Reporting based on NSA leaks wins award

Thursday, February 27, 2014
NEW YORK — Four journalists who reported on the extent of the National Security Agency’s secret surveillance based on documents leaked by Edward Snowden are among the winners of the 65th annual George Polk Awards in Journalism.

Glenn Greenwald, Ewen Mac-Askill and Laura Poitras of The Guardian and Barton Gellman of The Washington Post will receive the award for national security reporting for stories based on secret documents leaked by Snowden, a former intelligence analyst.

The awards were announced Sunday by Long Island University.

Journalists who wrote about massive traffic jams caused by bridge lane closures in New Jersey, a catastrophic garment factory collapse in Bangladesh and the struggles of a homeless family in Brooklyn also will be among those honored.

The Polk Awards were created in 1949 in honor of CBS reporter George W. Polk, who was killed while covering the Greek civil war. This year’s awards will be given out April 11. Kimberly Dozier of The Associated Press will read the citations at the ceremony.

James Yardley of The New York Times will be honored for foreign reporting for coverage of the Rana Plaza collapse in Bangladesh, which killed more than 1,100 clothing workers.

The award for national reporting will go to Eli Saslow of The Washington Post for stories about some of the 47 million Americans who receive aid from the federal food stamp program.

Shawn Boburg of The Record of Northern New Jersey will be recognized in the state reporting category for articles on lane closures on the George Washington Bridge in September that created a monumental traffic jam in Fort Lee, N.J., and set the stage for later stories on the involvement of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s office.

Andrea Elliott of The New York Times will receive the award for local reporting for “Invisible Child,” her five-part series focusing on Dasani Coates, one of 22,000 homeless children in New York City.

The award for political reporting will go to Rosalind Helderman, Laura Vozzella and Carol Leonnig of The Washington Post for reporting on the relationship between former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and a wealthy entrepreneur. Their stories spurred a federal investigation that resulted in a 14-count indictment of McDonnell and his wife, Maureen.

Two entries examining treatment of the mentally ill will share the award for medical reporting. Meg Kissinger of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel will be honored for a series of stories on the Milwaukee County mental health system, and Cynthia Hubert and Phillip Reese of the Sacramento Bee will be cited for their expose of a Las Vegas psychiatric hospital’s practice of exporting patients to locales across the country via Greyhound bus.

Columnist, author and editor Pete Hamill will be honored with the George Polk Career Award.