptions about disabled veterans harm those looking for work, as the misperceptions created cause employers to balk at veterans with disabilities.

Instead, reporters should focus on straightforward, factual portrayals of veterans and provide readers with resources to maximize positive impact. Reminding reporters that they’re not alone, Clare said, is important. There are plenty of organizations like DAV available to reach out to for resources and fact-checking, and they can connect reporters with disabled veteran sources.

An airman tosses unserviceable uniform items into the Joint Base Balad, Iraq, burn pit in this March 2008 file photo. “Military uniform items turned in must be burned to ensure they cannot be used by opposing forces,” the Air Force said in a statement accompanying the photo. (Senior Airman Julianne Showalter/Air Force)

He also shared some tips for the Speakers Bureau members to take to newsrooms: 

  • When journalists write headlines, they should avoid exaggerating.
  • Journalists need to look at the issue, find the most credible source, and take the time to build a good story.
  • Journalists should be objective in their analysis of VA. The department should remain accountable to the veterans and families it serves and the taxpayers who fund it. However, subjective or out-of-context reporting that erodes public faith in the VA could harm its ability to support those who served.
  • Reporters should understand that veterans are never required to disclose their disability. If they choose to, the reporter has a duty to report accurately, and does not need to include that information if it’s irrelevant to the story.

Maintaining truth and clarity in reporting on disabled veterans’ issues is what Dan Clare believes should be central in future coverage. “In order for us to have the freedom of the press, citizens have to be willing to make sacrifices for the nation,” he said, “and it’s important to understand the public’s obligation to veterans beyond patriotism.”

MVJ Honors Post-9/11 Veterans

By Resources

The World Trade Center tribute lights, photographed on 9/11/2015. Photo by Vincent Nadal.

It has been 21 years since al-Qaeda suicide bombers carried out the deadliest terror attack ever on U.S. soil, yet any American who lived through that sorrowful day still remembers the horrific sight of the mighty Twin Towers collapsing to the earth. 

Reading the articles and social media posts about 9/11 today brought me back to the moment when my heart collapsed along with those buildings. The memory, as clear as that September sky, still tightens my chest after all this time. There is, too, some sweet nostalgia for the rare unity Americans felt in the year that followed. More than 250,000 brave men and women enlisted in the Armed Forces that year, and many more would continue to sign up to fight in the longest wars our nation has ever known. After 9/11, we proved ourselves to be one nation under God; indivisible. That is why about seven percent of the adult population in the U.S. today has served in the military. 

I believe that spirit of unity still lives within us, even if it feels buried under the scars of conflict and politics, division and bitter loss. We must continue to find ways to honor the heroes who stood up to fight in a time of unfathomable danger and uncertainty. Many organizations in corporate and public sectors have honored the post-9/11 generation by implementing hiring preferences for veterans. This empowers veterans to experience the dignity of labor, to contribute to American productivity, and to build wealth and resilience that strengthens their families. 

But the institution of journalism has been woefully slow in welcoming veterans to contribute to the crucial work of the Fourth Estate, and today fewer than two percent of journalists have served in the military. It doesn’t just hurt veterans to be so excluded from this industry – it hurts us all, and it hurts democracy itself, by contributing to the growing distrust of news. Audiences don’t see themselves fairly represented, and they have reacted by dismissing news reports as inaccurate. 

The team at Military Veterans in Journalism works every day to counter this distressing trend by fighting for veterans to have a voice in the public discourse. That means training them in new and classic journalism techniques, helping them get into great schools, and creating a pipeline into newsrooms where the special trust they have earned can strengthen public faith in news reporting. But on this solemn day, we will recommit ourselves especially to the Post-9/11 generation. 

It is wonderful that so many post-9/11 veterans get jobs in public service and corporate America, but for them to truly experience the freedom of speech they fought for they must have a stronger presence in the news industry. We will honor the post-9/11 generation the only way we know how to – by helping them gain access to journalism careers. This week, we are waiving any membership fees for post-9/11 veterans and spouses who join our ranks at MVJ

We want to bring in more members from this new great generation so we can provide them with mentors, fellowships, networking opportunities and all the benefits that come with MVJ membership. If you know any post-9/11 veterans or spouses, please help us honor them by sharing this opportunity, and if you agreed to serve any time after 9/11, we will prove to you that you can have a voice in the news Americans consume. 

