First-time George Polk Award winners recognized at National Press Club

Feb. 24, 2018

Three online publications clinched a George Polk Award in Journalism for the first time in the 69-year history of the awards.

BuzzFeed, VICE News and The Intercept were among 17 winners announced last week at the National Press Club in advance of an awards luncheon in April in New York.

John Darnton, curator of the Polk Awards, said of the newer organizations: “They are having more and more influence over the daily news.” 

Staff at The New York Times and Washington Post received a special recognition award for revealing ties between the Kremlin and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, which led to an investigation by the Justice Department and the appointment of a special prosecutor.

“Frankly, it became impossible to select one over the other,” Darnton said. “We thought it was not just futile, but in a way, almost unfair.”

The awards are given out by Long Island University and named for George Polk, a CBS correspondent murdered in 1948 while covering the Greek civil war.

The 69th Annual George Polk Award winners: 

The staff of The New York Times and The Washington Post — Special Award for uncovering connections between Trump campaign officials and well-connected Russians, which triggered the investigation by Robert Mueller III.

Iona Craig of The Intercept – Foreign Reporting Award for documenting the civilian casualties caused by a U.S. Navy SEAL raid in Yemen.

Judy Kantor and Megan Twohey of The New York Times and Ronan Farrow of The New Yorker — National Reporting Award for exposing the decades-long sexual assault and harassment by movie producer Harvey Weinstein.

Melissa Segura of BuzzFeed — Local Reporting Award for drawing attention to a Chicago police detective who framed innocent men for murder; her stories led to their release.

Maria Perez of The Naples Daily News — Immigration Reporting Awards for exposing Florida companies that avoid compensating injured employees by hiring undocumented workers. And Antonia Farzan and Joseph Flaherty of the Phoenix New Times for uncovering that Motel 6 in Phoenix provided nightly guest rosters to ICE agents investigating undocumented immigrants.

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists — Financial Reporting Award for obtaining 13.4 million records that reveal how rich companies and wealthy individuals use financial manipulation to evade taxes; this is the second year in a row that the consortium has received a Polk award.

Nina Martin of ProPublica and Renee Montagne of NPR — Medical Reporting Award for explaining an alarming increase in maternal deaths in pregnancy and delivery in the United States

Stephanie McCrummen and Beth Reinhard of The Washington Post — Political Reporting Award for revealing that then-U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore of Alabama had sexually assaulted and pursued teenage girls.

Ben Taub of The New Yorker — Magazine Reporting Award for showing the devastation that has come with the shrinkage of Lake Chad in Africa. 

Adam Dean and Tomas Munita of The New York Times — Photography Award for capturing the Rohingya people fleeing from burning villages in Myanmar and journeying to ill-equipped refugee camps in Bangladesh.

Elle Reeve of VICE News — National Television Reporting Award for her documentation of the Charlottesville, Virginia, protests and the motivations and tactics of white nationalists.

Nima Elbagir and Raja Razek of CNN — Foreign Television Award for exposing a modern-day slave auction of African refugees in Libya.

David Begnaud of CBS News — Public Service Award for capturing the destruction of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and how the limited aid from the government has hurt the recovery there.

Gail Collins of The New York Times — Commentary Award for her satirical columns that probe the oddities of American politics and social mores.

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Three news outlets won George Polk Awards for Journalism for the first time: BuzzFeed, VICE News and The Intercept were among 17 winners announced last week at the National Press Club in advance of an awards luncheon in April in New York. You can read about the awards and how The New York Times and Washington Post reporters given a special award got their story.