By Dialogo April 04, 2012 On March 20-21, military and civilian journalists, web gurus and social communicators from various levels and ranks across Central and South America came together at the United States Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) for an editorial exchange of ideas and information for collaboration. SOUTHCOM’s Diálogo magazine staff hosted the first Senior Editor’s Conference in its headquarters, where 17 members of equivalent Military and defense magazines from Brazil, Chile, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay and Peru met to discuss editorial topics common to all, including surviving under the current economic realities facing defense budgets the world over. Vice Admiral Joseph Kernan, Military Deputy Commander at SOUTHCOM, highlighted the importance of the work journalists carry out as communicators. “I think there’s a lesson to be learned no matter the ups and downs of our countries: the Militaries are always committed to the same thing, we are committed to our people and you [journalists] all have a big responsibility to communicate this to our people… to connect to our young people.” Some representatives, such as Brazilian Navy Vice-Admiral ® Armando De Senna Bittencourt, of the Brazilian Maritime Magazine and Navigator magazine, discussed the importance of keeping history alive (with printed products) in the face of an all-encompassing digital approach that is pushing publications everywhere to the Web. “Our publication serves as a historical reference, not only of the Navy, but of Brazil itself as seen from the sea,” said Vice-Admiral De Senna Bittencourt. On the other hand, the Chilean Military’s Joint General Staff Command representatives, journalist Javier Briones Bellet and Chilean Navy Captain Javier Sánchez Liberona, highlighted the fact that they are a digital-only media source, not only for environmental reasons and budgetary restrictions, but also because there is no limit to the audience they can reach. “This allows our public to be more interactive… and this approach generates a collaborative team effort across all levels,” he added. Still, Briones Bellet pointed out that the Joint Command is “the exception to the rule” because each individual branch of the Chilean Armed Forces continues to produce printed magazines. Others proudly boasted of the importance of the messages their publications carry to their populations in an effort to highlight the positive actions of their Armed Forces. “Peru moves forward, develops because its Armed Forces are there to provide it security,” said Army Colonel Alejandro Teobaldo Luján Castro, of the Peruvian Armed Forces Joint Command magazine, Comando en Acción. Colonel Freddy Fuentes Yancor, representing the Guatemalan Army’s Joint Command Military Magazine, expressed that through their publication, they are “exporting peace to other countries.” Diálogo magazine’s Editorial Conference brought together partner nations in an editorial context, opening a forum where participants realized they all face similar concerns about budgetary restrictions and keeping up with modern technological advances. As a result, agreements were made to initiate a collaborative approach in which partner nations will promote information sharing among each other by cross-referencing resources, exchanging articles, photos and facts on events and exercises relevant to the entire region. Congratulations to Dialogo Magazine for promoting this exchange with editors of Central and South America. Definitely this first conference has been a major initiative of the Southern Command of the United States in order to fulfill the purpose of information exchange between publications of the armies of America and the Caribbean. Dear colleagues of DiÃ¡logo Magazine, thanks for sharing this fine article. I hope you continue to have success in your work and that the goals and objectives set for this meeting are met. Best regards. Excellent initiative of the Southern Command, the armed forces of the continent must let their people know about the work they carry out against terrorism, organized crime and the search for regional peace and alert them about the threats that these scourges inflict on the economy and the growth of our nations. There must be a way to massify military magazines so they can be read by a greater % of citizens. M Robles Lieutenant Colonel DEM retired from the Nicaraguan army.