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


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


9:30-10:00 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. Staying Mentally Healthy in Challenging Circumstances

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


Randal Rogers, VA psychologist 

BGen John Baker, USMC Teodora Trifonova PHD candidate at J School 

Moderator: Katie Becker

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

Lunch break at RJI

1:00-2:30 p.m. The Important Role of Whistleblowers  

Breaking the story


Dan Clare, PAO

Kelly Kennedy, War Horse Journalist

Sarah Gamard, Signals Network

Moderator: Joanna Trachtenberg

Mary Inman, Whistleblower Partners 

2:30-4:00 p.m. Investigating War Crimes


BGen John Baker 

Oleksiy Radynski, Journalist with The Reckoning Project 

Aric Toler, New York Times Reporter for the Visual Investigation Team   

4:00 p.m. Closing Remarks

Brent Filbert, Director of The Veterans Law Clinic 

This symposium has been approved for 5.1 CLE hours, with 3.3 hours approved for Ethics credit by the Missouri Bar. 

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.

Filbert 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.

John Baker

Public Defender and Retired Marine

John Baker is the Federal Public Defender for the Western District of North Carolina. In 2021, Baker retired from the Marine Corps with the rank of brigadier general. During his 32 years with the Marines, Baker held a variety of leadership and litigation positions and participated in several hundred criminal trials, including capital and non-capital murder. Before becoming an attorney, he was a supply and logistics officer and a company commander. 

 In his last assignment with the Marines, he served as the Chief Defense Counsel for the Military Commissions Defense Organization who represent the detainees charged at Guantanamo Bay.  These cases, which include six capital cases involving the 9/11 and USS Cole attacks, are among the largest and most complex criminal cases tried in U.S. history.   

Baker is a Distinguished Fellow for the National Institute of Military Justice, serves as a Board Member for the Center for Ethics and the Rule of Law, and is a faculty member for the National College of Capital Voir Dire.     

 Baker is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law (J.D), Averett University (M.B.A.), and Union College (B.S).  He also holds a Master of Laws from The Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School, U.S. Army (LLM).   

Mary Inman


Mary Inman, a partner in Constantine Cannon’s San Francisco office, heads the firm’s International Whistleblower practice. She specializes in representing whistleblowers worldwide under the US whistleblower reward programs, including the SEC, CFTC, IRS, DOT and FinCEN/OFAC programs. Inman’s successful efforts to export the US whistleblower programs to the UK were featured in the New York Timesand her successful representation of three healthcare whistleblowers and the personal toll whistleblowing exacted from these clients was featured in theNewYorker.  

Inman represents renowned SEC whistleblower Tyler Shultzwho exposed the infamous Silicon Valley blood-testing start-up Theranos, and Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen and regularlyspeakson lessons to be learned from these scandals.  Mary is a regular commentator on whistleblower matters for the Financial Times, BBC, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Reuters and Fortune.   



Sarah Gamard

Communications Manager

Sarah Gamard is the Communications Manager at The Signals Network. Sarah is a New Orleans native and a graduate of Louisiana State University. Before joining The Signals Network in 2022, she spent five years as a political journalist for several national and local publications in Louisiana, Maryland, Delaware and D.C.

Most recently, she was the Delaware government watchdog reporter for the USA Today Network before taking a seven-month hiatus to thru-hike the 2,202-mile Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine. 

Oleksiy Radynsk

Filmmaker and Writer

Oleksiy Radynski is a filmmaker and writer based in Kyiv. His films have been screened at film festivals and in exhibition contexts worldwide, including the International Film Festival Rotterdam, Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen, the Institute of Contemporary Arts (London), e-flux (New York), Docudays (Kyiv), Sheffield Doc Fest, Krakow IFF, DOK Leipzig, etc.  

 His documentary Chornobyl 22 won the Grand Prix at Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen in 2023. His texts had been published in The Atlantic, e-flux journal, and Die Tageszeitung, among others. As part of the Reckoning Project, he researches Russian war crimes such as nuclear terrorism and environmental warfare. 

Randall Rogers

Clinical Health Psychologist

Randall Rogers is a Clinical Health Psychologist and the Local Recovery Coordinator (LRC) at the Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans’ Hospital in Columbia, Missouri.  As the LRC, he helps promote a “recovery-oriented” approach to health care, which emphasizes the inclusion of each individual’s values, preferences and goals in treatment planning. He completed a Ph.D. in Clinical Health Psychology from the University of North Texas in 2005. His predoctoral internship was in health psychology at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Michigan and he completed a three-year postdoctoral fellowship in behavioral pharmacology with a substance abuse treatment emphasis at the University of Vermont.    

In 2008, he was hired as the Team Leader of the Addictions Treatment Program at the Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans’ hospital in Columbia, MO and in 2017 Dr. Rogers moved into the role of Local Recovery Coordinator. He enjoys working with Truman VA staff and community partners to develop and coordinate recovery-oriented services for Veterans.

Dan Clare

Chief Communications and Outreach Officer DAV (Disabled American Veterans)

Dan Clare, a Marine veteran of the Persian Gulf era and an Air Force veteran of the war in Iraq, was appointed chief communications and outreach officer for the more than 1 million-member DAV in August 2019.  