Russell Midori, the author of this piece, is the president and founder of MVJ. He is an investigative documentary producer, photojournalist, and post-9/11 Marine Corps veteran. His work has been published by the New York Times, VICE, CBS News, Men’s Health, Task & Purpose, and Pix 11 News in NYC.

The MVJ-Washington Post Internship is Back!

By Career Opportunities, News

Military Veterans in Journalism is pleased to announce the return of the MVJ-Washington Post internship collaboration. As part of the Washington Post’s 2023 Summer Internship program, MVJ and The Post will select one military veteran to participate as an intern.

Washington Post interns have gone on to win Pulitzer Prizes and become top leaders in the newsroom. Working alongside top professionals in the field, interns do meaningful work across a variety of departments at The Washington Post. The Washington Post selects interns to fill various roles for reporters, visual journalists, multiplatform editors, multiplatform producers, news and digital designers, graphics reporters and developers, audience producers, and audio producers. This will be an important early career step for veterans working to advance within the media field.

While participating in this program, interns will work 37.5 hours per week for 10 weeks, starting June 5, 2023, and ending August 11, 2023. The Washington Post is committed to a safe work environment and currently maintains a mask-friendly environment and requires proof of vaccination (booster included) and weekly COVID-19 testing.

As with the last round of this program in 2020/2021, it is preferred that applicants have had at least one professional news media job or internship. Applicants will also be asked to submit three samples of their work and a personal essay with their supplemental materials.

Applicants for this program may apply online with Military Veterans in Journalism. The deadline to apply is September 1, 2022 at 11:59 PM Eastern.

MVJ To Send Six Military Veteran Journalists to New York for the NAB Show 2022

By Career Opportunities, News, Resources

Thanks to a new partnership with fellow non-profit organization, the National Association of Broadcasters, Military Veterans in Journalism will enable six veterans to attend NAB Show NY 2022 in New York, New York. Attendance costs, airfare, and hotel expenses for the selected veterans will be fully covered.

“We believe that supporting military veterans in their journalistic careers is important to creating a better media, entertainment and technology ecosystem,” said Sylvester Smith, Senior Manager of Member and Partner Revenue Development at the National Association of Broadcasters. “We look forward to giving veterans in broadcasting the tools to demonstrate the value they bring as storytellers, and we are proud to partner with MVJ in this effort.”

Veterans selected to attend NAB Show NY 2022 as part of this program will learn about the business of being hands-on and connect with the right people, knowledge, skills and technology that’s propelled broadcast, media and entertainment to a whole new level. Attendees will:

● Lean into efficiency and learn more about finding solutions. Discover alternate workflows and learn how to use what they’ve got.
● Gain fresh perspective. From training to case study presentations with industry pros, find the tips, tricks and inspiration to stay ahead of the curve.
● Unlock creativity. Feel empowered to try new things with some connection and collaboration. This is when that big picture idea becomes a thing.

“Attending NAB Show NY is a great opportunity for veterans,’’ said Zack Baddorf, Executive Director of MVJ. “We are pleased to partner with NAB to support the career growth of veterans in journalism and provide them with the means to improve their skills.”

NAB Show NY will take place on October 19 – 20 at Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York and is offered for free to those MVJ members selected. Applicants must be based in the United States and cover their own expenses like ground transportation, baggage fees and meals. While MVJ staff will make hotel arrangements, attendees will be responsible for booking flights with prior MVJ approval. All flight costs will be reimbursed. The deadline for applications is July 27, 2022.

Apply today and secure a spot to attend NAB Show NY 2022!

About the National Association of Broadcasters:
The National Association of Broadcasters is the voice for the nation’s radio and television broadcasters. NAB advances interests in federal government, industry and public affairs; improves the quality and profitability of broadcasting; encourages content and technology innovation; and spotlights the important and unique ways stations serve their communities.

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.

MVJ Teams Up With NPR for 2022 Internship Program

By Resources

Military Veterans in Journalism is pleased to announce the third year of the MVJ-NPR internship collaboration. As part of the 2022 Fall/Winter Internship program, MVJ and NPR will select one military veteran to serve as NPR’s Politics and Here & Now Intern.

The selected veteran will spend three months working on the Washington Desk, where they’ll learn the ins and outs of political reporting. The other three months will be with the Here & Now team, where they’ll learn what it means to work on a daily news operation.

Interns at NPR are given real-world, hands-on responsibilities from their first day and work alongside top professionals. NPR’s internship program is normally highly competitive, with over 20,000 applicants in 2020. This program will be a great early career step for veterans working to advance within the news media – you’ll get valuable experience providing coverage across platforms and learn from established journalists.

