Long Island University announces winners of 13 George Polk Awards in Journalism for 2010

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New America Media’s Sandy Close will be presented the George Polk Career Award


The New York Times and the independent non-profit news organization ProPublica each earned two Polk Awards, while the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel was honored with a Polk Award for the third-straight year. Judges twice awarded the collaborative efforts of multiple news organizations. ProPublica, The Times-Picayune of New Orleans and PBS’ “Frontline” won the George Polk Award for Television Reporting, while ProPublica and National Public Radio joined forces to produce work that garnered them the Polk Award for Radio Reporting.

The George Polk Career Award will be presented to Sandy Close, executive director of New America Media, an alternative news source that supports thousands of ethnic media outlets. For 37 years, Ms. Close has guided the pioneering efforts of New America Media, formerly known as the Pacific News Service. She has mentored many journalists who now work in the mainstream press, including A.C. Thompson, one of this year’s winners of the Polk Award for Television Reporting. In 1995, Ms. Close received a MacArthur Foundation “Genius Award” fellowship; and in 1997, she co-produced the Academy Award-winning short documentary, “Breathing Lessons.” Perhaps her proudest moment in journalism came in 2007, when she organized the Chauncey Bailey Project, a team of reporters whose investigative work led Oakland police to arrest those responsible for killing Mr. Bailey, who was a Polk Award-winning journalist.

The 2010 George Polk Awards will be presented at a luncheon at The Roosevelt Hotel in Manhattan on Thursday, April 7, 2011. Associated Press correspondent and former CBS News reporter Kimberly Dozier, who was seriously injured in a 2006 car bombing in Iraq that killed two of her colleagues, will be the citation reader. The program also will include a special presentation to Wilbert Rideau, a former death row inmate who earned the 1979 George Polk Award for Special Interest Reporting while working as the editor of his Louisiana prison’s magazine. The annual George Polk Seminar will take place the preceding evening, Wednesday, April 6, 2011, at the Kumble Theater for Performing Arts on Long Island University’s Brooklyn Campus.

The George Polk Awards in Journalism are conferred annually to honor special achievement in journalism, with a premium placed on investigative and enterprise reporting. Ranked among America’s most coveted journalism honors, the George Polk Awards have been administered by Long Island University since 1949. They memorialize CBS correspondent George W. Polk, who was slain covering the civil war in Greece in 1948. A committee of jurors made up of University faculty members and alumni select the winners from entries submitted by journalists and news organizations as well as nominations made by a panel of journalists and editors, including a number of former winners.

For tickets to the George Polk Awards Luncheon, contact Long Island University’s Office of Special Events at 516-299-3298 or e-mail.

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