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MVJ Speakers Bureau for 2022

By March 11, 2022May 4th, 2022News

The MVJ Speakers Bureau brings together a group of leaders in military veterans in journalism to advocate for better, more nuanced reporting on disabled military veterans and to share best practices with newsrooms across the nation. 

We would like to thank the Ford Foundation for their generous support. With their help we were able to launch a disability inclusion initiative to create conversations and reporting within American newsrooms about military veteran issues, with a focus on disabled veterans. 

We have selected 11 veterans for our speakers bureau this year. They will be provided with training on best practices in disability reporting by Disabled American Veterans, the  Disability Media Alliance Project, and reporter Wendy Lu, who covers disability. After being trained, the veterans will lead their own training and presentations at local newsrooms in the veterans’ communities.

Please, meet MVJ’s 2022 Speakers Bureau Selectees:

Ben Brody

Ben Brody is an independent photographer, educator, and picture editor working on long-form projects related to the American wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and their aftermath. He is the Director of Photography for The GroundTruth Project and Report for America, and a co-founder of Mass Books.
His first book, Attention Servicemember, was shortlisted for the Aperture – Paris Photo First Book Award in 2019. His latest book, 300m, will be released in Spring 2022. Ben holds an MFA from Hartford Art School’s International Low-Residency Photography program. He resides in western Massachusetts.

Caron LeNoir

Caron LeNoir is an American journalist, producer, artist, and activist. The founder of CARONISMedia Group, CARONISM Audio Network, and The Center for Sensual Arts examines life, sexual politics, faith, and power dynamics in the arts and entertainment. A formerly homeless disabled veteran, Caron honorably served in both the US Navy and Army. Her experience informs her advocacy for the diverse voices of women, women veterans, and mental health.

Donna L. Cole

Donna L. Cole is an award-winning multimedia and investigative journalist, based in Annapolis, Md. She’s worked in print, online and broadcasting media. The professional work Donna is most proud of has been her multi-year investigative reporting about the deliberate poisoning of bald eagles on the Delmarva Peninsula. This reporting resulted in global media attention about the issue and garnered numerous journalism awards. Donna is a veteran of the U.S. Navy, mom and breast cancer survivor. She’s also a raptor rescuer, responding to eagles, owls, hawks, falcons and vultures in Maryland that require medical assistance. In her spare time, Donna enjoys wildlife photography. 

Genaro J. Prieto

Genaro J. Prieto is a combat veteran that served over eight years on active duty as an Army Engineer Officer. He possesses a comprehensive background in project management and supervision, training and development of team members, and community relations working in both the private and public sectors. Currently, a Journalism student at Sam Houston State University while holding local positions within the Military Order of the Purple Heart and Combat Wounded of Texas. Previously earned a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Webster University in 2012 and a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Sam Houston State University in 2007. 

J.P. Lawrence

J.P. Lawrence reports on the U.S. military in Afghanistan and the Middle East. He served in the U.S. Army from 2008 to 2017. He graduated from Columbia Journalism School and Bard College and is a first-generation immigrant from the Philippines.

Jimmy White IV

Jimmy White IV is a South Philadelphia native and Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran who served in the US Navy as a nuclear electrician aboard the submarine USS Montpelier. He is a husband, father of 3 boys, minister, and currently serves as the Director of Engineering for Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia at the Comcast Center. As a passionate, professional speaker, Jimmy presents to audiences on the topics of character, leadership and personal/professional growth through his company, Jimmy White Speaks LLC. With the creation of his second company, Inner City Sustainable Solutions LLC, he endeavors to promote environmental and financial sustainability in urban communities through green affordable housing construction. Jimmy is a national award winning youth/veteran advocate, a TEDx speaker, a Leadership Philadelphia alumnus, and a GW Bush Center Presidential scholar.

Joel Searls

Joel’s civilian profession in journalism includes covering Military and Entertainment related stories for USC Annenberg and for We Are The Mighty. He continues his service in the Marine Corps Reserves as Major in the Communication Strategy and Operations occupational field with I MEF at Camp Pendleton. His fifteen years in the Corps includes service across the US and a deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. He is a graduate of the Ohio State University.

Kerri Jeter

Kerri Jeter, Founder of Freedom Sisters Media served in the U.S. Army for 12-years, starting as a Private First Class and exiting as a senior Captain. Kerri and her team of writeHERs promise to share women directed stories and embodied experiences in and out of the uniform with our community through audio, digital media, film, publications, social media, events and in real life.Kerri won the prestigious title Ms. Veteran America 2015, advocating for her Sisters-in-Arms that had fallen on hard times. She has since advocated for military sexual trauma survivors and military veterans with disabilities. Kerri is a mom of five, one of whom has special needs and wife to a 26-year Army Veteran. Together her family embraces mental and spiritual wellness overcoming the challenges of military-connected disabilities and other hurdles in life. 

Raychel K. Young-Porter

Raychel started her full-time career as a combat photojournalist in 2017 with her graduation at the Defense School of Information in Maryland. In 2019, she attended the Eddie Adams Workshop and was awarded the Colton Family Award. In 2020 she was awarded 1st place for Combat Training Documentation for the Military Visual Awards. In 2022, one of her images documenting mountain warfare training was placed in the National Museum of the Marine Corps as a part of a new exhibit displaying the best 30 to images of the year.

Russell Midori

Russell Midori is a photojournalist and documentary producer based in New York. He served in the Marine Corps from 2008-2012 and holds a masters degree in Investigative Journalism from Columbia University. He serves as president of Military Veterans in Journalism and the MVJ Mentorship Program administrator. 

Scott D. Bourque

Scott Bourque is an award-winning journalist who specializes in long form storytelling. He is passionate about issues of military/veterans affairs, economic equality, and housing and urban development. He is also an adjunct professor of journalism at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. He is a graduate of Northern Arizona University and Arizona State University, and served in the U.S. Navy from 2009 to 2014, completing a deployment to Afghanistan in 2013.