Military veterans interested in earning a master’s degree at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY may be eligible for a nine-month paid Fellowship upon completion of the degree.
The fellowship will provide two students with the opportunity to go into a reporting job immediately after graduation. The selected candidates will work at a nine-month fellowship in one of these innovative newsrooms and receive a monthly salary of $4,000 and healthcare benefits.
Students must meet the fellowing eligibility criteria to qualify for the fellowship:
Apply, be admitted, and enroll in the Newmark J-School.
Maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0 during all three semesters
The fellowship participants will be selected during the third semester at the J-School. Veterans who complete their degree requirements but are not selected for the fellowship will still receive their master’s degree in journalism with the experience of reporting as a CUNY student in New York City, the largest media market in the country.
Because CUNY is a state school, the Post-9/11 GI Bill may cover tuition and provide generous assistance for housing in New York City. Check your VA eligibility to ensure you have three semesters of coverage remaining.
How to Apply to the Newmark J-School:
Students must submit a complete application by March 1, 2021 – For scholarship consideration
Applications completed after March 1, 2022 will be reviewed on a space-available, rolling basis. The application fee is waived for veterans.
Refer to the How to Apply page to learn more about the application checklist
If you are interested in participating in this program, please fill out this form to schedule a one-on-one application session with advisors from Newmark J-School.
Thanks to a grant from News Corp Giving, the non-profit organization Military Veterans in Journalism will provide a range of resources for reporters covering military and veteran issues through an online resource portal.
MVJ will provide standards, tips, and guidance to reporters navigating sensitive topics using this portal. The organization will put together a directory of experts on such subjects as post-traumatic stress and veteran suicide. MVJ will also create a style guide with explanations on technical terms to help journalists avoid common stereotypes and tropes.
Additionally, MVJ will provide a showcase of work and a database of veteran journalists who can be resources for other newsrooms.
“We’re excited to be bringing together the expertise and knowledge base of our community through this project,” said MVJ’s executive director Zack Baddorf, a Navy veteran. “We will highlight the voices in the military veteran community who know these subjects because they’ve served in the military and, as veterans, know these issues firsthand.”
After creating the online portal, Military Veterans in Journalism will promote the portal for news outlets nationwide.
“At News Corp, we are steadfast in our commitment to a free press as a vital function of democracy, a mission that is ably supported by organizations like Military Veterans in Journalism,” says Toni Bush, Global Head of Government Affairs and head of the News Corp Philanthropy Committee. “The work being done by Military Veterans in Journalism to bolster meaningful coverage of veteran communities and bring authentic voices and expertise to newsrooms across the country is critically important, and we are pleased to play a role in this invaluable effort.”
Military Veterans in Journalism is a professional association that builds community for vets, supports their career growth, and advocates for diversifying newsrooms through hiring and promoting more vets. Learn more at www.mvj.network.
About News Corp Giving:
News Corp Giving is News Corp’s charitable giving program. Since its launch in 2013, the program has contributed financial support and other resources to over 100 charities, many of which benefit young people and veterans in need, including people of color, families in economically disadvantaged environments, and women, along with organizations that defend freedom of the press and promote news literacy. News Corp Giving believes that men and women who have served our nation deserve help as they pursue an education, seek new jobs and work towards a better future for their families. Learn more at newscorp.com/news-corp-philanthropy/.
It has been another great year for us here at Military Veterans in Journalism, and we are honored to have shared it with all of you. This year, we have established programs and partnerships that will benefit our community for years to come.
Most notably, we held our first annual conference, put to work seven veteran journalists, held a series of webinars, and supported veterans in getting hired full-time in journalism. We could not have done it without our community.
This year saw the inauguration of an annual convention for Military Veterans in Journalism with #MVJ2021. Media organizations, visionaries, and journalists alike came together to showcase the work of vets in journalism, present live instructional webinars, and celebrate diversity in news media. This year’s convention featured two days of panels, speakers, and a career fair, and we raised $105,000 to support our mission. #MVJ2021 had 350 attendees, and we have big aims to grow our attendance for #MVJ2022. We want our future conventions to continue to be a way for our community to unite and we’ll keep you posted as these plans develop.
We also spent the year improving our mentorship program and we’ve seen participation grow steadily. In 2021, 62 mentorships are ongoing – with established journalists supporting vets as they navigate their careers in journalism. That’s a growth of 150% from when the program first started. Please consider becoming a mentor!
Despite the challenges presented by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic this year, we continued to grow and serve our members. We held all of our webinars and workshops as virtual events. We also convened online for #MVJ2021 and made sure attendees could celebrate safely at home – even with cocktail bombs! While we will continue hosting virtual events in 2022, we plan to host more in-person and hybrid events for our members.
