My Job Is To Tell The Story Of LA Veterans. What Do You Want To Know?

Chava Sanchez/ LAist

Hi KPCC listeners,

Libby Denkmann here. You probably know me from when I fill in for Larry Mantle on Air Talk or for my stories about military and veterans issues on Take Two, Morning Edition or All Things Considered.

But what you might not know is how much I love reporting.

Here’s my job, in a nutshell: I dig up information and draw attention to issues that people in power would rather you didn’t know. Nearly every day, I get to meet interesting people and ask them nosy questions.

Sometimes I broadcast from an air-conditioned studio in Pasadena. More often, I’m tapping out scripts on my laptop at the back of an auditorium, standing in the rain or hot sun speaking to protesters, or sitting on the curb outside of a courthouse trying to collect my thoughts and keep my notes straight for a live report. (My Subaru racks up thousands of miles visiting communities around Southern California.)

What I treasure most about this job are the people I get to meet — the ones who welcome me into their homes, share experiences they rarely discuss with even their closest friends, and let me in during some of their most emotional moments.

The goal of my reporting is to introduce our audience to the diverse faces of the veteran experience and to shrink the divide between military and civilian communities.

While it’s vital to shed light on serious problems veterans face, like homelessness, healthcare access or military sexual assault -- it’s also important to remember that the typical veteran experience isn’t doom and gloom.

Most troops and their families complete their time in the military, gain valuable skills or money toward college, and go on to lead successful lives.

But today, Americans are less likely to know those stories than in previous generations, and the burden of service is concentrated on fewer and fewer families.

Here’s where you come in. I want our listeners to understand the role vets play in our lives and the struggles they face, but I need your help.

If you are a veteran, an active duty member of the military, part of a military family, someone who works with veterans, or a civilian without any connection to the military: Tell me what you want to see and hear in my coverage. Send me the story ideas you think deserve attention. And ask me the questions you want answered.

I’m listening. So let’s keep the conversation going.