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Long Island University Announces Winners of 2002 George Polk Awards

Brooklyn, N.Y. — Journalists tackling tough issues in turbulent times are among those being honored at the 2002 George Polk Awards Ceremony on April 10, 2003. Their work, which focuses on subjects ranging from the conflict in the Middle East to the crisis in the Catholic Church to the disturbing plight of the mentally ill, captures the spirit and integrity of investigative journalism at its best.

Click here for the winners at a glance >>

Career Award

Morley Safer of CBS News received the Polk Career Award. Joining the network in 1964, Safer brought television’s first critical reports of the Vietnam War into American living rooms. His 1965 broadcast of United States Marines burning the village of Cam Ne turned the tide of public opinion during that conflict and transformed war reporting forever. Co-editor for "60 Minutes" since 1970, his work, including a landmark piece that helped exonerate a Texas man wrongly convicted of murder, has consistently illustrated his indefatigable commitment to the pursuit of truth.

The Boston Globe received two George Polk Awards. Correspondent Anthony Shadid won the Polk Award for Foreign Reporting for his 10-part series on the Middle East. Despite great risk to his own life — he was shot and seriously wounded in Ramallah —Shadid filed reports that conveyed the anger, despair and policies that have shaped the conflict. www.boston.com/globe/shadid

In addition, a team of Globe reporters and editors received the Polk Award for National Reporting. Their yearlong series, "Crisis in the Catholic Church," exposed widespread sexual abuse by priests as well as the questionable way in which Church officials handled the matter. The stories led to the resignation of Cardinal Bernard F. Law. http://www.boston.com/globe/spotlight/abuse

The New York Times also received two George Polk Awards. Clifford J. Levy received the Polk Award for Regional Reporting for a year-long investigation that resulted in the series, "Broken Homes," revealing the plight of 15,000 mentally ill adults housed in squalid New York State-licensed facilities. Levy’s work revealed how state officials had ignored high death rates at the homes for more than 25 years. As a result, federal and state attorneys are taking action and elected officials have promised greater resources and oversight. http://www.nytimes.com/brokenhomes

Walt Bogdanich, Barry Meier and Mary Williams Walsh of The Times won the Polk Award for Health Care Reporting for "Medicine’s Middlemen." Their in-depth series showed that two private companies cornered the market on the sale of drugs, medical devices and other supplies to many hospitals, inflating costs while distributing inferior products. The series prompted six separate government investigations. http://www.nytimes.com/2002/10/08/business/08BUYE.html

Sonia Nazario and photographer Don Bartletti of the Los Angeles Times won the Polk Award for International Reporting for a six-part series, "Enrique’s Journey." They traveled 800 miles by freight train, braving thieves and gangs to retrace the harrowing journey of a Honduran youth to the United States, capturing the hardships faced by the scores of Latin Americans who migrate north each year. http://www.latimes.com/news/specials/enrique/

Debbie Salamone with Ramsey Campbell and Robert Sargent of the Orlando Sentinel won the George Polk Award for Environmental Reporting for the 12-part series, "Florida’s Water Crisis." Her detailed but accessible reports about the risks that unfettered growth poses to the state’s drinking water drew attention from the public as well as from planning groups and public officials.

Michael Luo, national writer for the Associated Press, won the Polk Award for Criminal Justice Reporting for "Small Town Justice." His three-part series questioned the confessions and manslaughter convictions of three poor, mentally handicapped African Americans in Butler, Alabama. Drawing national attention to the case, the series led to the release of two defendants; a third is in prison for an unrelated crime.