In late 2020, Military Veterans in Journalism was honored to receive a $250,000 investment from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Thanks to this investment, we were able to provide four fellowships for veterans in local and national newsrooms, hold 18 career guidance webinars, host five Journeys Through America’s Newsrooms, and start a workshop series on radio broadcasting. We have more such events planned for 2022 and we will send out information on these events as the dates get closer.
This year, the Ford Foundation awarded Military Veterans in Journalism a $200,000 grant. With this support and assistance from Disabled American Veterans and the Disability Media Alliance Project, MVJ will build new programs to improve disability coverage in newsrooms nationwide. Together, we will create a speakers bureau of veterans and train veteran journalists on disability reporting best practices. MVJ also has a series of virtual events planned to guide disability coverage in newsrooms across the country. We will start these projects early next year, and we welcome the involvement of our community.
In 2022, Military Veterans in Journalism will lead the way to shape nationwide news coverage on veterans and military affairs. With support from News Corp Philanthropy, MVJ will build an online portal of resources to improve reporting on these issues. Our goal is to connect newsrooms with all the tools they need to improve, including experts on military subjects, a style guide, and a showcase of veterans in journalism. We are excited to drive more knowledgeable reporting on these issues.
Thank you for your continued support throughout 2021. We are excited to build out our support for veterans in journalism in 2022 and beyond.
Executive Director, MVJ
Navy Vet / Former Journalist
About Military Veterans in Journalism
Military Veterans in Journalism is a professional association that builds community for vets, supports their career growth, and advocates for diversifying newsrooms through hiring and promoting more vets. Learn more at https://www.mvj.network/.
The Ford Foundation has awarded a $200,000 grant to Military Veterans in Journalism to improve national and local news coverage of disabled veterans.
The U.S. Department of Labor reports that about a quarter of all military veterans — an estimated 4.7 million people — have a service-connected disability.
“Simply put, newsrooms are just not representative of the American people,” said Zack Baddorf, the executive director of Military Veterans in Journalism. “We don’t need more superficial inspiration porn. Our nation deserves news coverage that is nuanced and doesn’t try to make everything into a perfect box with a bow on top.”
Military veterans represent just 2% of journalists in America’s newsrooms, according to U.S. Census data.
“Vets need to be a part of the national conversation,” Baddorf added. “We know what it’s like to live with post-traumatic stress, to have tinnitus, to work despite hearing loss. Our experiences can help inform a deeper understanding within the media world of what it’s really like for people with disabilities.”
MVJ will launch a speakers bureau of military veterans to advocate for better coverage of military and veteran affairs. As part of this effort, MVJ has partnered with Disabled American Veterans and the Disability Media Alliance Project to provide training to veterans about best practices on disability reporting. These veterans will then share their experiences and knowledge with newsrooms where the veterans are home-based.
MVJ will also conduct multiple virtual events to share guidance with newsrooms across the nation about how they can improve their reporting on disability issues. These recommendations will be consolidated on MVJ’s website for future reference.
“This three year grant is a demonstration of the Ford Foundation’s commitment to disability inclusion,” said Rebecca Cokley, the first U.S. Disability Rights Program Officer for the Ford Foundation. “We see this as a unique opportunity for strong veteran voices to unite with the broader disability community. Together, we can work to ensure our nation’s media treats people with disabilities with the dignity and respect that we deserve.”
About Military Veterans in Journalism
Military Veterans in Journalism is a professional association that builds community for vets, supports their career growth, and advocates for diversifying newsrooms through hiring and promoting more vets. Learn more at www.mvj.network
Military Veterans in Journalism is hosting seven paid fellowships lasting about six months each. These fellowships allow our members to build portfolios of journalistic work and form a network of peers. All of this year’s fellows have already been placed in the newsrooms of their choice.
Before we introduce this year’s fellows, we would like to thank our funders who help make this possible. Four of our fellowships are thanks to generous support from the Knight Foundation, two are thanks to generous support from Craig Newmark Philanthropies, and the last is thanks to generous support from the Wyncote Foundation.
Without further ado, here are our seven fellows for 2021.
The Knight Foundation – Military Veterans in Journalism Fellowship program
Noelle Wiehe, Coffee or Die Magazine
Noelle is an Army veteran and the first responder/military beat for Coffee or Die Magazine.
