Tillman Coverage Wins Top Military Reporters Prize

By: Joe Strupp took the top prize in the Military Reporters and Editors annual journalism awards for its investigation into the death of former NFL star Pat Tillman, who died at the hands of friendly fire in 2004 while serving in Afghanistan.

The report, titled "An Un-American Tragedy," was reported and written by senior writer Mike Fish. It will be honored Oct. 12 at the MRE national convention in Arlington, Va. where Fish will receive the Joseph Galloway Award for Distinguished Journalism and a $2,000 check. The multimedia presentation also won the online category.

Judges said Fish "presented a riveting account of the cover-up of Pat Tillman's death by friendly fire."

Posted on the website as a series July 19-21, 2006, the material became the foundation for a television program, called "Tillman's Final Mission," aired on the ESPN cable network, MRE officials said. The TV program won for best television story in the television category.

This year 's awards marked the first time MRE included online and television works in its annual competition, but chose no winner for photography.

"Everyday, journalists in Iraq, Afghanistan, the United States and elsewhere report about the soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen serving in the U.S. military. Often, these reporters and photographers endure the same hardships and dangers of combat troops. Sometimes, unfortunately, they also make the same ultimate sacrifices of those in uniform," MRE President James W. Crawley, a MediaGeneral military writer, said in a statement. "These journalism awards honor not only the winners but all the men and women who cover war, abroad and at home."

Other winners, by category, are:

Overseas coverage -- large newspaper/magazine:
First place -- Greg Jaffe, The Wall Street Journal, for "A Camp Divided," about the U.S. military advisory program in Iraq.

Overseas coverage -- small newspaper/magazine:
First place -- Monte Morin, Stars and Stripes, for "Back on his Feet," about "Marines and how they reacted to adversity in Iraq."

Domestic coverage -- large newspaper/magazine: First place -- Scott Huddleston, San Antonio (Tex.) Express-News, for "his sensitive stories about soldiers and their families."

Honorable mention -- Mike Wagner and Russell Carollo, Dayton (Ohio) Daily News for "Lethal Protection," an investigative article about Humvees.

Networks/Large Market:
First place -- ESPN, "Tillman's Final Mission," an investigation into the friendly fire death of former NFL star and Army Ranger Pat Tillman and subsequent cover-up.

Small market:
First place: WJHL, Johnson City, Tenn., for "Infamy: 65 Years Later," a special report on the veterans of World War II.

First place:, "An Un-American Tragedy," a three-part multimedia series about the death of Pat Tillman and subsequent cover-up by the Army.


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