News: North Dakota Guard journalists win national awards
FARGO, N.D. - North Dakota National Guard journalists recently garnered numerous awards in competitions that pitted their stories and photos against the best across the nation. Both full-time and part-time journalists earned awards in the National Guard Bureau Media Contest, which consists of entries encompassing Army National Guard soldiers and Air National Guard airmen from 54 states and territories.
Those winning entries advanced to the Maj. Gen. Keith L. Ware Public Affairs Competition, which judges the best from major U.S. Army commands across the globe.
"When you look at the level of competition in these contests, it's incredible that our small team from the North Dakota National Guard earned so many awards," said Maj. Gen. David Sprynczynatyk, North Dakota adjutant general. "What's even more striking, though, is that they consistently win at this level year after year. Their efforts to tell the story of our soldiers, airmen and greater military family keep our communities connected with the many aspects of service to our state and nation."
The North Dakota Guardian, a monthly magazine produced by the North Dakota National Guard Public Affairs Office and edited by Staff Sgt. Eric Jungels, of Bismarck, won top honors across the entire National Guard Bureau in the magazine-format publication category. It's the first time the magazine, which has been produced since 2007, took top honors in the highly-competitive category, although it came in runner-up during last year's competition.
The Public Affairs Office also took third place across the National Guard in Outstanding Initiatives in New Media, which recognized the team's social media efforts.
Oft-awarded photographer Senior Master Sgt. David H. Lipp, of Fargo, earned two third-place finishes at the National Guard Bureau level: one in Photojournalism and one for a Sports Photograph. In just 11 years of entering these contests during his photojournalism career, Lipp has won 50 top three finishes in national competitions as well as an honorable mention in the prestigious MILPHOG contest that encompasses the entire Department of Defense.
Two part-time Guardsmen serving as unit public affairs representatives also placed nationally. Spc. Kristin Berg, of Fargo, won the Contribution by a Stringer-Writer category and Spc. Michael Hagburg, of Bismarck, placed second in the National Guard Bureau-level competition. Their entries advanced to the Army-wide competition, where Hagburg placed second. Both Soldiers serve in other military occupational specialties outside of public affairs, which is what designates them as "stringers." Hagburg recently retired after serving more than 20 years in the military, primarily with the 188th Army Band.
"It's invigorating to see how our Guardsmen working in the field as unit public affairs representatives continue to earn awards at a national level," said Capt. Dan Murphy, North Dakota National Guard public information officer. "Their efforts help us tell the North Dakota National Guard story, and these awards show the quality of work that's being done by these part-time journalists in addition to their assigned job duties."
Sgt. 1st Class Amy Wieser Willson, of West Fargo, also placed at both levels of competition. She took top honors in three National Guard Bureau categories: Personality Feature, Sports Article and Story Series. Two of the feature stories went on to win at the U.S. Army-wide level, and a series of features on the North Dakota Air National Guard's "First Commanders" placed second in the Keith L. Ware Competition. The two first-place winners will now advance to the Department of Defense-level Thomas Jefferson Awards competition. Wieser Willson, deputy public information officer for the North Dakota National Guard, has previously received four first-place awards at the Keith L. Ware competition for feature stories she's written.
"We have an impressive level of talent in our public affairs community, evident by the quality of the 588 total individual entries submitted this year" for the Keith L. Ware competition, said Brig. Gen. Gary Volesky, U.S. Army chief of public affairs. "Their outstanding efforts helped their commanders and supervisors tell the Army story."
Individual Award Lists
Maj. Gen. Keith L. Ware Competition
* Category L: Personality Feature Article - Sgt. 1st Class Amy Wieser Willson, 1st place: Entry advanced to Department of Defense-level Thomas Jefferson Awards
* Category N: Sports Article - Sgt. 1st Class Amy Wieser Willson, 1st place: Entry advanced to Department of Defense-level Thomas Jefferson Awards
* Category O: Story Series - Sgt. 1st Class Amy Wieser Willson, 2nd place
* Category T: Stringer-Writer - Spc. Michael Hagburg, 2nd place
National Guard Bureau 2012 Media Contest
* Category 8: Photojournalism - Senior Master Sgt. David H. Lipp, 3rd place (Air National Guard): 219th Goes Force-on-Force
* Category 21: Sports Photograph - Lipp, 3rd place (Air National Guard): Marksmanship Training
* Category C: Magazine-Format Publication - North Dakota Guardian, 1st place (Army National Guard): Editor: Staff Sgt. Eric Jungels
* Category F: Outstanding Initiative in New Media - North Dakota National Guard Public Affairs Office, 3rd place
* Category L: Personality Feature - Sgt. 1st Class Amy Wieser Willson, 1st place (Army National Guard): "Globe Changer: Airman Uses Skills to Change World"
* Category N: Sports Article - Wieser Willson, 1st place (Army National Guard): "Journey of 100 Miles: Tufte Steps His Way to Ultramarathon Success"
* Category O: Story Series - Wieser Willson, 1st place (Army National Guard): First Commanders Series
* Category T: Contribution by a Stringer (Writer) - Spc. Kristin Berg, 1st place (Army National Guard): "Bounce Back: N.D. National Guard's Resiliency Academy Opens its Doors to Soldiers, Family Members and Civilians"
* Category T: Contribution by a Stringer (Writer) - Sgt. 1st Class Michael Hagburg, 3rd place (Army National Guard): "Hitting a High Note: Band Soldier Named One of Top Musicians in Military"