Installation newsletter garners Maj. Gen. Keith L. Ware top honors
April 6, 2011
For the second straight year, the Fort A.P. Hill newsletter "Down Range" has garnered top honors in the annual Department of the Army Maj. Gen. Keith L. Ware competition in the newsletter category. Last year, the publication also won the coveted Department of Defense Thomas Jefferson award.
In 2008, the newsletter only placed as far as IMCOM-NE Region. Previous awards have included the Liberty Bell and KLW award in 2004.
The newsletter editor, David San Miguel, in addition to the newsletter category win also placed third at the IMCOM -level for news writing.
"This win was of little surprise," San Miguel said. "After last year's win at Army, then DOD levels, I felt confident that I made the changes needed to make this an even more competitive publication."
He explained that when you compete at Army-level, publications are judged by some of the most successful print and broadcast journalists in the field.
They include newspaper and magazine editors, authors of journalism textbooks, university and college professors of journalism and professionals in mass communication and public relations fields, he said.
"The judges evaluate the complete package. They carefully read and review articles, photographs, designs, artwork and the overall quality of the finalists' work," he said. "Nothing is overlooked."
Sometimes, San Miguel felt intimidated by the talent other publications can draw from their larger staffs.
"Most of the other publications have larger staffs," the editor said. "They have graphic artists, writers, photographers, several editors and some even have creative design specialists."
In addition, he finds that because the public affairs staff is primarily a two-man shop, he often gets tasked to support other missions, such as community and media relations events and activities.
Yet despite the shortcomings, San Miguel continues to explore as many communication avenues as possible to heighten reader's interest and to support their informative needs.
"Today's readers are getting bombarded with news from the radio, from television and the Internet," he said. "I have to compete with that. I have to make this newsletter stand out so that readers will want to pick it up."
"We can communicate one-to-one, one-to-many or many-to-many," remarked Philip J. "PJ" Crowley, assistant secretary of state for public affairs at last year's DOD award presentation. "The successful communicator will be someone who makes information compelling, yet simple to understand and convenient for the reader, listener and viewer."
Crowley acknowledged though there are many methods available to communicate messages, the real challenge is to find the right medium and to excel as storytellers.