Long Island University Announces Polk Awards in Nationally Televised Event


Washington, D.C. — Elevating one of the most prestigious awards in journalism, Long Island University (LIU) held a nationally televised event at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., to announce the winners of the 69th Annual George Polk Awards.  The event continues the University’s longstanding tradition of honoring and celebrating the impact of courageous and authentic journalism on our national and global discourse.

Click here to watch C-SPAN’s coverage of the Polk Awards.

The event included opening remarks by LIU President Kimberly Cline and a special panel discussion on the role of the press moderated by Washington Post media columnist Margaret Sullivan and featuring top national correspondents Greg Miller of the Washington Post and Michael S. Schmidt of The New York Times.

“There is an interesting dichotomy between information and truth,” President Cline said.  “With smart phones and social media, we have never had more access to information.  And yet, truth is more elusive than ever.  The Polk Awards honor truth.”

In all, the Polk judging panel considered 485 submissions, resulting in 17 winners in 14 categories.  In three categories, the judges chose multiple winning entries.  The winning entries were announced by John Darnton, curator of the Polk Awards and recipient of two Polk Awards and a Pulitzer for his work with The New York Times.

The George Polk Awards are conferred annually to honor special achievement in journalism. The awards place a premium on investigative and enterprising reporting that gains attention and achieves results. They were established in 1949 by LIU to commemorate George Polk, a CBS correspondent murdered in 1948 while covering the Greek civil war.

The winners of the 69th Annual George Polk Awards will be honored at a luncheon ceremony at the Roosevelt Hotel in Manhattan on Friday, April 6, 2018. This year’s David J. Steinberg Seminar of the George Polk Awards will be held Thursday evening, April 5, 2018 at LIU Brooklyn’s Kumble Theater for the Performing Arts. The seminar topic will be announced shortly.  That event, which will start at 6:30 p.m., is free and open to the public.

Below are the winners of the 69th Annual George Polk Awards (for work published in 2017):

  • Special Award: The staff of The New York Times and the staff of The Washington Post for revealing ties between Trump campaign officials and Kremlin-connected Russians that gave rise to the Mueller investigation.
  • Foreign Reporting Award: Iona Craig of The Intercept for documenting the destruction and civilian casualties of a covert U.S. Navy SEAL raid on a remote village in Yemen.
  • National Reporting Award: Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey of The New York Times and Ronan Farrow of The New Yorker for exposing the decades-long sexual predation of the movie producer Harvey Weinstein and the campaign to cover it up.
  • Local Reporting Award: Melissa Segura of BuzzFeed for drawing attention to innocent men framed for murder by a Chicago police detective with stories that led to their release from prison.
  • Immigration Reporting Award: Maria Perez of The Naples Daily News shared the award for exposing the practice of Florida companies hiring undocumented workers in dangerous jobs to avoid compensating them when injured, in some cases by arranging their deportation. Antonia Farzan and Joseph Flaherty of Phoenix New Times also won for revealing that Motel 6 motels in Phoenix, Arizona, provided nightly guest rosters to ICE agents investigating undocumented immigrants.
  • Financial Reporting Award: The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists for mining a trove of 13.4 million records to reveal how corporate giants and prominent wealthy individuals use financial manipulations to evade taxes.
  • Medical Reporting Award: Nina Martin of ProPublica and Renee Montagne of NPR for explaining the reasons and portraying the tragedies behind an alarming increase in maternal deaths in pregnancy and delivery in the United States.
  • Political Reporting Award: Alice Crites, Stephanie McCrummen and Beth Reinhard of The Washington Post for digging into the past of U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore of Alabama to disclose on-the-record accounts of sexual assault upon a 14-year-old girl and his pursuit of other teenage girls.
  • Magazine Reporting Award: Ben Taub of The New Yorker for showing the humanitarian devastation caused by the shrinkage of Lake Chad in Africa and underlining the connection of the ecological disaster to famine and armed uprising.
  • Photography Award: Adam Dean and Tomas Munita of The New York Times for capturing the plight of the Rohingya people desperately fleeing burning villages in Myanmar and pouring into woefully ill-equipped refugee camps in Bangladesh.
  • National Television Reporting Award: Elle Reeve of VICE News for her on-the-scene up-close coverage of the protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, that probed the motivations and tactics of white nationalist leaders behind the rally that turned deadly in August.
  • Foreign Television Reporting Award: Nima Elbagir and Raja Razek of CNN for uncovering a hidden modern-day slave auction of African refugees in Libya.
  • Public Service Award: David Begnaud of CBS News for capturing the destructive power Hurricane Maria unleashed on Puerto Rico in September and documenting how limited aid from the federal and territorial governments delayed the island’s recovery.
  • Commentary Award: Gail Collins of The New York Times for her columns of satiric wit and neighborly wisdom that probe the oddities of American politics and social mores, skewering public figures on all sides of the aisle with equal-opportunity zest.