Team

Military Veterans in Journalism was founded in 2019 by U.S. Marine Corps veteran Russell Midori and U.S. Navy veteran Zack Baddorf.

Zack Baddorf

Executive Director / Founder

I’m a journalist and filmmaker with more than 15 years of experience producing award-winning stories from more than 30 countries, including Syria, Iraq, Ukraine, Afghanistan, Pakistan, the West Bank, and Kashmir, as well as rebel-held territory in Sri Lanka and Burma.

My work has been published by the New York Times, Washington Post, BBC, Reuters, AP, The Guardian, CBS, ABC, NPR, the Wall Street Journal, Christian Science Monitor, Newsweek, VICE, RYOT, Al Jazeera English, and other publications in video, radio, photo, and print formats. My videos on social media alone have more than 30 million views.

While based in the Central African Republic, I broke the news of the American military ending its mission against the Lord’s Resistance Army. My in-depth reporting on the Syrian town of Moadamiyah contributed to humanitarian access being granted to besieged people there. Weeks before Russian troops invaded Crimea, my reporting from the peninsula highlighted its political importance in the conflict.

I worked as director of video for the International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism, crafting anti-ISIS videos. For a year in Afghanistan, I worked on rural, remote bases for the U.S. Special Operations Command as a civilian videographer, alongside Green Berets, Navy SEALs and Afghan security forces.

I have also worked as an adjunct professor at New York University and New York Film Academy, teaching public relations and broadcast journalism. I've got a master of fine arts degree in documentary studies, a master of arts degree in international relations, another master’s in public relations and a bachelor's in journalism.

Email me at [email protected] .

Russell Midori

President / Founder

Russell Midori spends his days driving a news truck around New York City - shooting and editing stories for broadcast on WPIX Channel 11 - and his nights connecting veterans with journalism mentors. He is an Overseas Press Club Foundation board member, a frequent guest lecturer at colleges and universities, and he volunteers as an alumni mentor for students in the Brooklyn College Radio and Television department.

He has produced prime-time documentaries, features, and breaking news for CBS News in Iraq, Kurdistan, Korea, India, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, and all around the U.S. He worked as a cinematographer and researcher for VICE News on HBO, and he has produced independent investigative documentaries in Haiti, Standing Rock, and New York City.

Midori used the post-9/11 GI Bill to earn a master’s degree in investigative journalism from Columbia University, and is the recipient of an Emmy award, an Overseas Press Club Foundation award, and a Mark of Excellence Award from the Society of Professional Journalists.

He served on active-duty in the Marine Corps from 2008 - 2012, and was twice named an honor graduate of courses at the Defense Information School. During his enlistment he held the rank of sergeant and served as the NCOIC of the Parris Island Public Affairs Office. In 2014 he did a six-month tour at Marine Forces Europe and Africa as a reservist, working as the director of photography and editor for Marine Corps video content shot across both continents.

Babee Garcia

Director of Digital Strategy and Content

Babee Garcia is an award-winning multimedia journalist with experience in print, digital, and broadcast television reporting. She has covered a wide range of stories involving LGBTQ+ rights, politics, body image acceptance, and military-related issues.

She used the post 9/11 GI Bill to earn a bachelor's degree in journalism at Montclair State University and completed the certificate program at the Connecticut School of Broadcasting in Hasbrouck Heights, NJ. After graduating from college, she was the Digital and Press Assistant for Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11) for one year. She recently made the move to Charlottesville, VA to become a News Producer for CBS 19 News.

During spring break 2018, she traveled to Puerto Rico with student and faculty journalists to document recovery efforts after Hurricane Maria impacted the island. Her mini-documentary "Meals with Love" was featured for the special half-hour edition of "Montclair News Lab: Hurricane Recovery Mission to Puerto Rico." She and her team earned prestigious awards, including a collegiate Emmy from the Television Academy Foundation, Bricker Humanitarian Award, and a student Edward R. Murrow Award for Excellence in Video Reporting from the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA).

Babee served on active-duty in the Marine Corps from 2013- 2016 as an Aviation Supply Specialist in MCAS New River, NC.

Rich Dolan

Webmaster

Rich Dolan is a former U.S. Army infantry officer who served on active duty for just over six years. During that time he served in various leadership positions and deployed twice to Afghanistan. Rich exited active duty and joined the National Guard in 2020 where he now serves as a Platoon Training Officer at New York State Officer Candidate School. Rakkasan!

Rich enjoys freelance writing and has been published in The Points Guy, Military Times, U.S. Veterans Magazine and the Maneuver Center of Excellence Donovan Research Library on a variety of topics.

Melia Summers

Team Member

Melia Summers is pursuing a Bachelor's of Arts in Political Science and Middle Eastern Studies with a minor in Arabic at New York University’s global scholars program in Abu Dhabi. She has been studying Arabic for the past six years. Her research focuses include: the role of private military contractors in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the security implications of the Belt Road Initiative; and the influence of Wahhabism on the Saudi-American military alliance.

Prior to working for MVJ, she interned for Hedayah Center of Excellence for Countering Violent Extremism in Abu Dhabi, U.A.E. where she supported the research behind the center’s countering and preventing violent extremism projects in Kenya and Singapore.

Post graduation, she aims to enlist in the U.S. Armed Services.

Clyde Gunter

Team Member

Clyde Gunter is a United States sailor turned multimedia journalist who is currently completing his studies in Documentary Filmmaking at The New York Film Academy. Clyde served on active duty in the United States Navy from 2013 - 2018 as an Operations Specialist. He initially served three years in Sasebo, Japan, where he deployed with two amphibious warfare ships as his department's career counselor. Then he concluded his final two years of service in San Diego, California on board the guided missile destroyer USS Decatur (DDG 73). During his enlistment, in a matter of two years, Clyde was promoted from the apprentice ranking of E1 to the supervisory ranking of E5 for his exemplary performance along with several recommendations from his senior officials. As a result of his tenacious work ethic paired with heavily-praised leadership abilities, he is a two-time recipient of The Navy & Marine Corps Achievement Medal (2016, 2017) as well as the Humanitarian Service Medal (2014).

Francisco Martínezcuello

Team Member

Francisco Martínezcuello will be a student at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism – Class of ’22. He was born in Santo Domingo, República Dominicana and raised on Long Island, New York. His passion for storytelling began as a teenager and continued throughout his 20 years of Marine Corps service. He serves as an editor and contributing writer to Panorama: The Journal of Intelligent Travel. He is an Into the Fire Writing Retreat Scholarship Recipient, a Virginia Center for the Creative Arts Fellow, and a contributing co-editor of the veteran anthology, Incoming: Sex, Drugs, and Copenhagen. Francisco has been published in Hobart Pulp, Construction Literary Magazine, The War Horse, Split Lip Magazine, River Teeth: Beautiful Things, Collateral Journal and the Dominican Writer’s Association. Publications and social media are posted on his website – www.themotorcyclewriter.com.

Brandon Wheeldon

MVJ Summer Intern

Brandon is an intern with Military Veterans in Journalism and an investigative reporter fellow with Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE). He served eight years in the United States Army as an Infantryman in a scout sniper section. He is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists Student Leadership Cohort and pursuing his Bachelors of Arts in Journalism with a minor in Anthropology.