By Col. Lee ReynoldsDecember 27, 2013
NEW YORK (Dec. 27, 2013) -- ABC News hosted seven veterans Dec. 12, as guest producers on their daily news programs.
This was part of a Disney and ABC Television veterans outreach campaign called "Home for the Holidays." The seven veterans were selected from dozens of applicants with a journalism or entertainment background. The organization, Veterans in Film and Television, or VFT, coordinated the event with ABC News.
Five veterans in New York City area, and two in Washington, D.C., were partnered as shadow producers directly with the producers of ABC News programs. They attended editorial meetings, helped develop news segments and were mentored in all aspects of a news program production.
The news programs that hosted veterans included Nightline, Good Morning America, ABC World News and local ABC News programs in New York City and Washington DC.
Sarah Hodd, the Talent Coordinator for ABC News and host for the event, said that ABC was "looking forward to an opportunity not only to reach out to veterans but to learn from their unique experiences."
"As a selected Veteran, I worked on Nightline and was impressed by how welcoming the entire team was to me and how much they genuinely wanted my opinion," Hodd said. "I was able to contribute to the development of several stories by reviewing scripts and video and offering suggestions on story content.
"I worked primarily with Veteran News Producer Ely Brown who made 20 trips to Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom," Hodd continued. "Even though she was under a deadline to complete a military related news segment, we spent a lot of time exchanging ideas as she mentored me on the nuances of developing a compelling news story. My skills as a producer and filmmaker are definitely improved from this experience and I hope they learned something from me. I'm grateful to ABC News and VFT for coordinating such a valuable event."
"Home for the Holidays" is an annual campaign that is part of the Disney "Heroes Work Here" initiative designed to honor veterans and provide an opportunity for possible employment with Disney and ABC Television. VFT is a Veteran owned and operated non-profit organization that provides networking and employment opportunities to veterans working in the TV and film industry.
The "Home for the Holidays" campaign recently sponsored a military themed digital short film competition for veterans and aired the five winning films on ABC.com. They continue to broadcast military holiday greetings and are including more military related stories on their news programs, during daytime talk shows and in their soap opera "General Hospital."