And the winner is…

Cy Young Award winner announced.

by Kathy Lovin –

Stephanie Gustafson receives the Cy Young award from Lt. Colonel Ray Peacock.

In March, the Western Territory’s Community Relations and Development Department named the third winner of the CY YOUNG AWARD for Story Pitching to the public relations professional in the West who submitted work that exemplified the finest effort in media pitching. The six-month contest period covered July through December 2007 and the winner is Stephanie Gustafson, from the Intermountain Division.

Gustafson’s entry included several stories she researched and pitched to her local CBS affiliate to support their Christmas food drive. Each story was an opportunity for Stephanie to feature something different about the work and ministry of The Salvation Army. Out of about a dozen feature stories, the judges’ three favorites were, 1) the top online Red Kettle bell ringer in the U.S., who lives in Denver, 2) a long-time member of the Red Shield who was the victim of a drive-by shooting, and 3) a single dad living with his two kids at the Lambuth Family Center.

Not only did Gustafson find strong stories to tell, but also the reporters and anchors were well prepared to talk about the Army and make a pitch for viewers to support the station’s food drive. The resulting pieces were excellent, high quality work that would not have been as impressive if not for Gustafson’s diligence in finding and pitching the best Salvation Army stories. Please visit and type Salvation Army in the search box to watch examples of Gustafson’s great pitching effort.

The next CY YOUNG AWARD for Story Pitching will be given to the winning entry for the period covering January 1 through June 30, 2008. Story pitches can cover a range of ideas, including human interest features on Army staff or clients, programs, special events, disaster relief, holiday or seasonal activities, announcements and anniversaries, to any other idea that has the potential of attracting media interest in the work of the Army.

Any Salvation Army employee or officer who pitches stories to their local media as a part of their job can submit examples of their best work for consideration, such as a news release, media alert, pitch letter, or email transcripts of a story pitch. Entries will be accepted from personnel in divisional headquarters, county or city commands, corps, programs or any other Salvation Army unit in the Western Territory. Work submitted must be story pitching materials produced in the current six-month period. Qualifying entries will be judged on the following criteria:
Creative expression of the Salvation Army mission
Originality of pitch concept
Quality of writing
Application of sound public relations’ principles and tactics
Effective use of statistics, quotes, and headlines
Last but not least—success in attracting media outlets!

If you have any questions about the CY YOUNG AWARD for Story Pitching contest or would like to submit materials for consideration, please contact Kathy Lovin in the Territorial Headquarters Community Relations and Development Department by email at

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