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Polk Awards Announced -- Honor 8 Papers from New York to Oregon

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Polk Awards Announced -- Honor 8 Papers from New York to Oregon

Article excerpt

Eight newspapers, from The New York Times to the weekly Lakefront Outlook of Chicago, were named winners of the George K. Polk Awards on Tuesday.

Long Island University presents the prizes named for the famed reporter.

Among the subjects that earned prize winners their honors were the Darfur genocide, housing rip-offs in Florida, environmental dangers, and mental illness among soldiers in Iraq. Spike Lee also won for his HBO film about New Orleans after Katrina.

The awards will be presented in New York City on April 12.

New York Times correspondent Lydia Polgreen took the foreign reporting award for her coverage of "the war-torn western regions of Sudan," the release stated. "Her courageous and often exclusive reporting gave voice to the victims of the conflict," judges added. "Terrified villagers and displaced survivors - alerting the world to their suffering and to the regional spread of the violence as it extended into neighboring Chad."

The Hartford Courant's Lisa Chedekel and Matthew Kauffman were honored with the military reporting prize for a four-part series titled, "Mentally Unfit, Forced to Fight," which reported on the "high rate of suicide among American troops and the lackluster mental health screening and treatment offered by the military."

Robert Little of The Sun of Baltimore, is honored in the medical reporting category for his three-part series, "Dangerous Remedy," which investigated the use of an experimental, blood-coagulating drug, Recombinant Activated Factor VII, in more than 1,000 soldiers.

Kenneth R. Weiss and Usha Lee McFarling of the Los Angeles Times took the environmental reporting award for a five-part investigation, "Altered Oceans," which looked at "far-flung, yet alarming phenomena such as virulent rashes suffered by fishermen in Australia, brain-damaged sea lions washing up onto California's coast, red tides sickening beachgoers in Florida and the deaths of 200,000 albatross chicks on Midway Atoll."

The Wall Street Journal's Charles Forelle, James Bandler and Mark Maremont won for business reporting. They revealed the "widespread practice of backdating stock-option awards that allow executives to buy low and sell high, greatly increasing their compensation. The stories shook corporate giants from Apple to UnitedHealth Group and triggered federal investigations into whether shareholders were deceived at more than 130 companies."

In national reporting, it was Jeff Kosseff, Bryan Denson and Les Zaitz of The Oregonian in Portland for their ongoing reports that "uncovered the failure of a multibillion-dollar federal program that was intended to help people with severe disabilities find employment. …

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