David Begnaud, Ronan Farrow, Elle Reeve, Nima Elbagir, Raja Razek Among 2017 Polk Award Winners

By A.J. Katz Comment

For the first time ever, winners of the Long Island University 69th annual George Polk Awards in Journalism were announced at the National Press Club this morning in Washington.

Out of 485 submissions, there were 17 winners who were honored by the New York-based committee for “intrepid, bold, and influential work… placing a premium on investigative work that is original, resourceful, and thought-provoking.”

“I think we can all agree that 2017 was an extraordinary year for news” remarked Polk Awards curator John Darnton (a two-time Polk Award winner himself for his work at The New York Times). “…It’s a time of both crisis and triumph for responsible news media, of vilification and vindication. They’re attacked almost daily as purveyors of ‘fake news’ to undermine their credibility. Yet they’ve delivered on their promise to keep the…public informed.”

In addition to Polk Award winners from the print and digital journalism realms, a number of TV newsers were recognized their work in 2017 as well:

  • CBS News correspondent David Begnaud won the Public Service Award for his coverage of Hurricane Maria. He became widely known, particularly among Puerto Ricans, for documenting breaking news from the hardest hit parts of the island via social media. One of his interviews with the Governor of Puerto Rico was credited for bringing awareness about the lack of supplies being delivered to the residents.
  • Vice News’s Elle Reeve won the National Television Reporting Award for her coverage of the white supremacist protests in Charlottesville.
  • CNN’s Nima Elbagir (London-based) and Raja Razek (Egypt-based) won the Foreign Television Reporting Award for investigating and uncovering slave auctions of African refugees in Libya.
  • Ronan Farrow won the National Reporting Award for his work exposing Harvey Weinstein, and the acts of sexual harassment he perpetrated for decades.

Darnton also recognized Vice News, BuzzFeed and Intercept in his remarks.

The 2017 Polk Award winners will be honored at a luncheon ceremony at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York on April 6.

The George Polk Awards were established in 1949 at LIU in memory of George Polk, a CBS News correspondent who was murdered in 1948 while covering the civil war in Greece.

George Polk laureates include Walter Cronkite, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, Walter Cronkite, Edward R. Murrow, Christiane Amanpour, Peter Jennings, Norman Mailer, Diane Sawyer,Thomas Friedman, Bill Moyers, and more.

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