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.