(AP) Associated Press reporter Ron Fournier has won a top Washington journalism award for his stories from inside the evacuated White House on Sept. 11.
CBS News’ Peter Maer and a group of Newsweek reporters also are being honored for Sept. 11 coverage.
The awards are being presented May 4 at the annual dinner of the White House Correspondents Association.
Fournier won his third Merriman Smith Memorial Award in the print category for the bulletins he filed continuously throughout the day, even as a Secret Service agent implored him to leave the executive mansion. “In a remarkable scene, security guards brandishing automatic weapons could be seen outside the White House,” Fournier wrote.
The judges called his copy on the events that unfolded in Washington “a compellingly written, carefully constructed, and complete eyewitness account that avoided speculation.”
Maer won the broadcast award, his fourth, for giving radio listeners an image of the “controlled chaos” at the White House, with West Wing staffers fleeing and agents scanning the skies. When Maer’s cell phone wouldn’t work, he grabbed a phone at a nearby business and kept providing “vivid descriptions … that made listeners feel part of the scene,” the judges noted.
Evan Thomas and Mark Hosenball of Newsweek, with additional reporting by Martha Brant and Roy Gutman, received the group’s Edgar Allan Poe Award for coverage of Sept. 11 that began long before the terrorist attacks. They won for a story in the magazine’s Feb. 19, 2001, issue that warned “the threat posed by (Osama) bin Laden is growing — and coming ever closer to home” and for another published two weeks after the attacks. The judges found the articles prescient and in-depth.
Winning the Aldo Beckman award was Anne E. Kornblut of The Boston Globe, for a wide range of stories on the White House beat, including a narrative of President Bush’s first year in office and accounts of key moments. The judges cited Kornblut for “graceful and clear writing” that resisted “the conventional — and too often superficial — approach of the media pack.”
Poe judges gave an honorable mention to The Seattle Times for its investigative reporting on the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center that raised questions about possible conflicts of interest in cancer research. The Dayton (Ohio) Daily News also won a mention for a globally reported story on how agents recruit foreign athletes for American high schools.