The Thomas Jefferson Awards Program recognizes
military and civilian employee print and broadcast journalists for outstanding
achievements in furthering the objectives of the Department of Defense internal
It operates under the aegis of the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense,
public affairs, and is administered by the director, American Forces
The program is named after Thomas Jefferson, the nation's third president,
author of the Declaration of Independence, legislator, diplomat and an
outstanding man of letters, whose personal library formed the basis for what
became the Library of Congress, and who appreciated the importance of news and
free information to the proper functioning of government and society.
It was with this in mind that the Department of Defense chose Jefferson as the
symbol for its awards for excellence in journalism. Established in 1968,
the Thomas Jefferson Awards recognize military and DOD civilian broadcast and
print journalists for their achievements. The contest is held annually at
the Defense Information School, Fort George G. Meade, Md.
Having coordinated the contest judging since 1979, DINFOS ensures that the best
internal information efforts receive recognition for professional excellence
and outstanding achievements. The contest is designed to promote fuller
understanding of the U.S. armed forces' mission and to inform our military
members about their American heritage and the vital roles they play in the
defense of the nation. Service broadcast and print journalists inform
military, family members and civilian employees worldwide about significant
events, giving people a better understanding and fuller appreciation of their
responsibilities to the nation.
Thomas Jefferson Awards are given in several print and
broadcastcategories. To win, entries must make an important contribution
to the internal information objectives of the armed forces and must meet the
highest standards of production, execution and professional excellence.
Prior to the yearly Thomas Jefferson Awards contest, each service judges its
own entries and selects the best entry in each category to represent that
service in the final inter-service competition. Additionally, each
service may nominate six judges (three broadcast, three print media) to DINFOS
for the Thomas Jefferson Awards. DINFOS makes the final selection of
judges in coordination with the American Forces Information Service.
Judges are professionals from the civilian broadcast and print journalism
Print journalism judges have included newspaper and magazine editors, authors of
journalism textbooks, university and college professors of journalism and
professionals in mass communication and public relations fields.
In judging the finalists in the print journalism categories, judges carefully
read and review articles, photographs, designs, artwork and the overall quality
of the finalists' work.
Broadcast journalism judges view finalists' work in each category for
creativity, full use of available equipment and the ability to convey command
information to the audience.