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Thursday, 12 May 2011 16:00

Department Honors Top Communicators

Written by sotstaff

Department Honors Top Communicators

From a Defense Information School News Release

FORT MEADE, Md., May 13, 2011 – The military’s best writers, photographers, and videographers were recognized for excellence in a ceremony at the Defense Information School here today.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Douglas B. Wilson, assistant secretary of defense for public affairs, speaks at the 2011 Communicators of Excellence awards ceremony May 13, 2011, at the Defense Information School, Fort Meade, Md. U.S Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Joshua T. Jasper

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Douglas B. Wilson, assistant secretary of defense for public affairs, recognized the award recipients for their achievements.

“Many of those being awarded here today are forward deployed, and it's a tribute to your dedication and professionalism that not only do you adhere to [the Defense Department Principles of Information], you embody them, and the standards of excellence reflected in your work in the most difficult conditions is a credit to you, your units, and the Defense Information School,” Wilson said.

The school hosting the ceremony is the evolutionary result of three separate military schools combining into a single communications school here in 1995.

Air Force Master Sgt. Jeremy T. Lock was named Military Photographer of the Year for an unprecedented fifth time. He also won the award in 2003, 2005, 2006 and 2008, and earned runner-up honors in 2007 and 2009.

“I thrive on working stories, diving into each experience, and living for a moment in a world outside of my norm,” Lock said. “It is an honor to be able to share my vision and hopefully foster awareness, understanding, and empathy.”

The award winners in graphic arts, photography, videography, and print and broadcast journalism covered combat operations, humanitarian assistance, sporting events and daily military news events around the world.

In addition to presenting Lock with his award, Army Col. Gary L. Keck, Defense Information School commandant, presented the awards to the following overall winners:

-- Military Graphic Artist of the Year: Marine Corps Sgt. Shawn P. Sales;

-- Military Videographer of the Year: Air Force Staff Sgt. Burt Traynor;

-- Broadcast Journalist of the Year: Dave Annarino, Defense Media Activity – Army;

-- Print Journalist of the Year: Randy Roughton, Defense Media Activity - Air Force;

-- New Broadcaster of the Year: Air Force Airman 1st Class Tori Fleck; and

-- New Writer of the Year: Marine Corps Cpl. Reece E. Lodder.

“Thank you for all of the hours you’ve dedicated to perfect your craft in the public affairs and visual information communities,” Keck said. “You have the incredible privilege of telling the story of the men and women who make up the Department of Defense team, and the products you produce consistently deliver immediate and lasting impacts.”

Keck presented 60 awards in all to winners representing all five service branches. The awards programs date back to 1960 for military photojournalists and to 1968 for the Thomas Jefferson Awards for print and broadcast journalists. This year’s Military Graphic Artist of the Year wasn’t alive when the programs started.

“It is an honor to serve my country as a Marine and as an artist,” Sales said. “As a child, the two things that brought me the most enjoyment were art and playing ‘soldier’ with neighboring children. … Although that was many years ago, I have not lost that passion for the military or the art. To have found an occupation that brought both of those interests together is nothing short of amazing. I sometimes feel that this job was made with me in mind.”

Defense Information School graduates are working in a world in which communication is integral, Wilson said. Their efforts are not in a stovepipe, he noted, and are not a separate entity from all that is going on in the world. The award winners’ career fields, he added, are part of policy development, not an afterthought to it, and are an essential part of the military mission, not an adjunct to it.

“What you do here in the continental United States, and around the world -- very often in harm's way now -- to tell the story of our military for our internal and external audiences is critically important,” Wilson said. “Your professional images and the reports you compile provide our internal audiences and the American people the initial look into the most sensitive operations around the world.”

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