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Covering the Military in a Politically Divided World

by Babee Garcia

Dr. Keith Strudler (left) and Col. Jack Jacobs (right) in the SCM Presentation Hall discuss the military, politics and the press.
Babee Gacia | The Montclarion

Col. Jack Jacobs, military analyst for NBC and MSNBC, visited Montclair State University two weeks ago in a colloquium event to discuss his career, politics and the press with School of Communication and Media (SCM) Director Dr. Keith Strudler.

Before his discussion to the campus community began, there was an intimate dinner held in the University Hall 7th floor conference room. SCM faculty members, student veterans and business executives gathered around to hear war stories from Jacobs.

Sue Wahler, a Marine Corps veteran and senior biology major, thought this was a great opportunity for the university community to come together.


SCM professors, student veterans and business executives spoke with Col. Jack Jacobs at dinner in the University Hall 7th floor conference room prior to the colloquium.
Babee Garcia | The Montclarion

“There are so many veterans right in the [Montclair State] community so it’s nice when our voices can be heard,” Wahler said. “Even though veterans’ service carries on for many generations, events like this bring people closer together and puts us one step closer to [understanding] how veterans think and [what they] need.”

Wahler said that one of the key things she learned from the military is paying attention to detail. She applies this lesson when she looks at tissue under a microscope.

Jacobs was a soldier in the United States Army and a graduate from Rutgers University. He was a Medal of Honor recipient for his heroic service in the Vietnam War and was also awarded three Bronze and two Silver stars.

“I’ve known Jack since 2002 when we worked together in MSNBC,” said SCM professor Mark Effron. “For me, it is an honor and a privilege to consider Jack my friend. He is a wise man in a time where wisdom in the public sphere seems to be a deficit. The audience at the colloquium experienced that first-hand.”

During the colloquium event, Jacobs connected his position as a military analyst and years within the Army, calling it his “universal service.”

“I like being around people who served [in the military] and who wore the uniform,” Jacobs said.

At one point during the event, he was asked about how parents can cope with children who want to enlist in the U.S. military. Jacobs responded that in some stage of a child’s life, parents teach them, wind them up and let them go to make their own choices.

Near the closing of the colloquium, Colonel Jacobs was asked a question by an audience member.

“How do you explain war and military terms to the public?” the member asked.

“Nobody hates war more than the people fighting it,” Jacobs replied.

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