Dear Berkeley Journalism Community,
Today, as we celebrate Veterans Day, honoring the contributions of the millions of people who have served in the Armed Forces of the United States, we also acknowledge the lack of diversity of military veterans in journalism.
While veterans comprise 7 percent of Americans, they are dramatically underrepresented among journalists, comprising less than 2 percent of media workers, according to Military Veterans in Journalism.
As we work together at Berkeley Journalism to change the face of journalism, we must focus on including more military veterans in our profession. Today we recommit ourselves to actively recruiting more veterans into our school and our industry.
Veterans Day was originally conceived as Armistice Day to commemorate the end of World War I–believed to be the “war to end all wars.” It was extended to honor all veterans in 1954.
President Biden recently proclaimed the entire month of November 2021 as National Veterans and Military Families Month, in recognition of the sacrifices made not just by veterans, but also their spouses, partners, children, caregivers and the survivors of current and former service members.
“We recognize and thank them for their indispensable contributions and immeasurable sacrifices in support of our national security,” President Biden said, and called upon the people of the United States to honor veterans and military families with appropriate ceremonies and activities.
Here at Berkeley Journalism, we know that understanding the lived experiences of veterans is critical to responsible journalism–and a just and fair democracy. This is particularly important as we celebrate the end of two decades of continuous war in Iraq and Afghanistan, and reflect on the innumerable smaller conflicts our elected leaders have deemed critical to national security.
We need more veterans in the media to ensure that the stories of the military experience are accurately told to Americans, many of whom have had little interaction with the American Armed Forces. More veterans in the media would infuse public debate about whether to engage in new wars and how to protect vital U.S. interests with a far deeper understanding of the human sacrifices involved in the use of military force.
As we honor our veterans on this day and this month, take time to understand the military experience a little better by listening to this NPR podcast Rough Translation. And join me in re-committing this school to doing everything in its power to ensure that the lived experiences of veterans form a vital part of the journalism industry.
In solidarity with our military veterans,
Dean and Professor
Robert A. Peck Chair
June 15, 2023
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