Polk Awards Honor Pandemic Reporters


Three CNN journalists — the reporter David Culver, the producer Yong Xiong and the photographer Natalie Thomas — received the foreign reporting award for work on the virus’s initial strike in Wuhan, China.

The award for magazine reporting recognized Katie Engelhart for an August article in California Sunday Magazine about the Kirkland, Wash., nursing home that was the site of the first deadly Covid-19 outbreak on American soil. In October, California Sunday Magazine suspended publication.

Two awards went to reporters who revealed failures in the federal government’s response to the pandemic. Dan Diamond of Politico won in health reporting for several articles, including stories on the Trump administration’s attempts to cut back on testing and meddle with the Centers for Disease Control. And Matthias Gafni, Joe Garofoli and Tal Kopan of The San Francisco Chronicle won the military reporting prize for work that included a scoop on the Navy’s punishment of the captain of the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt, who sought to evacuate nearly 5,000 sailors to protect them from an outbreak.

A special prize was given posthumously to Regina Martínez, of the Mexico City magazine Proceso, and to the investigative-journalism collective Forbidden Stories, which reported last year that authorities had stymied an investigation into Ms. Martínez’s death in 2012 while she was reporting on disappeared persons in the state of Veracruz.

Several other awards honored work that described racism in the United States and a summer of protests. The New Yorker’s Luke Mogelson won the national reporting award for three articles that portrayed Black Lives Matters activists in Minneapolis, militia members in Michigan and activists on the left and the right in Portland, Ore. The television reporting award went to Roberto Ferdman of the Vice Media show “Vice News Tonight” and his crew for their coverage of the Louisville nurse Breonna Taylor, a Black woman whose death at the hands of police this year galvanized protesters across the country.

ProPublica won the health reporting award for a pair of series on communities disproportionately affected by the pandemic: meatpacking workers and Black Americans. The staff of The Minneapolis Star Tribune took the local reporting award for its coverage of Mr. Floyd’s death and its aftermath.

Robert Lee and Tristan Ahtone of High Country News, a magazine based in Paonia, Colo., won the education reporting award for a series, two years in the making, on 11 million acres of land seized from Native Americans by the federal government and made into campuses for 52 land-grant universities across the country.


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