As always with the Overseas Press Club awards, the map of world conflict is a predictor of where the winning journalists find their inspiration. This year the list includes all the countries where tumult and controversy reign: Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Congo, China. Two of our four photography awards recount the shocking attacks on former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, while two others deal with death in the Congo—in the human civil war, and a war against endangered mountain gorillas.
A half dozen awards go to reporters in Iraq and Afghanistan, including one to the book that tells the story behind Curveball, "the con man who caused a war."
Congratulations to all of our winners, and thanks to the award sponsors and the judges who devoted so many hours to reading, viewing and listening to the entries. And we would be remiss in not giving a special round of applause to two news organizations whose dedication to quality international journalism will be plain on the following pages: Getty Images, whose photographers are winners in three photo categories, and The New York Times, recipient this year of six Overseas Press Club awards.
1. THE HAL BOYLE AWARD
|2. THE BOB CONSIDINE AWARD
Best newspaper or wire service interpretation of international affairs
PAUL BECKETT, ERIC BELLMAN, KRISHNA POKHAREL, YAROSLAV TROFIMOV, PETER WONACOTT
The Wall Street Journal
"India’s Great Leap Upward"
That India’s economy is growing exponentially is well known. What The Wall Street Journal staff writers analyze is the impact of that growth story. Sudden strong demand for educated workers is breaking ancient caste barriers. Even Dalits, or untouchables, can now dream of the middle class life. The articles document the complexity of discrimination in rural India, the entrenched impunity of local corrupt legislators charged with fixing public education, and the new aspirations of the poorest as they clash with the powerful interests of the moneyed elite. How India’s democracy copes with both the demands of new wealth and worsening poverty for those left behind will keep the world watching keenly.
|3. THE ROBERT CAPA GOLD MEDAL AWARD
Best published photographic reporting from abroad requiring exceptional courage and enterprise
"The Assassination of Benazir Bhutto"
John Moore withstood the deadly chaos of a suicide bombing attack that killed Benazir Bhutto to record the last moments of the politician’s life. During the attack and the ensuing pandemonium, Moore courageously photographed the violence and shattered hopes of those looking toward the restoration of democracy in Pakistan. In the spirit of Robert Capa, Moore captured the frenzied moments of the assassination and its deadly aftermath to bear witness to a significant historical moment.
|4. THE OLIVIER REBBOT AWARD
Best photographic reporting from abroad in magazines or books
Agence Vu – Newsweek
"Congo in Limbo"
Cédric Gerbehaye’s work opens a window on the deadliest place on earth, the Democratic Republic of Congo, where some 5 million people have died as a result of conflict since 1998. Rebels, foreign armed groups, and the Congolese army all have been responsible for murder, rape, and looting. His images of fear, exhaustion, and terrible resignation are tangible evidence of the peril that literally consumes people in the region. Through Gerbehaye’s eyes we see the singular faces of the smallest of children, abducted and robbed of their future by commanders seeking new "recruits" for war. A barefoot man stands in an overcoat in a puddle-ridden camp for the displaced. The image of renegade general Laurent Nkunda, at-large and wanted for war crimes and crimes against humanity, is unforgettable, his bravado a symbol of the near total impunity with which those in power operate.
Panos for Newsweek
|5. THE JOHN FABER AWARD
Best photographic reporting from abroad in newspapers or wire services
"Death in Karachi"
Paula Bronstein’s images focus on the victims of the attack on Benazir Bhutto in Karachi, Pakistan in October, 2008. They powerfully document human vulnerability in a world shattered by the now familiar deadly destruction of suicide bombing.
The New York Times
"Chasing the Taliban"
|6. FEATURE PHOTOGRAPHY AWARD
Best feature photography published in any medium on an international theme
Getty Images for Newsweek
"Slaughter in the Jungle"
Brent Stirton’s pictures record the killings of gorillas in the Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and are riveting visual documents of how the natural world has also suffered in a conflict that has claimed millions of human victims.
