Searching for Truth: When Media and Military Come Together

2024 Veterans Clinic Symposium

The 2024 Veterans Clinic Symposium, "Searching for Truth: When Media and Military Come Together" is co-hosted by the Reynolds Journalism Institute at the University of Missouri. The symposium will be offered in-person and virtually. Register for free on the Registration tab. If you indicate that you would like to attend virtually, you will receive an email with a link to the livestream in the days leading up to the symposium.

April 19


About the Symposium

This symposium will offer an opportunity to hear both from first-hand participants and experts on some of the most challenging issues at the intersection of the media and the military including critical information about whistleblowers, war crimes evidence, and mental health. The keynote speaker will be a photojournalist who has been documenting the Israeli-Hamas War. Attendees will leave the day-long event with a well-rounded perspective and some timely knowledge about these important issues that profoundly impact journalists, service members, and veterans. CLE credit will be available.

About the Veterans Clinic

Students in the University of Missouri School of Law Veterans Clinic help veterans and their families secure disability-related benefits. Student work is primarily focused on veterans benefits cases, as well as discharge upgrades.

Since its inception in 2014, the clinic has provided guidance to over 1300 veterans and family members. Each semester, Professor Drake oversees the work of 16 or more students, as they review veterans’ military records and disability files, track down witness statements and work with doctors to secure medical opinions.

The clinic is run like a law firm, providing Mizzou Law students with an experience designed to prepare them for the practice of law while securing retroactive monetary benefits for our nation’s veterans. To date, the clinic has recovered in excess of 12.5 million dollars for its clients.

If you have questions, please contact the Mizzou Law Veterans Clinic at 573-882-7630 or email

About the Reynolds Journalism Institute

The Donald W. Reynolds Institute (RJI) was launched in 2004 with a grant of $31 million from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation. In conjunction with the centennial celebration of the Missouri School of Journalism, RJI’s headquarters were opened in September 2008.

Our 50,000 square-foot facility on the University of Missouri campus has state-of-the-art resources to test and implement new technologies, experiment with new approaches to producing, designing and delivering news, information and advertising – and to host conferences, training and workshops for journalists. RJI’s work crosses diverse specialties within journalism, including editorial content and methods, the evolution of advertising, innovation in management and the impact of new technologies. It also includes varied fields on campus such as law, computer science, marketing, education and other disciplines. In 2012, the Foundation awarded RJI a $30.1 million endowment gift to guarantee permanent funding to pursue innovation, collaboration and research in media industries.


Registration for the symposium is free, but required. Registration closes on Friday, April 5. Please click this button to register:

Symposium Registration


Friday, April 19, 2024

MU Veterans Clinic Symposium

Searching for Truth:When Media and Military Come Together

Smith Forum, Reynolds Journalism Institute


9:00-9:30 a.m. Opening Remarks

Paul Litton, Dean of the Law School

David Kurpius, Dean of Journalism School

10:00-11:00 a.m. Keynote Speaker

Reflections on Covering/Capturing War and its Impact on Service Members and Journalists 

Marcus Yam, Los Angeles Times

11:00 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Ethics CLE Credit (1.25 hours)

Staying healthy as a professional when those you work with are morally injured and impaired.

12:15-12:45 p.m. Break

Lunch break at RJI

1:00-2:30 p.m. Whistle Blowers Panel 

Breaking the story


Dan Clare, PAO

Kelly Kennedy, War Horse Journalist

Mia Marzotto, Signals Network

Moderator: Joanna Trachtenberg

2:30-4:00 p.m. Journalist /Media: Proving Up a War Crimes Case 

Brent Filbert, attorney 

BGen John Baker, USMC 

Natalia Gumenyuk, journalist with The Reckoning Project

Aric Toler, reporter for the New York Times Visual Investigation team   

4:00 p.m. Closing Remarks

Brent Filbert, Director of The Veterans Law Clinic 

Program Overview

Program Overview forthcoming


Kelly Kennedy

Author, Journalist and Veteran

Kennedy served in the U.S. Army from 1987 to 1993, including tours in the Middle East during Desert Storm, and in Mogadishu, Somalia. She is the co-author, with Adam Gamal, of The Unit: My Life Fighting Terrorists as One of America’s Most-Secret Military Operatives  She is the former managing editor of The War Horse, and has worked as a health policy reporter for USA TODAY, spent five years covering military health at Military Times, and is the author of “They Fought for Each Other: The Triumph and Tragedy of the Hardest Hit Unit in Iraq,” and the co-author of  “Queen of Cuba” with Pete Lapp and “Fight Like a Girl: The Truth About How Female Marines are Trained,” with Kate Germano.

