On Friday, Long Island University handed out its 2013 George Polk Awards. However, due to a recovery from a recent illness, latest career achievement recipient and local newspaper legend Pete Hamill was unable to attend.
From the 17th floor of an east side Manhattan hospital, here’s what the Daily News columnist and paper’s former EIC had to say about that:
“George Polk was a great reporter who was murdered while covering the Greek Civil War in 1948. He had more personal courage than any of the guys who start the wars that reporters risk their lives to cover. But he died trying to bring the world the story.”
“To be given a lifetime achievement award named for a great reporter who gave his life to this noble craft is humbling. It’s why I will cherish it. It’s why I’m so p—– off to be in this goddamned hospital instead of at the award ceremony.”
Hamill’s brother Denis, also an award-winning Daily News columnist, accepted on Pete’s behalf. The honored Hamill got into the newspaper business “by accident” in 1960 when he wrote a letter-to-the-editor to the New York Post.
On Thursday night, prior to the Polk awards presentations, fellow 2013 winners Andrea Elliot (New York Times), Eli Saslow (Washington Post) and Alison Fitzgerald (Center for Public Integrity) took part in a panel discussion at LIU Brooklyn’s Kumble Theater titled “Covering Inequality in America.” Congrats to all recipients.