“I’m so excited to join the team and contribute content to this organization. To be a part of Coffee or Die is an excellent step in my career and one that I know will take me to new heights. To anyone considering a fellowship, you don’t have to work those tiny bottom-of-the-totem-pole jobs, MVJ can help you get your foot in the door of where you want to be. I’m so thankful I am a part of this community.” – Noelle Wiehe
Drew Lawrence, CNN
Drew is an Army veteran who is passionate about soldier and veteran mental health care. He is MVJ’s operations manager and podcast co-host of Sword & Pen. Drew has been placed with CNN, as part of their News Associate Program and Jake Tapper’s The Lead. He will be doing script writing, teleprompter operations, graphics, and research.
“Over the last month, I have had the honor of working with some of the best in media at CNN because of the MVJ Fellowship. The anchors, reporters, operations team and tech managers have all been incredibly welcoming and I’m grateful to learn from their collective expertise.” – Drew Lawrence
Melissa Martens, Philadelphia Magazine
U.S. Marine Corps veteran Melissa Martens has been placed with Philadelphia Magazine and will be producing digital content.
“I am feeling great about this fellowship opportunity and ready to hit the ground with Philly Magazine working with the digital marketing team on creating content for their blog and managing social media. For those considering the fellowship, it is a sure way to gain valuable experience, develop new skills, and push you outside your comfort zone to explore new opportunities.” – Melissa Martens
Brandon Wheeldon, Military Times
Brandon served in the U.S. Army as an infantryman. He is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists’ Student Leadership Cohort and is pursuing his Bachelors of Arts in Journalism with a minor in Anthropology. He has been placed with Military Times as a Military Editor Fellow.
“So far in my fellowship, I have been learning the ropes with social media layouts, site management regarding the data and stats for stories, social media management, story layout and writing, and reviewing stories posted to see how they’re performing. The fellowship has allowed me to learn how newsroom and social media works behind the scenes by using programs like socialflow, parse.ly, AP Newsroom, DVIDS, Sailthru, canva, and many other programs. The fellowship will help build a solid foundation for understanding the inner workings of the newsroom and the outside operations of the newsroom. MVJ has helped me tremendously grow as a journalism student and journalist.” – Brandon Wheeldon
The Newmark-Veterans in Journalism Fellowship Program
Tim Lenard, The Nevada Independent
Meet military veteran Tim Lenard, who is building the video department from scratch at The Nevada Independent.
“The flexibility of the MVJ fellowship is allowing me to take a chance on creating something that I desperately want to see in the world: local video news aimed at an internet audience. The project is ambitious and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t worried about how it will all turn out, but I’m humbled I was given the opportunity to try. If you have a desire to see something and the work ethic to make it happen, the MVJ fellowship is a fantastic opportunity.” – Tim Lenard
Alonzo Clark, CNN
Alonzo is an Army veteran who completed his bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communications. He’s since worked as a reporter, news anchor, illustrator, and photojournalist. Alonzo has been placed with CNN as part of their News Associate Program.
“My gratitude towards the Military Veterans in Journalism network is unmeasurable. It’s an exciting feeling to know my hard work is recognized as a good cause to work as a news associate at CNN.
So far, I’ve completed my third day as a fellow, and I’ve gained knowledge on how news production works on a national level. From learning several news softwares, setting up accounts, and meeting new faces, I can say my experience is bound to be a fun rollercoaster full of spontaneity. I am 100% confident the experience will lead me to a level of growth professionally and personally.” – Alonzo Clark
The Wyncote Foundation-Military Veterans in Journalism Fellowship program
Thomas Hengge, The Philadelphia Inquirer
Thomas is an Army veteran who has recently completed a Master of Arts in Journalism from NYU. He has done documentary photography and video journalism work, covering breaking news and producing long-form photography and video projects like his ongoing series “Left Behind,” documenting families in the aftermath of losing a loved one to COVID-19. Thomas was awarded a 2020 Editor and Publisher “EPPY” Award for best photojournalism for a college website. He has been placed with The Philadelphia Inquirer as a photographer.
“I am beyond grateful I was selected for the MVJ fellowship. It has given me a vehicle to do exactly what I want to do, and that is priceless. There aren’t a lot, if any, veteran specific resources in this industry, so to have MVJ in our corner is incredible. I think any veteran thinking of pursuing an MVJ fellowship for next year absolutely should. There is nothing to lose and everything to gain.” – Thomas Hengge
In addition to our funders, we would like to thank CNN, Philadelphia Magazine, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Nevada Independent, Military Times, and Coffee and Die Magazine for taking these vets in, and giving them a chance to jumpstart their careers in media.
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Open Letter from MVJ Executive Director Zack Baddorf
First of all, thank you.