Clare first joined DAV’s professional staff in November 2004 as senior communications specialist at the organization’s national headquarters.  

In his position, Clare provides strategic direction and oversight of DAV’s overarching communications, branding and reputation management efforts and DAV’s entrepreneurship program Patriot Boot Camp. Prior to his appointment, Clare served as the national communications director. He is responsible for improving outreach support and DAV’s ability to serve and empower members and leaders in the field.  

Clare enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1994 and graduated from the Defense Information School, Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana. He was stationed at Marine Corps Air Station at El Toro, California, where he served as a journalist, and later at American Forces Network, Okinawa, Japan. He was named the Marine Feature Broadcaster of the Year in 1997.  

He joined the California Air National Guard in 2001 and supported the airlift of Federal Emergency Management Agency teams to McGuire Air Force Base, New Jersey, on 9/11. In 2007, he was activated and deployed to Balad Air Base, Iraq. While directing news production and helping manage media relations there, he leaked information about burn pits to the media through DAV. Clare was named the Air National Guard Print Journalist of the Year for 2007 for coverage of the hospital and combat in Iraq.  

His military awards include the Air Force Commendation Medal (with two oak leaf clusters), Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Air Force Achievement Medal (with two oak leaf clusters), Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Service Medal and the Iraq Campaign Medal. He represents DAV on the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Advisory Committee on Veterans Business Affairs, where he chairs the subcommittee on subcontracting. He is a past president and board member for the U.S. Marine Corps Combat Correspondents Association.  

Teodora Trifonova

Doctoral Student and Journalist

Teodora Trifonova is a doctoral student, and a research and teaching assistant at the School of Journalism, University of Missouri-Columbia. 

She studies global media from a qualitative perspective, focusing on the cultural labor of foreign correspondents. Her other area of research is focused on media systems and press freedom in Eastern-Central Europe. Trifonova has been studying the roles and professional practices of foreign correspondents from East-Central European countries covering the war in Ukraine. For that study, Trifonova and Dr. Joy Jenkins, an assistant professor at the J School were awarded the highly competitive Collaborative Scholars Grant by the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) in 2022. Trifonova is exploring the labor of Ukrainian fixers who are helping international media teams cover the war in Ukraine. She is also studying the safety, and war trauma among both foreign correspondents and Ukrainian fixers.  

Trifonova has been a senior broadcast journalist and foreign correspondent for more than 14 years for bTV Media, the leading TV network in Bulgaria, covering major international stories from Europe and the U.S. such as the US Presidential Elections in 2020, and 2016. Back in 2021, she was a fellow for the foreign desks of both the PBS News Hour and Axios, based in Washington D.C. Trifonova is a Fulbright, Hubert H. Humphrey alumni, she studied at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University in 2020-2021. 

Joanna Trachtenberg

Civil Rights Lawyer  

Joanna is a founding partner of TGH Litigation, a civil rights and employment law firm in Columbia, Missouri. At TGH, Joanna represents employees in whistleblower actions, employment discrimination matters, and plaintiffs in civil rights cases. Joanna has litigated cases throughout Missouri in state and federal court. She also represents university students and employees in university proceedings such as research misconduct, Title IX and other equity investigations, and student accountability matters. 

Before forming TGH Litigation, Joanna served as the Chief Counsel of the Medicaid Provider Fraud Division of the Missouri Attorney General’s Office. In that role, she oversaw criminal and civil prosecutions for Medicaid fraud and patient abuse. Many of those cases came to light because of a whistleblower reporting fraud to the Division. 

Prior to working in the Medicaid Provider Fraud Division, Joanna was a Team Leader in the Civil Litigation Division of the Missouri Attorney General’s Office. There, she defended the state in all types of civil litigation including employment discrimination, civil rights cases, constitutional challenges, and contract disputes. 

Before joining the Attorney General’s Office, Joanna was a litigation associate at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton, and Garrison, LLP in New York City. There, she worked on securities fraud, white collar criminal defense, and wage and hour litigation. 

In addition to her work as a lawyer, Joanna serves on the Missouri Bar Association and Missouri Supreme Court’s Joint Commission on Women in the Legal Profession. Joanna is also an arbitrator for employment and consumer arbitration matters through the American Arbitration Association (AAA) and securities matters through FINRA. Joanna has also served as a mediator for employment cases. 

Katie Becker


Katie M. Becker is an incoming staff attorney for the Veterans Clinic at the University of Missouri School of Law.  

She currently serves as the staff attorney for the Veterans Legal Clinic at the University of Georgia School of Law.  In this role, she supervises students and manages an active caseload assisting veterans and their dependents with obtaining benefits they have earned through service to our country, primarily before the U. S. Department of Veterans Affairs.  

Becker previously worked as an associate appellate attorney with Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick in Providence, RI. She specialized in cases pending before the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.  She also interned with the Veterans’ Consortium Pro Bono Program in Washington, D.C. 

Becker earned her law degree magna cum laude from Syracuse University ​College of Law, where she served as an executive editor of the Syracuse Law Review, was inducted into the Order of the Coif and served for four semesters as a student attorney in the school’s Veterans Legal Clinic.    


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.