Cheryl Diaz Meyer
The Dallas Morning News
"Self Immolation: Escape by Fire"
|7. THE LOWELL THOMAS AWARD
Best radio news or interpretation of international affairs
Mary Kay Magistad, Jennifer Goren pictured right, Traci Tong
PRI’s The World
The judges felt that this entry stood out for the depth and breadth of its reporting on a complex topic. A seven-part series on the effects of China’s one-child policy, it offers a comprehensive look at the impact on Chinese society as the 100 million people born since the implementation of the program start to come of age. Magistad and Goren move beyond the mere social impact of this social-engineering legislation to look at attitudes toward sex, religion and business. Making effective use of the opportunities offered by their medium, they offer a fascinating and educational look at the forces that not only have shaped modern China, but at those that will continue to do so.
|8. THE DAVID KAPLAN AWARD
Best TV spot news reporting from abroad
TIM HETHERINGTON pictured right, SEBASTIAN JUNGER pictured left, BRIAN ROSS, STEVEN BAKER, MADELEINE SAUER, KAREN BRENNER
ABC News — Nightline
"The Other War"
Spending time with the soldiers of Battle Company, 173rd U.S. Airborne, as they lived — and died — in the Korengal Valley in eastern Afghanistan, freelance photographer Tim Hetherington gives viewers a gutsy, poignant view of what American troops face in "The Other War." Hetherington and Junger traveled with a platoon of soldiers in one of the war’s most dangerous combat arenas. His camera work and his team’s elegant writing and editing provided a dramatic view of what the U.S. is facing in the struggle against the Taliban and foreign Jihadi militants. As Hetherington observed operation "Rock Avalanche," three U.S. soldiers died and eight were wounded in close combat. They also accompanied soldiers into the midst of angry villagers after an Apache helicopter attack killed Afghan civilians. Hetherington gives viewers a sense of the rarely seen enemy and the raw emotions of both civilians and soldiers. On one raid, Hetherington broke his ankle and had to walk four hours down a mountainside to reach safety. Their work displayed not only great personal courage but the power of great journalism.
Jim Sciutto, Angus Hines, Tom Murphy
ABC-World News Tonight
|9. THE EDWARD R. MURROW AWARD
Best TV interpretation or documentary on international affairs
Maria Hinojosa pictured above with Indian storyteller, Amy Bucher, Sirin Aysan, Mary Olive Smith, Virginie Danglades, Lesley Norman
NOW on PBS
"Child Brides: Stolen Lives"
Ambitious in a wholly different way than war or politics — and just as courageous — "Child Brides: Stolen Lives" does what the best international broadcast reporting is supposed to do: introduce us to a world we don’t know through vivid imagery, compelling storytelling, and smart analysis. With both rare access and undercover reporting, Maria Hinojosa, Amy Bucher and the team at NOW traveled to three continents to document the lives of girls "engaged" as young as 3 years old, often to far older men, examining the practice’s heart-rending consequences and the sometimes unlikely local leaders working to end it. Told with urgency, poignancy and objectivity, "Child Brides" is startling and important.
Christiane Amanpour and CNN
|10. THE ED CUNNINGHAM AWARD
Best magazine reporting from abroad
The New York Times Magazine
"Where Boys Grow Up to be Jihadis"
Andrea Elliott spent weeks in a Moroccan town talking with friends, relatives and neighbors of five young men who left as Jihadi on suicide missions to Spain and Iraq. She records detailed accounts of their lives, despite initial suspicions and surveillance by Moroccan security forces. Her account, beautifully written, provides an unparalleled look into the making of terrorists and is a reporting tour de force. With great insight the reporter illustrates that terrorist motives are complex. Multiple forces are at work: the role of the mosques and their clergy, unemployment, limited opportunity and desire for revenge as an outgrowth of U.S. occupation of Iraq.
"The River is a Road"
|11. THE THOMAS NAST AWARD
Best cartoons on international affairs
The Christian Science Monitor
The judges felt that Clay Bennett’s entire portfolio of work was extremely strong. The most arresting cartoon does what all great cartoons do: make you laugh and groan at the same time. It is of a plump, smiling frog, covered with four lipstick kisses, wearing a crown. The cartoon has no caption, and bears only one word, emblazoned on the frog’s crown: IRAQ. What an efficient, devastating, and clever way to describe the world’s desperate attempts to encourage Iraq — – and Iraqis — to turn into a prince.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
|12. THE MORTON FRANK AWARD
Best business reporting from abroad in magazines
PETER HESSLER pictured above right, MARK LEONG pictured above left, OLIVER PAYNE, ELIZABETH KRIST, DAVID WHITMORE, CHRIS JOHNS
"China’s Instant Cities"
Hessler’s 19 months of reporting and 10 trips to the new Chinese city of Lishui culminated in an original approach to the China story, producing a fascinating, richly-textured account of the transformation underway there. By focusing on the creation of a small factory that produced just one product — plastic rings for making bras — Hessler’s selection of facts and anecdotes illuminated how ordinary Chinese people are trying to snare the riches up for grabs in this fast-growing economy.
