AP, Seymour Hersh, ‘N.Y. Times’ Big Winners in Polk Awards

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(AP) Seymour Hersh of The New Yorker won his fifth George Polk Award for his accounts of prisoner abuse in Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison, making him the most-honored individual in the history of the awards. Reporters from The New York Times took three of the 2004 awards, and The Associated Press was a double winner.

Hersh won the magazine reporting prize for his Abu Ghraib stories 35 years after winning the Polk award for coverage of the My Lai massacre in Vietnam.

The Career Award went to Bill Moyers, who retired last year after more than three decades in public television. He won a Polk Award in 1980 for political reporting.

The 13 awards were to be announced Tuesday by Long Island University, which is to present the prizes April 21. They were created in 1949 in honor of the CBS reporter killed while covering the Greek civil war.

Dexter Filkins of The New York Times won in the war reporting category for his firsthand accounts of attacks against Iraqi insurgents in Fallujah. Walt Bogdanich of the Times won the national reporting category, his fourth Polk award, for his series on how railroad companies were able to sidestep regulations. Diana Henriques won the paper’s third award for 2004 for military reporting. Her work looked at how insurance and investment firms with ties to military commanders took advantage of young soldiers.

The Associated Press’ Paisley Dodds won the award for foreign reporting. She was cited for her work in Haiti, covering the ouster of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and then the aftermath of floods that devastated the country. She is now the news organization’s chief of bureau in London.

Justin Pritchard, the AP’s news editor for Southern California, won the labor reporting prize for his investigation into the high rate of work-related deaths among Mexican workers in America. Pritchard’s report, documented with federal data and survivor interviews, drew responses from the Mexican and U.S. governments, including the first Hispanic Safety and Health Summit held by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Other winners include:

Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams of the San Francisco Chronicle, the sports reporting award, for their work investigating how athletes used steroids and other banned substances to improve their performances.

Diane Sawyer and Robbie Gordon of ABC News’ “PrimeTime Live,” the television reporting award, for “Fighting for Care,” a report on poor conditions and management at veterans’ hospitals around the country.

Ellen Schultz and Theo Francis of The Wall Street Journal, the economic reporting award, for looking at how deceptive corporate accounting practices reduce employee benefits. The reporters were also winners two years ago, and Schultz also has won another Polk.

The Press Democrat of Santa Rosa, Calif., the regional reporting prize, for a series examining the impact of two companies deciding to outsource high-paying tech jobs to other countries.

John Hill and Dorothy Korber of The Sacramento Bee, the state reporting award, for investigating how officials in the California Highway Patrol inflated their pension benefits by claiming various illnesses.

Tim Novak and Steve Warmbir of the Chicago Sun-Times, the local reporting award, for revealing corruption throughout a $40 million municipal dump truck program.

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