Ellen E. Schultz and Theo Francis of The Wall Street Journal won the Polk Award for Financial Reporting for a complex investigation into how some employers secretly use benefit plans, such as life insurance policies, to generate billions of dollars for themselves, even as their employees’ benefit assets dwindle. In response, Congressional committees are considering new guidelines requiring corporations to acquire written consent from their employees before entering into these types of arrangements. ../polk/press/wsj.html

Stephen Kiernan and Cadence Mertz of The Burlington Free Press (Vt.) won the Polk Award for Medical Reporting for their Code of Silence series, revealing how the state withheld essential information about medical incompetence and health care fraud, protecting physicians and hospitals. The reports led to the loss of medical licenses, changes in state law and an investigation of Vermont’s largest hospital. http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/specialnews/silence/index.htm

Arnold S. Relman and Marcia Angell won the Polk Award for Magazine Reporting for their report in of The New Republic, "America’s Other Drug Problem." The article documented that pharmaceutical companies spend far more of their substantial profits on advertising and lobbying efforts than they do on drug research and development. ../polk/press/tnrdrugpiece.pdf

Jason Riley and R.G. Dunlop of The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Kentucky, won the Polk Award for Local Reporting for exposing a county judicial system rife with misplaced, mismanaged and delayed cases. The three-part "Justice Delayed, Justice Denied" series on Bullitt County’s backlog prompted action by the state’s highest court and its attorney general.

Phil Williams and Bryan Staples at WTVF in Nashville, Tennessee, received a Polk Award for Television Reporting for "Friends in High Places," a series revealing potential ethics violations by then-Tennessee Governor Don Sundquist. The telecasts prompted investigations by the FBI, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and state auditors, as well as action by legislators to reform contract procedures.http://newschannel5.com/news/investigates/friends/email.htm

Susan Sontag received the Polk Award for Cultural Criticism for "Looking At War," a nuanced essay in The New Yorker, examining the history of modern warfare through the photographer’s lens and the impact of photojournalism on people’s perceptions of war.
Originally published in the New Yorker, Copyright 2002 Susan Sontag.

Click here for the winners at a glance >>

On Wednesday, April 9, 2003, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., the Annual Polk Awards Seminar will be held at HBO Theater, 1100 Avenue of the Americas, 15th floor, New York City. Morley Safer, Sonia Nazario and Don Bartletti will discuss "The Power of the Image in International Reporting." The seminar is free and open to the public.

On Thursday April 10, 2003, Long Island University will present the Polk Awards at a luncheon at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City. The poster exhibit displaying the winners’ work and the reception will begin at 11:00 a.m. The luncheon will begin at noon.

For information on the seminar or the awards luncheon, call Long Island University Department of Special Events at (516) 299-4196.

About the George Polk Awards, Long Island University and the Brooklyn Campus

George Polk Awards

Established by the University in 1949, the George Polk Awards for Journalism memorialize a CBS correspondent slain covering a civil war in Greece and rank among America’s most coveted journalism honors.

Long Island University

Celebrating 76 years of access to the American dream through excellence in higher education, Long Island University is a multi-campus, diverse, doctoral institution of higher learning. As the nation’s seventh-largest private university, we offer 563 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degree programs and certificates, and educate more than 31,000 students on six metropolitan area campuses in Brooklyn, Brookville (C.W. Post), Southampton, Brentwood, Rockland and Westchester. The Arnold & Marie Schwartz College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences prepares students for successful careers in the continually growing fields of pharmacy and health care. The University’s Friends World program offers a wide range of study abroad options in North America and at six overseas locations. Our nearly 700 full-time faculty members provide outstanding instruction that is supplemented by exceptional internships and cooperative education opportunities. The accomplishments of more than 116,000 living alumni are a true testament to the success of our mission – providing the highest level of education to people from all walks of life. Our NCAA Division I & II athletic teams, nationally renowned George Polk Awards in journalism, Tilles Center for the Performing Arts and the Long Island University Public Radio network (WLIU-FM and WCWP-FM), provide excitement and enrichment for our students and the communities that we serve.

The Brooklyn Campus...

with distinguished dynamic curricula reflecting the great urban community it serves. Distinctive programs encompass the arts and media, natural sciences, business, social policy, urban education, the health professions, and the Arnold & Marie Schwartz College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, all on a pluralistic campus that draws insight and strength from differences. The Campus offers Ph.D. programs in clinical psychology and pharmaceutics, the D.P.T. in physical therapy as well as the Pharm.D. in pharmacy. Construction will begin on a new Performing Arts Complex – including the 350-seat Steven and Peggy Kumble Theater – and a $35 million recreation, athletics and wellness center within the next year.