Military Veterans in Journalism would be nothing without you — our members, our supporters, our teammates. We were honored that about 350 people showed up to attend our first annual convention. We’ve heard from many of you that you enjoyed hearing directly from Jake Tapper and Brianna Keilar at CNN, Jeff Jarvis at CUNY, Sara Shahiri at INN, and many others in the media world who shared their insight and knowledge with us. The DAV Career Fair and Knight Foundation Happy Hour were also big hits.
This convention was the culmination of about two years of work serving the veteran community. A range of news outlets, non-profit organizations, educational institutions and philanthropic organizations came together in a show of support (and sponsorship!) for our organization and our mission to get more vets in news. It was truly humbling to see the manifestation of our work on the virtual stage throughout our two-day convention.
My co-founder Russell Midori and I founded MVJ in 2019 thinking we’d basically meet up with some fellow vets in a bar and swap business cards. But the need is so much more than that. It’s been truly awe inspiring to see a range of partners step up to help support our community.
While the convention was going on, I was in Dallas taking part in the fifth and final session of the non-partisan George W. Bush Presidential Center’s Veteran Leadership Program. I was honored to have been selected for this program to hear from a variety of high-level professionals, educators, and experts in veteran and military family transition issues.
Throughout the program, I and the other veteran leaders met with President Bush and Mrs. Bush as well as retired U.S. Marine Corps general Jim Mattis and Deborah Birx. Hearing from a range of speakers and from my fellow vets left me inspired to do more for the MVJ community.
We’ve accomplished a lot in these past few years and we have much more on the horizon. I am truly grateful for the Bush Center’s belief in me — which, more than anything, is about their belief in Military Veterans in Journalism.
My biggest takeaway from the leadership program was realizing just how much we can accomplish together. Our convention — the first of many to come — demonstrated that to me in action. Seeing all of our amazing partners share their knowledge and unite behind our cause made me immensely proud to be part of this organization.
Again, thank you. Together, we are growing our community and creating opportunities for our members. Our shared energy and focus will help us accomplish our mission of getting more vets in news.
Executive Director, Military Veterans in Journalism
Two military veterans will be awarded nine-month fellowships in nonprofit newsrooms after graduating with master’s degrees in journalism from the City University of New York (CUNY), thanks to a grant awarded by Craig Newmark Philanthropies.
The Newmark Veterans in Journalism Fellowship Program is a partnership between Military Veterans in Journalism (MVJ), the Institute for Nonprofit News (INN), and the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY.
MVJ and Newmark J-School will recruit veterans to attend the school’s 16-month M.A. in Journalism, M.A. in Engagement Journalism or M.A. in Journalism with a bilingual concentration.
The veterans will be hired by newsrooms that are members of INN — a national network of nonprofit, nonpartisan news organizations. The fellowships will allow these individuals to build portfolios of journalistic work and form a network of peers.
Applications for the program open in the Fall of 2021, and those veterans selected will start attending the program starting in the Fall of 2022.
Any veteran that wishes to apply for this Fellowship, please fill the form to send your inquiry. You can use the following link:
Military Veterans in Journalism is a professional association that builds community for vets, supports their career growth, and advocates for diversifying newsrooms through hiring and promoting more vets. Learn more at www.mvj.network
About the Institute for Nonprofit News
The Institute for Nonprofit News strengthens and supports 300 independent news organizations in a new kind of media network: nonprofit, nonpartisan and dedicated to public service. From local news to in-depth reporting on pressing global issues, INN’s members tell stories that otherwise would go untold – connecting communities, holding the powerful accountable and strengthening democracy. Learn more at inn.org.
About the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY
The Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY, founded in 2006, has become nationally recognized for its innovative programs. The only public graduate journalism school in the northeastern U.S., it prepares students from diverse economic, racial, and cultural backgrounds to produce high-quality journalism. As the profession rapidly reinvents itself for the digital age, the Newmark J-School is at the forefront of equipping the next generation of journalists with the tools to find stories and tell them effectively – using print, broadcast, visual, interactive, and social media. The school offers two master’s degree programs: a Master of Arts in Journalism and the nation’s first M.A. in Engagement Journalism. We also feature an M.A. in Journalism with a unique bilingual (Spanish and English) component. All of our master’s degree programs include a paid summer internship.
Think “investigative” was the mission that award-winning reporter Chris Halsne gave to veterans and troops working or interested in journalism.
Halsne, a professor at American University, provided the advice in a webinar in the final hour of the Military Veterans in Journalism’s inaugural convention on Oct. 21.
