By Cameron Rogers, Defense Information School
FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. (NNS) -- The Department of Defense Communicators of Excellence Awards marked an historic moment for DoD professional communicators with the first-ever museum exhibit devoted entirely to COE winners at the National Museum of the Marine Corps, Quantico, Virginia, which concludes May 31.
The COE exhibit at the NMMC recognizes 36 works from the military's best photographers and graphic artists for work they completed while serving on various missions across the globe in 2014.
"We believe hosting this exhibit at the museum duly recognizes the work these service members do, and will also help the general public develop an appreciation for the experiences that went into capturing these images," said Liz Ezell, National Museum of the Marine Corps director.
The COE Awards started with the Military Photographer of the Year in 1960 and developed into four separate competitions aimed at recognizing, rewarding and promoting excellence among military photographers, videographers, journalists and graphic artists.
The awards consist of more than 50 categories: 6 in the Military Graphic Artist of the Year, 11 in the Military Photographer of the Year and 6 in the Military Videographer of the Year. The Thomas Jefferson Awards consist of 18 New and Traditional Media categories and 17 Broadcast Media categories, Visual Information Production Awards with four categories.
"Winning in any of the Communicators of Excellence categories is an honor likened to winning an Academy Award; however, the three highly coveted categories are Military Graphic Artist of the Year, Military Photographer of the Year and Military Videographer of the Year," said Lt. Cmdr. Karen Eifert of DINFOS public affairs.
Two of these "of-the-year" winners had their work on display in the NMMC, MGOY Senior Airman Damon Kasberg, U.S. Air Force and MPOY Staff Sgt. Vernon Young Jr., U.S. Air Force. Although videographers were not included in the NMMC exhibit, Sgt. Alison Beiswanger, U.S. Marine Corps was the MVOY.
The judges, whose affiliations ranged from National Geographic to the White House News Photographers Association, evaluated more than 4,000 entries from DoD personnel across the globe based on their storytelling ability, technical quality, originality, creativity and category specifications. The entire judging process lasted a total of six weeks.
The NMMC offered a venue aimed at reaching a broader cross-section of America to the work of DoD communicators.
"This is an opportunity for the world to see that the winners did a superior job while serving across the globe in support of their country," Eifert said. "But this exhibit shows they are also passionate about the work they do and are artists in their own right."