Jim Avila Wins WHCA Award For Cuba Coverage

By Chris Ariens 

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ABC’s Jim Avila will be presented the Merriman Smith award for outstanding coverage by the White House Correspondents’ Association at the annual Nerd Prom next month. Avila is being honored for his reporting from Cuba back in December. He was first to report the release of American prisoner Alan Gross which led to a re-start of normalized U.S. relations with the island nation.

The WHCA found that Avila “told the whole story on merciless deadlines. That’s the sort of excellence in presidential news coverage under deadline pressure that the Merriman Smith Award is meant to honor.”

On that day, during a break from reporting, Avila told TVNewser, “We had information that Gross would be released this week, for about a month. We held it back at the request of both the White House and the attorney representing Alan Gross for fear that it would cost him his life. That’s why were were able to break it first.”

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