By Amy McLaughlinApril 1, 2011
FORT HUACHUCA, Ariz. -- One of Fort Huachuca's own, a broadcast journalist from U.S. Army Garrison Public Affairs, won first place in the 2010 Maj. Gen. Keith L. Ware Journalism Awards Competition.
Thom Williams' segment, "Triathlon," won first place for Category L: Television Sports Report.
Once a year, U.S. Army print and broadcast journalists-Soldiers and civilians-reporting for the Army worldwide, compete in up to 40 categories for the prestigious award.
Williams' entry was judged by a panel of more than 20 journalism professionals from Department of the Army Public Affairs, Department of Defense Public Affairs, commercial media and academia; and his first-place win qualifies him to compete against other services in the DoD Thomas Jefferson Awards Program.
Although this was his first win as a broadcaster, this was not the first Keith L. Ware award for Williams.
He earned his first win as part of a print team while stationed in Korea as a Soldier and his second win was as a DA civilian in 2006, for a story he wrote about Army marathon swimmer Sarah Heine. Coincidentally, Heine was also the female winner of the Steel Head Triathlon, the story Williams covered for his third win.
"She must be my good luck charm," Williams joked. "I think I was just able to hit the niche at the right time."
Williams' modesty aside, earning a first place Keith L. Ware award is no easy feat. Army journalists compete year after year for the honor, and many do not make it. Williams has competed annually since 1985.
"My strategy is to see which stories fit the categories, pick my best work of the year and enter the contest," he said. "I entered in six different categories this year."
Broadcasting is a relatively new branch of the public affairs field for Williams, who retired as an Army public affairs specialist and print journalist in 1997. He has worked in the Fort Huachuca public affairs for five years and welcomed the shift from print journalism to broadcasting.
"It [videography] is also my hobby. Everywhere I go, I take video and still photos," he said.
Williams plans to continue submitting entries every year for the Keith L. Ware award.
"The competition is good; it keeps you on your toes and forces you to keep up with changing technology," he said. "It's challenging for an old dog like me to learn new tricks."
While the personal challenge keeps him on his game, it is his love of the craft that ultimately keeps him in the game.
"I just love telling Soldiers' stories and honing my craft," he said.
The Keith L. Ware competition for 2011 is scheduled to take place next spring.