Long Island University Announces Winners of 2003 George Polk Awards
Journalists Honored for Excellence in 14 Categories
Peg Byron,Director of Public Relations
Long Island University
Brooklyn, N.Y. -- Long Island University has announced the winners of this year's George Polk Awards, among them journalists who have witnessed the horrors of war, uncovered dangerous working conditions, questioned federal actions taken in the name of national security, examined the global power of major corporations and exposed alleged corruption within the administration of a sitting governor. Their courage and dogged determination epitomize the spirit of the Awards, which are considered among the top honors for excellence in journalism. The Awards will be presented in 14 categories at a luncheon held at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City on April 2.
Somini Sengupta of The New York Times is the winner of the George Polk Award for Foreign Reporting. Sengupta's dispatches from the Congo, Liberia and other war-torn areas in West Africa lent both a political and human dimension to the horrific conflicts in the region that were not widely covered in the American press. She faced many dangerous logistical obstacles, often exposing herself to great personal risk in pursuit of her stories.
National Public Radio's Anne Garrels is the recipient of the George Polk Award for Radio Reporting in recognition of her outstanding coverage of the war in Iraq. Stationed in Baghdad during periods of heavy fighting, she worked alone without the help of a producer or engineer. As the only U.S. network broadcaster in Iraq's capital, she persevered through bombings, blackouts, diminished water supplies and the constant intimidation of the Iraqi secret police. Her vivid reports captured the terror, desperation, frustration and anger of Iraqi men, women and children under siege.
Carolyn Cole of the Los Angeles Times will be presented with the George Polk Award for Photojournalism. Her brutally honest portrayals of life in Iraq and Liberia conveyed the stark reality of everyday life during times of war. Both epic and intimate, her portraits revealed the human side of the violence in both countries.
Nancy Cleeland, Abigail Goldman, Evelyn Iritani and Tyler Marshall of the Los Angeles Times will receive the George Polk Award for Economics Reporting. Their series, "The Wal-Mart Effect," explored the way in which the world's largest corporation plays a role in shaping the cultures and economies of entire countries and exploits its workers and suppliers to ensure that it delivers "Every day low prices."
Pete Engardio, Aaron Bernstein and Manjeet Kripalani of BusinessWeek are the winners of the George Polk Award for Business Reporting. "Is Your Job Next?" their exposé on outsourcing, revealed how American corporations are relocating white-collar jobs to developing countries, whose skilled workers earn a fraction of the salaries paid to their U.S. counterparts.
David Barstow, Lowell Bergman, Neil Docherty, Linden MacIntyre and David Rummel are the recipients of the George Polk Award for Labor Reporting. "A Dangerous Business," a joint investigation by The New York Times , the Public Broadcasting Services program Frontline and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, demonstrated how lax enforcement of workplace safety rules at the foundries of McWane, Inc., a major producer of cast iron water and sewer pipes, contributed to work-related injuries of 4,500 workers and the deaths of nine. Federal investigations and the arrest of five senior plant managers ensued.
Cam Simpson, Flynn McRoberts and Liz Sly of the Chicago Tribune will be presented with the George Polk Award for National Reporting. Their series, "Tossed Out of America," uncovered how our government targeted men from Muslim countries living in the United States for mass deportation even though they posed no risk to national security. The reporters shed new light on federal ethnic and racial profiling practices, prompting the Department of Homeland Security to scrap part of the program.
The Center for Public Integrity will receive the George Polk Award for Internet Reporting, the first award of its kind, for "Windfalls of War: U.S. Contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan." His online reports led to print and broadcast coverage here and abroad that put the Pentagon on the defensive and spurred new Congressional oversight of military spending.
Southern Exposure magazine is the recipient of the George Polk Award for Magazine Reporting. Its investigation, "Banking on Misery: Citigroup, Wall Street and the Fleecing of the South," exposed how the predatory lending practices of powerful corporations victimize mostly low-income, African-American and elderly southerners. The report also outlined steps regulators and consumers can take to guard against such exploitation.
Dave Altimari, Jon Lender and Edmund H. Mahony of the Hartford Courant are the winners of the George Polk Award for State Reporting. Their stories raised questions about Connecticut Governor John G. Rowlands' dealings with state contractors as well as his use of state workers for personal home improvements. Rowlands now faces state and federal investigations and possible impeachment.
Daniel Golden of The Wall Street Journal will be presented with the George Polk Award for Education Reporting. In four meticulously documented front-page stories, he revealed how "white affirmative action" benefits children of alumni and prospective donors of elite schools. The articles intensified the national debate over affirmative action programs for applicants of color and possibly influenced the U.S. Supreme Court's decision affirming the constitutionality of such programs.
Duff Wilson, Brian Joseph and Sheila Farr of The Seattle Times will receive the George Polk Award for Local Reporting. Exposing a local gallery’s unscrupulous dealings, "The Art of Deception" traced forged Asian art and artifacts to a noted Hong Kong-based economist who also was a former University of Washington professor. Their findings prompted state and federal actions and closure of the gallery.
Andrew Smith and Liviu Tipurita will be the recipients of the George Polk Award for Television Reporting. From Romania to Italy, sometimes taping undercover, they documented the sexual exploitation of homeless, desperate children in "Easy Prey: Inside the Child Sex Trade," which was featured on CNN Presents.
The George Polk Career Award winner is F. Gilman Spencer, former editor of The Denver Post, New York Daily News, Philadelphia Daily News and The Trentonian. Spencer was nominated for the award by a coterie of distinguished journalists, who cited his unflinching style and boundless energy as having inspired and nurtured some of this generation's finest editors, reporters and columnists.
On Thursday April 1, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., the annual George Polk Awards Seminar will be held at the HBO Theater, 1100 Avenue of the Americas, 15th floor, New York City. A panel of Polk Award winners will discuss "Muckraking in a Global Age," with ABC News Special Correspondent Robert Krulwich as moderator. The seminar is free and open to the public. A reception honoring F. Gilman Spencer, the winner of the George Polk Career Award, will follow.
On, Friday, April 2, Long Island University will present the George Polk Awards at a luncheon at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City. The poster exhibit displaying the winners' work will begin at 11:00 a.m. The luncheon will begin at noon. For information on the seminar or the awards luncheon, call Long Island University’s Department of Special Events at (516) 299-4196.
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