Searching for a VOD to write up? Here are some tips.

When I first joined the internship as a writer last fall, there were times when I found it difficult to find Veteran of the Day (VOD) candidates. As with many things, perseverance, as well as tips from others (and deadlines), helped me move forward. Here are some ways to find VODs:

  • Search for specific battles, wars or events, as some articles may include the names of those who served. I start by searching for topics that may have a high likelihood of being written about, such as “stories of troops deployed in early days of Iraq War.” I then conduct a search of those who are mentioned in the articles to see if there is enough information about them. If one news outlet or source has written a story about a Veteran, it is likely that others have as well, which means more details and available photos.
  • Look for those who have been awarded medals or other honors, as they may have given interviews or had stories written about them. There are numerous websites regarding military medals that may also have profile stories, citations and lists of Veterans. These are good places to find names for further investigation.
  • When reading Reddit articles, keep potential VOD candidates in mind. These Veterans have at least one aspect of their life that has been written about in the Reddit article. There needs to be enough information about their service and life available, however, a quick search should confirm whether or not the Veteran qualifies as a VOD candidate.
  • When researching a VOD, one individual’s story may mention other Veterans. Many times, I have been researching someone and there is limited information or too few high-resolution photos of them. However, while researching their stories, sometimes there are mentions of someone they served with, a superior officer or a relative who was also in the military. If these individuals have had articles and other information written about them, I end up writing their stories.
  • Try searching for “firsts,” as articles are likely to have been written about these Veterans. Whether it’s for breaking barriers or achieving records, “firsts” get written about often. It helps to search for something specific, such as “first African American naval pilot.” Being more specific also helps increase the chance that the individual you find has not already been published on the VA blog.

Hopefully, this has provided you with a new search method or sparked ideas for additional ways to search for VODs!

Writer: Michael Veronda

Editors: Julia Pack and Alli P.

Graphic Designer: Helena Strohmier