L.A. Times Journalists Honored With Two Polk Awards

From a Times Staff Writer

The Los Angeles Times and the New York Times each won two prestigious George Polk Awards, named for a CBS correspondent who was slain while covering a civil war in Greece in 1948.

Veteran Times photographer Carolyn Cole will receive the Polk award for photojournalism for “her brutally honest portrayals of life in Iraq and Liberia,” which “conveyed the stark reality of everyday life during times of war.” The judges said Cole’s portraits “revealed the human side of the violence in both countries.”

For the record:

12:00 a.m. Feb. 18, 2004 For The Record
Los Angeles Times Wednesday February 18, 2004 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 45 words Type of Material: Correction
Polk award -- In an article in Tuesday’s Section A, the name of the George Polk Career Award winner was incorrectly given as F. Spencer Gilman. He is F. Gilman Spencer, former editor of the New York Daily News, Philadelphia Daily News and the Trentonian.

Four Los Angeles Times reporters -- Nancy Cleeland, Abigail Goldman, Evelyn Iritani and Tyler Marshall -- will receive the award for economics reporting for their three-part series “The Wal-Mart Effect,” which “explored the way in which the world’s largest corporation plays a role in shaping the cultures and economies of entire countries and exploits its workers and suppliers to ensure that it delivers everyday low prices.”


The stories explained in detail how an Arkansas five-and-dime grew into a company so powerful that foreign governments send emissaries to its headquarters and how the company’s policies influence wages and working conditions in workplaces ranging from the supermarkets of Southern California to the garment factories of Bangladesh.

Somini Sengupta of the New York Times won foreign reporting for her dispatches from the Congo, Liberia and other war-torn areas in West Africa. The judges said Sengupta exposed herself “to great personal risk in pursuit of her stories.”

New York Times reporters David Barstow and Lowell Bergman, working in conjunction with Neil Docherty, Linden MacIntyre of PBS’ “Frontline” and the Canadian Broadcasting Corp., won the labor reporting award for “A Dangerous Business,” a joint investigation that demonstrated how lax enforcement at the foundries of McWane Inc., a major producer of cast-iron water and sewer pipes, contributed to job-related injuries of 4,500 workers and the deaths of nine. The report led to federal investigations and the arrests of five senior plant managers.

The other winners are:

* Anne Garrels of National Public Radio won for radio reporting “in recognition of her outstanding coverage of the war in Iraq.” The judges noted that Garrels was “the only U.S. network broadcaster in Iraq’s capital” persevering through bombings, blackouts, a lack of water and “the constant intimidation of the Iraqi secret police,” even though she worked alone without a producer or engineer.

* Pete Engardio, Aaron Bernstein and Manjet Kripalani of Business Week won the business reporting award for “Is Your Job Next?” an expose on outsourcing that revealed how American corporations were relocating white-collar jobs to developing countries whose skilled workers earn a fraction of the salaries paid to their U.S. counterparts.

* Cam Simpson, Flynn McRoberts and Liz Sly of the Chicago Tribune won the national reporting award for their series “Tossed Out of America,” which “uncovered how the U.S. government targeted men from Muslim countries for mass deportation” in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, “even though they posed no risk to national security.”


* Dave Altimari, Jon Lender and Edmund H. Mahony of the Hartford Courant won for state reporting for stories that raised questions about Connecticut Gov. John G. Rowland’s dealings with state contractors and his use of state workers for personal home improvements. Rowland is now the subject of state and federal investigations.

* Duff Wilson, Brian Joseph and Sheila Farr of the Seattle Times won for local reporting for an expose of a local art gallery’s unscrupulous dealings.

* Daniel Golden of the Wall Street Journal won for education reporting for a series revealing how white “affirmative action” benefits children of alumni and prospective donors of elite colleges.

* Southern Exposure magazine won for its report “Banking on Misery: Citigroup, Wall Street and the Fleecing of the South,” which “exposed how predatory lending practices of powerful corporations victimize mostly low-income, African Americans and elderly Southerners.”

* Charles Lewis of the Center for Public Integrity won for Internet reporting, the first award of its kind, for “Windfalls of War: U.S. Contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan,” online stories that “led to print and broadcast coverage ... that put the Pentagon on the defensive and spurred new congressional oversight of military spending.”

* Andrew Smith and Liviu Tipurita won for television reporting for “Easy Prey: Inside the Child Sex Trade,” a series on sexual exploitation of homeless children, shown on CNN Presents.


* F. Spencer Gilman, former editor of the New York Daily News, Philadelphia Daily News and the Trentonian won the Polk Career Award. He was cited for his “unflinching style and boundless energy as having inspired and nurtured some of this generation’s finest editors, reporters and columnists.”

The awards, sponsored by Long Island University, will be presented at a ceremony in New York on April 2.