Turns out Stephen Colbert isn’t the only good samaritan in late night; Today, the New York Times revealed that Jon Stewart has stealthily been running an “industry boot camp” to help veterans break into the television industry.
According to the Times, Stewart has quietly been developing the program for the past three years, but is only speaking out about it now with hope that other shows will copy the idea. “This is ready to franchise. Please steal our idea,” Stewart told the Times. “It isn’t charity. To be good in this business you have to bring in different voices from different places, and we have this wealth of experience that just wasn’t being tapped.”
The program is described as an “intense five-week immersion program” designed to train veterans who have an interest in entering the competitive entertainment business, as a way to substitute for the years of internships and entry-level industry jobs that most veterans will have missed out on. As Stewart puts it: “There are well-worn channels into this industry that are closed off to veterans. You get into the television industry generally by going to certain colleges known for having good television programs, getting internships and getting to know people who work in the industry. A lot of veterans never had that opportunity because they were busy at war. This is a way to give them that chance.”
The article highlights a number of success stories, like Justine Cabulong, a former Marine lieutenant, who works as a “Daily Show” production coordinator, and Nathan Witmer, who took a job as an associate field segment producer at "The Daily Show" after doing a stint at Fox News.
“We hear ‘Thank you for your service’ all the time, but here was concrete action, people working to really make a difference,” Witmer told the Times. “And it changed lives. I’m proof of that.”