Book Talk With Medill Alumnus Kevin Sites

The author of “Swimming with Warlords: A Dozen-Year Journey Across the Afghan War” will speak at an Oct. 15 event sponsored by Medill National Security Zone and Medill Alumni Relations.

Seating is limited for the free event that includes food, drink and a free copy of Sites’ book.

RSVP here.

Covering the Military, Veterans and Homeland Security: Tomorrow’s Trends and Issues

October 1-2, 2014 | Washington, DC

The Medill National Security Journalism Initiative is hosting journalists who cover the military, homeland security or defense matters in the National Security Journalism Conference.

The invitation-only conference will include a briefing at the Pentagon as well as panel presentations with top military, administration and policy experts to broaden reporter’s expertise on national security and military issues while developing new sources and story ideas.

Major themes will include the future of security; new ideas on covering veterans; and how to conduct effective Internet research on national security (Margot Williams of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists has been invited to lead the latter session).

Miranda Mulligan of the Knight Lab will lead hands-on work with the latest online presentation tools and show how to use them for defense stories.

If you have questions, please contact

How to prepare for an assignment abroad

Going abroad for your first international assignment can be intimidating, so Kerry Luft put together a handy guide to how to deal with being a journalist abroad.
The guide covers everything from getting your visa to staying safe. He also highlights a very important tool that all journalists should have: flexibility.
Continue reading our how-to guide.

Website gives voice to members of American military

Launched in July, Blue Force Tracker shows what’s going on in the military through pieces often produced by current or former members of the armed forces.

Continue to the story.

Rouhani: Fewer nuclear sanctions would strengthen Iran in fight against Islamic State

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said late September in his first public speech before he went to the United Nations that he opposed Western intervention in Mideast violence and touted Iran’s potential to be a regional diplomatic leader.

Continue to the story.

Reporting on a Troubled VA Research Program

Earlier this month, the Austin American-Statesman published an exhaustive story from reporter Jeremy Schwartz about a once promising, now troubled Department of Veterans Affairs brain research program in Waco, Texas. A mobile MRI machine was set up in 2008 to much fanfare, but had essentially remained idle due to poor management and mechanical failures ever since. We spoke to Schwartz, who is on the newspaper’s projects team and has focused on military-related issues since 2009.

Continue to the story.


The second beheading of an American journalist by ISIS in two weeks may indicate that the Sunni militant group is targeting journalists in a particularly brutal form to show the world – and particularly President Barack Obama – its strength and influence, according to several experts.

Continue to the story.

The military after Iraq and Afghanistan: Watch the webinar replay

Webinar: The Military After Iraq and Afghanistan

Webinar: The Military After Iraq and Afghanistan. Watch the full webinar.

TOPIC: A Post-Kinetic World: The United States Military After Iraq and Afghanistan. Hosted by Medill National Security Journalism Initiative.

WHEN: Tuesday, July 22, 2014– 1 p.m. Eastern, 12 noon Central Time, 10 a.m. Pacific


OVERVIEW: Focusing on the three major elements of the Obama Administration’s counter-terrorism strategy, Professor Jon Caverley makes a case that direct action is a valuable tool, but journalists are underreporting the other two essential aspects of counter-terrorism that the President outlined in his recent speech at West Point.

Direct action through special operation forces and drone strikes generate headlines, says Caverley, but the second and third elements of the strategy–training of foreign militaries and American arms sales around the world—have the potential to create much larger, long term impacts on international politics.

HOST: Medill Lecturer and NSJI co-director Tim McNulty.

How-to: Covering nuclear weapons operations

Penetrating the world of nuclear weapons is not as hard for a determined journalist as you might think – or as the government might like you to think. It is secretive but not inscrutable.

If you are committed and well-prepared, you can find news in this field and illuminate an aspect of U.S. national security that can seem like an abstraction, even an anachronism, but is still relevant to the lives of all Americans.

The key is knowing where to look, how to decipher the military lingo and why it matters what is taking place within the insular world of nuclear forces. You don’t need to be a military expert or a rocket scientist.

Continue reading our how-to guide on covering nuclear weapons.

Story behind the story

Read how AP’s national security writer discovered problems in the nation’s nuclear defense system and wound up with a ‘months-long cascade of revelations.’