The media plays an integral part of our political process. In 2017, the following individuals led the way on reporting on VA and the veteran experience. Through their stories, the media has held public and government officials accountable for their actions and promises. The media has also enlightened the public on veterans’ issues and increased their understanding of the sacrifices made by those that chose to serve.

Leo Shane, Military Times

Leo Shane is an award-winning Military and Veterans Affairs reporter whose work has drawn national recognition from policy leaders, media peers, and troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, all of who rely on his insight as an objective voice on issues affecting their lives.

He has worked in Washington, D.C. since 2004, covering Capitol Hill and the White House. His beats include legislation affecting military policy and veterans’ issues. His work also includes overseas coverage of military operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Chile and Ecuador. He has become a prominent voice on veterans’ issues, chronicling troops’ transition back to civilian life and the challenges facing the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Leo Shane is the only individual to be listed on the HillVets 100 for all four years of its existence!

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Nikki Wentling, Stars and Stripes

Nikki Wentling’s in-depth reporting on veterans’ issues for Stars and Stripes serves to keep former military members and the public informed about everything from political maneuverings in the halls of Congress to malfeasance in local medical centers. She gained experience working on matters that affect veterans while a reporting for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, where she covered National Guard, Little Rock Air Force Base and veterans issues. Wentling holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Kansas.


Lauren Katzenberg, New York Times ‘At War’

Although Lauren Katzenberg is not a veteran of the military, her two-year-long deployment as a journalist to Afghanistan made her in every way one of us. Upon returning to the United States, she co-founded both ‘War On The Rocks’ and Task & Purpose, two of the most widely respected news and culture websites dedicated to our modern military. Lauren has helped the most recent generation of veterans find their voices, spending countless hours working with hundreds of budding writers and journalists to develop the opinion-editorials and articles that chronicle the experience of the Global War on Terror. In doing so, she’s created a sense of community and a shared culture that binds together millions of young veterans. Now, as the Editor of The New York Times’ At War Blog, Lauren is helping to bring the voices of these veterans to the publication of record.


Anna Hiatt, The War Horse

As an editor for the online news organization, The War Horse, Anna Hiatt played a crucial role in breaking the Marines United scandal last year. Her efforts helped reveal that troops distributed thousands of explicit photographs of their female comrades through social media. In the wake of the news reports, military leaders acted swiftly to punish those responsible and lawmakers passed legislation that seeks to amend military code, outlawing and, hopefully, preventing future instances of similar harassment.

The D.C. native holds a bachelor’s in history from UC Berkeley and master’s in journalism from Columbia University. Hiatt’s work has appeared in The Washington Post, Washington City Paper, The Village Voice, The New Republic, Reuters, The New York Times, The Village Voice, Roads & Kingdoms, and on WNYC and NBC News Digital, among other organizations.


Ashley Gilbertson

Early on, Gilbertson’s work focused on refugees, an interest that in 2002, led him to Iraq. His work from that country, earned critical acclaim from the Overseas Press Club which awarded Gilbertson the Robert Capa Gold Medal for his 2004 work in Falluja. Gilberton’s first book, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, released in 2007 to critical acclaim, went on to become a best seller.

After Iraq, Gilbertson shifted his focus to veterans issues, drawing attention to post traumatic stress disorder, suicide, and traumatic brain injuries. Gilbertson’s second book, Bedrooms Of The Fallen, a collection of photographs depicting the intact bedrooms of service members killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, was released in 2014. That work was published in The New York Times Magazine, and received a prestigious Ellie award, regarded then as the Pulitzer Prize of the magazine world. Some of those photos were on display earlier this year at the National Portrait Gallery.


David Max Korzen

David Max Korzen is a trusted leader, writer and teacher in national security affairs. He has extensive experience with irregular warfare and U.S. security cooperation programs, with a specific expertise in Middle Eastern policy. Having served in the Air Force for over 12 years as a pilot and special operations officer, he has worked, traveled and lived in numerous locations in the Middle East and Central Asia.

Korzen has lectured at the Joint Special Operations University and the Air Force Special Operation School on irregular warfare and the Middle East. His writings have appeared in numerous publications, including the Los Angeles Times, the Boston Globe, U.S. News and World Report, Real Clear Defense and Arab Studies Quarterly. Max holds an AM in Middle Eastern Studies from Harvard University and a BA in International Affairs from George Washington University. He continues to serve as a Major in the Air Force Reserve.


Eric Dehm, ConnectingVets

Eric, after working as an editor and producer at New York City’s top-rated all-news radio station, 1010 WINS, relocated to the nation’s capital to use his talents at Connecting Vets – a nationwide, digital media operation, delivering information and analysis to military veterans and their families. He currently produces the Morning Briefing – focused on unique stories and interviews with every major Veteran Service Organization. Eric is originally from Stamford, Connecticut, enlisted in the U.S. Navy out of high school. During his 13 years as a sailor, Eric served as a military journalist aboard the USS Saipan and USS Frank Cable, and in exotic places: Iceland, Italy, Greece, Guam and Afghanistan. Transitioning back to civilian life, he earned a bachelor’s degree at Hofstra University, where on the college’s award-winning radio station, WRHU, he hosted a morning program, did minor league baseball play-by-play and served as the station’s program director.


Tim Lawson, Department of Veterans Affairs

Tim Lawson works as a content creator for the Department of Veterans Affair’s digital media team and creates the weekly podcasts, Follow Your Spirit, Fuel for Warriors and 1,2 Many: Veteran Suicide.

Lawson’s decided to pursue a career in journalism after serving five years in the Marine Corps and struggling with thoughts of suicide. His goals is to change the conversation around veteran suicide from one of statistics to solutions. Through his many interviews with medical professionals, survivors and those who lost loved ones to suicide, Lawson concluded that mentorship and empathy can save lives. His former podcast, Veteran Empire, was nominated for a 2013 Podcast Award in the Culture and Arts category.


Alex Horton, The Washington Post

Alex Horton is a general assignment reporter at The Washington Post. Previously, he was a national reporter at Stars and Stripes and a lecturer at Georgetown University. From 2010-2013, Horton worked in the office of digital engagement at the Department of Veterans Affairs, where he was the senior writer and deputy editor of the agency’s blog. Horton has published at The Atlantic, The New York Times, The Washington Post, TIME, Foreign Policy, The Guardian, Washingtonian Magazine, The Daily Beast, Wilson Quarterly, Defense One, and several textbooks published by W.W. Norton, among other publications. Prior to his writing career, Horton served in the U.S. Army as an Infantryman from 2004-2007 and participated in combat operations in Iraq in the last year of his service. Horton was later awarded the Army Commendation Medal with Valor.