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Journalists Honored at Annual Polk Awards

By Jenny Edengard
Staff Writer

New York Times reporters received Polk Awards for excellence in Business Reporting. Photo:
New York Times reporters received Polk Awards for excellence in Business Reporting.

The George Polk Awards will be presented at a luncheon on April 10 at The Roosevelt Hotel in Manhattan from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. The George Polk Awards for journalism were founded by LIU in 1949 to memorialize CBS correspondent George Polk, who was killed in 1948 while covering The Civil War in Greece.

Students can attend the luncheon by purchasing tickets in advance for $100 each, at “Although students have to buy tickets to attend, student tickets are dramatically discounted,” Michael Glickman, LIU’s Chief of Strategic Partnerships and University Advancement, said. The original cost for an event ticket is $250.

The Polk Awards recognize and award brave reporters, instead of news organizations or publishers that are more commonly emphasized. The goal is to award and bring to light courageous reporters committed to informing the public, even at the risk of their own life and liberty. The awards, given out each spring by LIU Brooklyn, support and celebrate pioneering journalists who work across all media, making The George Polk Award one of America’s most prestigious and desirable journalism awards.

The awards are granted to journalists who show excellence and originality in their reporting on serious and secretive matters such as abuse of power, the endangered public, corrupt officials, war criminals, and corporate cheats who circumvent the poor. Reporters are also awarded if their stories accomplish results such as raising awareness for important issues.

The prize has honored work across all media platforms, and winners are named each year in almost a dozen categories. The list of winners varies from the biggest names in journalism, such as Sidney Schanberg, Christine Amanpour, and Seymour Hersh, to non-prevailing reporters. However, on occasion, an award is given to people outside of the news reporting profession, such as when Oliver Sacks, an author and neurologist, was rewarded for his article “An Anthropologist of Mars”, “An Anthropologist on Mars”Polk Award for Magazine Reporting, “An Anthropologist on Mars” Polk Award for Magazine Reporting, “An Anthropologist on Mars”in 1994.

The winners are chosen from among hundreds of nominees that are referred by the Polk Advisory Board, which is a panel of news-business influencers. In addition, nominations are welcomed from reporters, the public, and news organizations. A jury of educators and communicators that has a connection to the university makes the

final judging. At the awards luncheon, honors are paid to journalists who have died in the line of duty. A list of the deceased, assembled by the Committee to Protect Journalists, is read to memorialize them, and to bring attention to the danger journalists face when covering serious matters, as well as symbolizes why the Polk Awards is of much importance.

LIU Brooklyn’s journalism department will hold a George Polk Seminar, which is a discussion about the award-winning efforts of prize recipients. The seminar will be held on April 9 at the Kumble Theatre at LIU Brooklyn from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. Reservations can be made at or 718- 488-1624. “The seminar is open to everyone, Post is very much a part of the Polk awards, and we would love to see Post students attend the seminar,” Glickman said.

Sandra Mardenfeld, the director of the Journalism program at Post had no comment about the Polk awards because she said that Post is not a part of the ceremony.

“The Brooklyn campus has different programs than Post and vice versa,” Glickman said, explaining why LIU Brooklyn hosts the Polk Awards and not LIU Post. “Post has the Tilles Center, which [Brooklyn doesn’t]; there are some differences [between the campuses]. [But], the [Polk Awards] seminar is a LIU community event, where Post alumni, faculty and students are welcomed”.

“I wouldn’t go all the way to the Brooklyn campus for the Polk seminar,” said Errol Nicholson, a junior Journalism major.

At this year’s awards ceremony, the Award for Foreign Reporting will be given to Politico’s Rania Abouzeid for an extensive and authoritative account, “The Jihad Next Door: The Syrian Roots of Iraq’s Newest Civil War.”

The George Polk Award for International Reporting will be given to Rukmini Callimachi for her article, “Paying Ransom, Europe Bankrolls Qaeda Terror,” published in The New York Times on July 29, 2014. “

The George Polk Award for National Reporting will be given to Carol Leonnig of The Washington Post, who will be recognized for a series of exclusive reports including, “Secret Service Fumbled Response after Gunman Hit White House Residence in 2011” and “White House Fence-jumper Made it Far Deeper into Building than Previously Known”.

The George Polk Award for Magazine Reporting will be given to James Verini of National Geographic, for “Should the United Nations Wage War to Keep Peace?” a fascinating and prolifically illustrated 11,000-word story.

For the full list of the winners, visit

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