By Mr. Mike Bowers (Leonard Wood)March 24, 2016
FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. (March 24, 2016) -- A Fort Leonard Wood public affairs specialist has won the 2015 Army's top journalism award.
Marti Yoshida was selected as the Army's Moss-Holland Civilian Journalist of the Year at the Maj. Gen. Keith L. Ware Public Affairs Competition conducted by the Office of the Chief of Public Affairs.
The award represents the second consecutive year a Fort Leonard Wood journalist has won the prestigious competition. Former PAO journalist, Melissa Buckley was the 2014 winner.
Yoshida will now represent the Army at the Department of Defense Thomas Jefferson Awards Program, where she will compete against Air Force, Navy, Marine and Coast Guard journalists.
"I am honored to receive this award," said Yoshida, who has been a member of the Public Affairs Office since 2009. "If you look at what the award represents, we are honoring the legacy of two dedicated journalists, John Moss and Peggy Holland, who lost their lives in the Oklahoma City bombing. This puts a little more pressure on me to raise the bar and continue to look for new ways to deliver an interesting product."
Pressure is nothing new to Yoshida. She had only six months, while assigned to the GUIDON in a development position as assistant editor, to accumulate the mandatory writing categories for her contest submission.
Her normal public affairs duties are community relations, with responsibilities for coordinating military support to community events, such as the Springfield and St. Louis Cardinals military appreciation nights.
"My writing had some issues," said Yoshida, who worked at Siemens Building Technologies for nearly 20 years, where she was a marketing and communications professional.
According to Yoshida, writing a 75-word-product release about a modulating damper actuator is not the same as producing a 750-word story about Soldiers alley-backing a 5-ton vehicle in a truck rodeo.
"There was a learning curve when I joined the Army Civilian Corps," Yoshida said. "Most days I still feel like the 'Kung Fu Panda.' But if you watch the end of the story, the panda ends up finding his way and succeeds."
Writing is not animation, but Yoshida's writings painted her a winner in a contest that "provided more variety in winning entries than any Keith L. Ware competition in recent history," according to Brig. Gen. Malcolm Frost, Army Chief of Public Affairs.
"It (the Keith L. Ware Competition) is a testament to our public affairs professionals across our units and at every level in how seriously they take their craft and how deep the pool of talent is." Frost said.
Frost said the talent spool spans "not just in our traditional active-duty operational units or Defense Media Activity, but also our Army Reserve and National Guard, recruiting battalions, brigade combat teams, Installation Management Command and the Corps of Engineers, just to name a few."
Capturing the IMCOM competition earned Yoshida the opportunity to compete at the Army level.
"Marti winning the award is pretty impressive, considering her articles and photos were only produced for six months," said Tiffany Wood, Fort Leonard Wood's public affairs officer.
"The award is also a credit to the diversity of this installation, with us having IMCOM, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command and Forces Command units and their various-associated activities," Wood said.
"Marti is committed to excellence. She was able to highlight those activities by way of her thorough and insightful writing that really impressed the judges and set her apart from the rest. I am honored to have her on our team," Wood added.
Whether she wins at the DoD level or not, Yoshida said she is not resting on her laurels, as she is a goal-setting person who always has a plan.
"I enjoy the challenge of writing and presenting information, so people can benefit," Yoshida said. "That's the reward, and that is the hardest part for me. It's not just about writing. You have to understand your subject, put yourself in your subject's shoes for a little while, and be able to tell their story accurately. We have a lot of great stories to tell here at Fort Leonard Wood, and I appreciate people letting me in to do what I love."