The 2014 George Polk Awards in Journalism were presented on Friday, April 10, 2015 at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City. In the noble tradition of the awards’ namesake, this year’s ceremony recognized courageous reporters who risked their lives in 2014 uncover matters of critical importance to an informed public. Click here to see the full list of 2014 Polk laureates and read the winning stories.
This year, instead of two days of events bringing together the journalism-industry elite, the Polk Awards kicked off the festivities a day early with the presentation of the inaugural George Polk Documentary Film Award and screening of the award-winning documentary, Return to Homs, at BAMcinematék on Wednesday, April 8. The film follows two friends and a circle of brave but inexperienced insurgents determined to protect the city’s captive civilians. A handful of stranded amateur fighters hold out against the snipers, tanks, and mortars of the Syrian Army while their city crumbles around them. Academy Award-winning filmmaker and 2013 Polk laureate Laura Poitras (Citzenfour) presented the award to writer-director Talal Derki, followed by a question and answer session with the filmmakers.
The following evening brought together influential political cartoonists and editors to discuss the impact of comics and satire in journalism at the David J. Steinberg Seminar. Garry Trudeau, cartoonist, best known for the Pulitzer Prize-winning “Doonsesbury” comic strip; Jules Feiffer, prize-winning cartoonist, author, and playwright; and Moly Crabapple, artist, writer, and contributing editor for VICE, discussed their work in “Dangerous Lines: Cartoonists and Other Subversives.” The panel discussions and a lively question and answer session took place in the standing-room-only Kumble Theater at LIU Brooklyn’s downtown campus.
At the Polk Awards Ceremony luncheon on Friday, April 10, attendees were treated to the vivid, incredible, and sometimes heartbreaking stories behind the stories as each reporter took the stage to receive his or her award. The Polk Career Award was presented to cartoonist Garry Trudeau, who received a standing ovation from his peers before speaking candidly about free speech, cartoonists, and the future of journalism.