Application deadline: July 10, 2022, at 11:59 PM Eastern.

The veteran intern will join the NPR Politics team covering the House, Senate and Biden administration across platforms – broadcast, digital and in the podcast space. At Here & Now, the intern will report to NPR’s deputy managing editors in Washington, who shepherd the network’s daily news gathering operation.

During the six-month program, interns will:

  • Maintain the Washington desk calendar
  • Conduct research for editors and reporters
  • Fact-check the NPR Politics Podcast
  • Build clipboards, log tape and write digital posts
  • Research a wide variety of topics for Here and Now
  • Assist in studio recording
  • Book on-air guests for the show
  • Produce content for radio and digital platforms

Interested candidates should note what NPR is looking for:

  • Must be a current student in an accredited degree program or a recent graduate of no more than 12 months from the month of the start of the internship.
  • Strong research skills
  • Demonstrated interest in journalism, and in government and politics
  • Computer literacy
  • Good communication and organizational skills
  • Ability to learn quickly
  • Informational accuracy
  • A keen intellectual curiosity and creative stripe are highly desired.
  • Experience in a newsroom or in audio production (or both)
  • Knowledge of NPR programming and platforms is preferred.

Interns are expected to work 40 hours per week for 6 months and will be paid throughout the internship. The program will be in-person in Washington, D.C. NPR mandates that employees are vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition of employment, subject to reasonable accommodation as required by law.

MVJ and The Texas Tribune offer paid six-month reporting fellowship on military beat

By Resources

Veterans and spouses who are members of Military Veterans in Journalism are eligible to apply for a paid, in-person, six-month reporting fellowship sponsored by MVJ at The Texas Tribune starting July 15. 

The chosen fellow will report to The Tribune’s managing editor and be responsible for covering military and veterans affairs beats for the state of Texas. The ideal fellow should be a recent college graduate, or transitioning veteran looking to build a career in journalism. Ideal fellowship candidates will have some experience reporting and writing on deadline for a general audience. The fellow will work 40 hours per week, earn $20 per hour, and receive ten paid vacation days during the six-month fellowship. 

Qualifications:

  • Fewer than three years of professional experience as a journalist
  • Professional attitude and approach to journalism
  • Must be well-read on and have a working knowledge of current affairs for these beats
  • The capacity to work well independently and take initiative, as well as to collaborate with colleagues and work as a team

For some examples of what coverage of this beat would like, see The Texas Tribune’s recent investigative series on Operation Lone Star.

Applicants for this internship may apply online with Military Veterans in Journalism. The deadline to apply is this Thursday, June 16 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time.

Eligible MVJ members can APPLY HERE.

Paid MVJ-CNN Fellowships: Apply Today!

By Career Opportunities, Features

Military Veterans in Journalism is pleased to announce the continuation of our partnership with CNN to get more veterans into their newsrooms. As part of this effort, MVJ and CNN will select two MVJ members to participate in CNN’s 15-month News Associates program.

CNN’s News Associates program will give these aspiring military veteran journalists skills needed for the next level in their careers and help them build a network of experienced, world-class journalists. News Associates are paid and receive benefits for the duration of their program.

MVJ is currently seeking applicants for one of the two openings to tentatively start in late August at CNN’s Washington, D.C. newsroom. The second fellow will start several months later.  

Application deadline: July 14, 2022, at 6 PM Eastern.

During the fellowship’s 15 months, News Associates will:

  • Work with newsroom management to support news coverage and show production.
  • Print scripts for anchors, operate the teleprompter and greet guests.
  • Work with live producers, show staff and reporters on live shots, show production, and coverage of live events.
  • Work with digital teams on researching and writing stories for CNN.com.
  • Monitor a variety of sources, including social media, wires and local news to assist in news gathering efforts.
  • Conduct research at the direction of producers and desk management, which may include identifying video or digital stories.
  • Pitch stories for various CNN networks and platforms.

Interested candidates should note what CNN is looking for:

  • Bachelor’s Degree required
  • At least one internship in a news environment and previous newsroom experience is preferred.
  • Strong general news judgment and editorial skills.
  • Strong writing skills.
  • Ability to multitask and make fast decisions.
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills; strong interpersonal and organizational skills.
  • Computer literacy with a working knowledge of social media.
  • Schedule flexibility – be prepared to work various shifts including overnights and weekends, as CNN’s newsroom is staffed 24 hours a day.