As a journalist, she has been embedded in both Iraq and Afghanistan, and in 2008, she broke the story about the burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan. Her reporting ultimately led to benefits for potentially hundreds of thousands of veterans. She is the only American woman who has both served in combat and covered it as a civilian journalist, and she is the first female president of Military Reporters and Editors. In her spare time, she dances ballet and completely loses her military bearing.

Aric Toler


Toler is a reporter on the Visual Investigations team at The New York Times. Before joining The Times in 2023, Aric was the director of research and training at Bellingcat, a Netherlands-based open source reporting organization. Through nine years at Bellingcat, he was involved with investigations that revealed Russian espionage activities in Europe and the United States, including pieces on the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury, England. His work has exposed online personas operated by Russian military intelligence officers and war crimes carried out by Russian forces in Ukraine. 

He has a master’s degree in Slavic languages and literature from the University of Kansas and lives in Kansas City.

Marcus Yam

Correspondent and Photographer 

Yam is a roving Los Angeles Times foreign correspondent and staff photographer. Born and raised in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, he left a career in aerospace engineering to become a photographer. His goal: to take viewers to the frontlines of conflict, struggle and intimacy. His approach is deeply rooted in curiosity, dignity and persistence.

In 2022, Yam won the Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Photography for images documenting the U.S. departure from Afghanistan that capture the human cost of the historic change in the country. Most recently, he was named the 2023 Robert Capa Gold Medal Winner for his stirring photographic coverage of the war in Ukraine. Yam is a two-time recipient of the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Journalism Award, notably in 2019, for his unflinching body of work showing the everyday plight of Gazans during deadly clashes in the Gaza Strip. He was also part of two Pulitzer Prize-winning breaking news teams that covered the San Bernardino, Calif., terrorist attacks in 2015 for the Los Angeles Times and the deadly landslide in Oso, Wash. in 2014 for the Seattle Times.

His previous work has also earned an Emmy Award for News and Documentary, World Press Photo Award, DART Award for Trauma Coverage, Scripps Howard Visual Journalism Award, Picture of the Year International’s Newspaper Photographer of the Year Award, Society of Professional Journalists’ Sigma Delta Chi Award, National Headliner Award and an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award. When he’s not working, Yam likes minimizing and organizing his life for efficiency and for emergencies.

a photo of brent filbertBrent Filbert

Director and Supervising Attorney of the Veterans Clinic, University of Missouri School of Law

Brent Filbert is the Director of The Veterans Clinic at the University of Missouri School of Law. He also teaches Military Law and Law of Armed Conflict. He has spent the last 35 years serving as an attorney in the military and in private practice. He served as Appellate Defense Counsel and Judge for the Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals.

He also served as a prosecutor and defense counsel in military criminal trials and as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney. Additionally, Prof. Filbert was the Director of Military Law at Veteran Advocacy Project, practiced as litigation counsel for Hughes, Hubbard & Reed, and was a Partner at Shook, Hardy & Bacon as a litigation attorney on product liability and toxic tort cases.

Brent is an undergrad alum of Mizzou (with honors) and received his JD (with distinction) at UMKC. He is also a distinguished graduate of the Naval War College – College of Naval Command and Staff and has an LLM in Trial Advocacy from Temple University School of Law. Prof. Filbert joined the Veterans Clinic out of his desire to train law students on how to successfully represent clients by assisting veterans on critical legal issues.


With special thanks to the Dale Spencer Free Press Endowment at RJI. Professor Spencer earned his law degree from the University of Missouri School of Law and also graduated from and taught at the University of Missouri School of Journalism.