‘47 percent’ story wins a Polk Award

Mother Jones earns a political reporting prize

Mother Jones is one of the winners at this year’s George Polk Awards, Long Island University announced Monday. Mother Jones reporter David Corn won in the political reporting category for the 47 percent story, in which he gained the trust of a source who filmed Mitt Romney at a fundraiser saying that 47 percent of the electorate was “dependent on government” and “paid no tax,” in what may have helped cost the Republican candidate the election.

The Mother Jones story, which went viral online, wins in a year that included an increasing number of submissions from digital publications, organizers said. The young west-coast website California Watch, part of the Center for Investigative reporting, won the state reporting prize for “Broken Shield,” a series examining the state’s failure to prevent abuse at state clinics. Another, GlobalPost, won the video reporting prize for the series, “Inside Syria.”

The winners bested 700 submissions across 14 categories of awards. In the foreign reporting category, David Barboza of The New York Times won praise for his work uncovering corruption in China, and staff of Bloomberg News were recognized for their series, “Revolution to Riches.” Both outlets suffered under censorship laws in the aftermath of the stories; the Chinese government blocked the Times’ Chinese-language site within minutes of the first part of its series, “The Princelings,” going live, while the Bloomberg scoop was and remains censored.

The first George Polk awards were conferred in 1949 by Long Island University in memory of CBS correspondent George Polk, who was murdered a year earlier while reporting on the Greek civil war. This year’s winners will be celebrated at a lunch on April 11 at The Roosevelt Hotel. A full list of recipients is available here.

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Hazel Sheffield is a former assistant editor at CJR. Follow her on Twitter @hazelsheffield. Tags: , ,