BY KATIE HINKLE | A&E EDITOR
On February 24, LIU announced the winners for the 73rd-annual George Polk Awards in Journalism. These winners are selected based on 18 different categories for their efforts and success in the reporting field in 2020.
The George Polk Awards began back in 1949 in honor of fallen reporter George Polk, who was a CBS correspondent murdered while covering the Greek Civil War, one year prior to the foundation of the awards.
“As always, we strike to identify reporters who do significant work, not just the news organizations themselves,” said John Darton, the curator of the awards, in an interview with the Associated Press.
With a record-setting 592 entries, a number of the winners stood out for their reporting in the unpredictable and unsettling year that was 2020. There were a variety of winners that dove into the topics of social equality, political controversies, and COVID-19. Needless to say, there was no lack of newsworthy events to be reported on last year.
LIU President Kimberly Cline sent an email to the LIU community to honor and celebrate the winners of the 73rd-annual awards ceremony. She gave a brief description of the awards, including some of the most-famed winners.
“In 2020, journalists played a critical role in documenting some of the most profound crises the world has ever faced,” President Cline said. “This year’s George Polk Award winners include reporters from top publications such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, Politico, The Atlantic, CNN, The New Yorker, BuzzFeed, VICE News and ProPublica.”
One of this year's winners, Stephanie McCrummen of The Washington Post, is especially noteworthy because this is her second George Polk Award, her first being back in 2017. This year she won for her political reporting on the intense political climate going on in Georgia.
Other major topics covered by winners included the COVID-19 pandemic, the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, and former President Trump’s controversial tax returns.
Another standout winner was under the Business Reporting category. Two reporters from BuzzFeed, Ryan Mac and Craig Silverman, were given the honor. They tackled the big tech company Facebook for their failure to act when it came to the spread of misinformation and violence. This was a sensitive subject in 2020 because Facebook was not the only social media giant getting away with this kind of behavior.
“This year, the outstanding reporting of these distinguished journalists told unprecedented stories of the greatest challenges our society has faced in generations,” said President Cline in a press release. “Long Island University is honored to recognize this year’s George Polk winners and their exceptional work as part of this long established tradition.”
Join Seawanhaka in congratulating this year’s incredible honorees! For the entire list of winners and more about the awards, visit the George Polk website!