The investigative journalist spoke to attendees about how to acquire government-held public records, the kind of evidence that is the bread and butter of investigative journalism.
“In 30-plus years running broadcast investigative news,” Halsne said, “I can’t think of many blockbuster, award-winning stories that changed laws and how the community saw certain things that didn’t start with a good public records request.”
Conducting investigations is different from reporting breaking news, said Halsne, who managed special-projects units in Seattle, Denver, and Oklahoma City and has won three National Press Club awards.
If there were to be a disaster, a breaking news reporter would report on the events of the day, but investigative reports get to take a step back and take a look at the larger picture and take accountability for who was at fault. “Were there any warning signs to prevent what happened?” Halsne said.
Halsne shared the results of his investigation on how bullet-proof vests worn by police failed to protect their wearers. During three decades in television, he also completed investigations across different subjects such as the collateral damage of a government program to poison booby traps to kill coyotes, and the dark side of sports.
“Investigative reporters are vacuum cleaners,” Halsne said. “You gather what’s there; nine times out of ten, it’s nothing. The one time it is, you dig your teeth into it.”
Attendees of the online webinar included veterans and servicemembers at various levels of experience in journalism. Allison Erickson, a writer and a former Army officer, said she joined the webinar for industry insight on how investigative reporters are used in the newsroom.
“When do you run or request reports? Is it clockwork?” were questions she said she was interested in.
Halsne said he regularly requests information from the various levels of government and has probably filed about 10,000 queries. He also shared his tips about the correct time to speak to an organization about an investigation that’s being done on them, how to handle hostile public information officers, and how to structure Freedom of Information Act requests.
“It’s super helpful to better understand the processes for records requests,” said Dan Lyons, a photo editor at Chalkbeat, a nonprofit newsroom that focuses on education. He said he also thought it was helpful to learn tips like using official letterheads for FOIA requests to give them more legitimacy.
The webinar capped off the inaugural MVJ convention. The two-day event included videos and panels by Jake Tapper and Brianna Marie Keilar from CNN, Kelly Kennedy from the War Horse, Xanthe Scharff from the Fuller Project, and Paul Szoldra from Task and Purpose.
Journalists learned to use the latest digital resources from the Google News Initiative during the MVJ 2021 Convention. Mary Nahorniak, teaching fellow with the Google News Lab program, highlighted search modification, viewing, and support tools.
Google News Lab, with its mission to “to collaborate with journalists and entrepreneurs to drive innovation in news,” uses the Alphabet Inc. subsidary’s behemoth search, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning technologies to power a resource platform packed with relevant news industry research tools. “All the tools are free, all the trainings are free. This is Google’s effort to support and connect with journalists,” Nahorniak said.
Nahorniak covered five specialized search engines: Google Scholar, Dataset Search, Public Data, The Common Knowledge Project, and Fact Check Explore. For each tool, Nahnorniak framed the tool’s specific usefulness in the process of story development or refinement.
For example, she described Google Scholar as a great place to begin background research, as the tool essentially searches through two sets of material. The results usually return a starting point to find experts with nuanced perspectives on topics.
With Public Data, researchers can search for existing datasets from other organizations and begin to grasp the larger picture of a story.
““Every data point is a story. These are all people behind this,” Nahorniak said, referencing a graphic comparing two data sets. “[When you are] starting to wrap your arms around a concept, this a great place to do it from a data perspective…I love that site for a little bit of backgrounding.”
She demonstrated advanced search tools like searching a specific file type intended to help save researchers time and effort. Stars and Stripes Middle East Reporter J.P. Lawrence said, “I’m most interested in using Google to find military powerpoints used in training. I know a lot of data is conveyed via powerpoints.”
Nahorniak taught attendees to use Fact Check Explore to get a sense for information being shared in an area. In the cases of misinformation, journalists may feel compelled to write a clarification for the record, and Fact Check Explore helps winnow the wheat from the chaff.
Nahorniak also trained the group on Pinpoint, a tool for identifying information buried in a document or set of documents. The tool includes an audio transcription service reporters can use to convert audio from interviews into searchable text.
““Let the tool do the heavy lifting so that you can spend your time and energy on the things that only you can do, writing, creating, interviewing, searching for stories, searching for angles,” Nahorniak said.
After a hands-on demonstration with the Google Earth Timelapse feature, which Nahorniak described as adding the fourth dimension of time to data, participants came away with ideas to grab military-adjacent visual shapers. One participant suggested using the tool to view growth around military bases over time.
The tools are free and accessible both through the Google News Initiative Training Center and through other resources shared by Nahorniak. Reporters will need to request access to Pinpoint.