“We at Military Veterans in Journalism are proud to work with CNN in our shared goal of diversifying America’s newsrooms through the hiring of more military veterans,” said Zack Baddorf, MVJ’s Executive Director. “This collaboration with CNN’s News Associates program has proven to be a great opportunity for military veteran journalists to develop skills essential to success in this industry. We’re pleased to provide this chance again this year to support the career growth of veterans in journalism.”

“I have always valued the experiences and culture of veterans and what they bring to the workplace,”said CNN Chairman and CEO, Chris Licht. “I look forward to continuing to champion their voices and stories in our newsrooms through CNN’s News Associates program.”

In 2021, CNN hosted two military veteran journalists as part of Military Veterans in Journalism’s Fellowship program. Both of the fellows, Drew Lawrence and Alonzo Clark, have cited the value their experience as News Associates brought to their ongoing success as journalists. Read more of what they had to say on our Impact page.

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’s Mentorship Program Supports Veteran Journalists’ Success

By Resources

Before there was the Military Veterans in Journalism nonprofit organization, there was a small group of journalists who provided informal mentorship to transitioning veterans. All the work we do now, from our fellowships and job postings to our advocacy and media partnerships, was built off this simple idea that mentorship was useful for veterans.

But this cornerstone of the MVJ culture – the softening of the divide between civilian newsrooms and veterans in journalism – was quite an amateur operation until MVJ received a $50,000 grant from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association to be disbursed over five years. With the $10,000 we received about one year ago, MVJ has improved the process of pairing military veterans with seasoned journalists, supporting the career growth of veterans who work in news media while directly and indirectly improving newsroom diversity. We have also formalized, professionalized, and automated our mentorship program to ensure its consistency and reliability for mentors and protégés alike.

The first step in the improvement process was to develop a prototype for mentorship software. Our goal was to create a program that would automate connections between MVJ’s mentors and mentees while helping our team better track mentorship experiences. This initial prototype was the first version of MyMVJ, built on a CRM platform called Salesforce. MyMVJ has since developed into the member connection app and site we have today.

Roughly 26% of the protégés in MVJ’s mentorship program identify as female, which is an excellent rate of gender equity compared to the veteran community at large.

Since MVJ is a young nonprofit, our team prototypes processes immediately, then collects feedback from users to test and improve. During the test period from July to October 2021, we saw mentorship requests decline, with only eight mentorship connections occurring. Our team studied the drop-off and found users struggled to connect with mentors. The prototype process was too automated, as user feedback indicated professional journalists do not respond well to automated emails.

In September 2021, we identified a list of problems arising from MyMVJ and used it to overhaul the process. We designed standard operating procedures that were more automated than our original program but offered journalists who volunteered for the mentorship program more personalized communication approaches.

In October 2021, MVJ created our second prototype of the mentorship program using third-party software called Mentornity. This new software allowed the program administrator greater control over mentorship interactions. We introduced the new process on Oct. 21, collected users (both mentors and protégés), and tested the program for the remainder of the last quarter of the year. The new system was fully implemented by January 2022. In addition to Mentornity, we built a manually controlled backend of the mentorship software, which has allowed us to keep excellent track of mentorships with fewer working hours for our team.

MVJ’s mentorship program displays more than double the amount of diversity that’s industry standard for newsroom staff.

The program’s popularity and success skyrocketed from there. Since the beginning of the first quarter of 2022, we have established 25 mentorship connections – the most our program has ever facilitated at once. Of these connections, 41 percent have been persons of color, which is more than double the industry standard for persons of color on newsroom staff. More than 25 percent of our protégés have been women, which is an excellent rate of gender equity among the veteran community, where only 10 percent of veterans are women.

MVJ’s new process also allows us to track the goals of our protégés to determine how well the mentorships have satisfied their objectives from the beginning of their time in the program. This has added great value to MVJ’s mentorship program. Protégés are now asked to take a post-mentorship survey, which our team analyzes to prioritize new mentor assignments based on the goals they have left to achieve. On average, MVJ’s protégés meet more than 70 percent of their goals from their first mentorship session, and 2 out of the 25 mentorships assigned in the first quarter have resulted in MVJ members getting hired thanks to their new connection.

We hope to see the mentorship program continue this expansion in the future, and we believe it has proven its worth for veterans in need of a mentor. If you are seeking to mentor a military veteran journalist or are a veteran journalist looking for guidance, sign up for MVJ’s mentorship program today via the link below.