"Extreme Emerging Markets"
|13. THE MALCOLM FORBES AWARD
Best business reporting from abroad in newspapers or wire services
WALT BOGDANICH, JAKE HOOKER, ANDREW LEHREN, BRENT McDONALD, ROBERT HARRIS
The New York Times
"A Toxic Pipeline"
This series was an extraordinary combination of traditional gumshoe investigating and high tech innovation that resulted in a compelling, thorough and dramatic body of work that was clearly ahead of the curve of not only other journalistic organizations, but the governments of China and the United States. This team created a journalistic tour de force — from the Dashiel Hammett-like work of Jake Hooker, who traveled under assumed names and kept his notes under his mattress, to the dogged work of Walt Bogdanich in uncovering classified FDA documents that warned of problems with diethylene glycol, to the computer-assisted study that showed as many as 1,300 unlicensed companies selling pharmaceuticals. The series is a primer on how to do investigative journalism. The team worked with videojournalists to document the tragic toll that these counterfeit drugs took on innocent people, making this a truly multi-media series.
Michael Smith and Carlos Caminada
"Ethanol’s Deadly Brew"
|14. THE CORNELIUS RYAN AWARD
Best non-fiction book on international affairs
Curveball: Spies, Lies, and the Con Man Who Caused a War
How did the U.S. get it so wrong about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq? Bob Drogin, national security and intelligence reporter for the Los Angeles Times, provides much of the answer in this anatomy of the CIA’s drive to prove the existence of chemical weapons in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. The central thread of Drogin’s narrative — the story of an Iraqi refugee with a dubious story about mobile germ labs — illustrates the White House’s grim determination to seize on any evidence, however flimsy, to justify the invasion. From there Drogin expands his cast of characters to include German spies, White House officialdom, the Iraqi resistance and the U.N. Along the way he uncovers a wealth of new detail about one of the worst intelligence failures in American history.
In Spite of the Gods: The Strange Rise of Modern India
15. THE MADELINE DANE ROSS AWARD
16. THE CARL SPIELVOGEL AWARD
Scott Pelley, Shawn Efran, Jeff Fager, Solly Granatstein
|17. THE JOE and LAURIE DINE AWARD
Best international reporting in any medium dealing with human rights
JEFFREY GETTLEMAN pictured far right, COURTENAY MORRIS pictured left, SHAYLA HARRIS, ADAM ELLICK
The New York Times
"Ethiopia’s Hidden War"
The New York Times produced groundbreaking, courageous reporting of atrocities being committed by the Ethiopian military in its campaign to suppress a separatist movement. The reporters’ insightful, powerful dispatches, produced at great personal risk, inspired readers in the developed world to care about distant places and people otherwise remote and invisible.
The New Yorker
"The Black Sites"
|18. THE WHITMAN BASSOW AWARD
Best reporting in any medium on international environmental issues
DAVID BARBOZA, KEITH BRADSHER, HOWARD FRENCH, JOSEPH KAHN, mark landler, JIM YARDLEY, JIMMY WANG
The New York Times
"Choking on Growth"
"Choking on Growth" is a meticulously reported exposé of the worst environmental ills of unbridled economic expansion in China and the damaging consequences both for the Chinese people and the wider world. New York Times correspondents fanned out across China to research and report the story in a 10-part series that made the most of the publication’s online multimedia presence. Beautifully illustrated using compelling photography, videography and graphics, the series was aimed as much at a Chinese audience as at a U.S. domestic audience. Podcasts and transcripts of the series in Mandarin ensured a major impact for a story Chinese media are unable to report to the same degree.
NPR News Staff
National Public Radio
19. ROBERT SPIERS BENJAMIN AWARD
Jose de Cordoba
|20. WEBSITE AWARD
Best web coverage of international affairs
DAMIEN CAVE pictured right, DIANA OLIVA CAVE pictured left, STEPHEN FARRELL, ARCHIE TSE, BAGHDAD BUREAU and VIDEO, GRAPHICS and MULTIMEDIA STAFF
The New York Times
"Assessing the Surge: A Survey of Baghdad Neighborhoods"
In the midst of heated debate over the "surge" in Iraq by the American military, The New York Times, led by its Baghdad Bureau, created a comprehensive online guide to the sectarian violence plaguing various Baghdad neighborhoods. In reports that combined analysis, photo and video journalism, interactive maps and on-the-ground reporting, The Times brought clarity to an increasingly complicated story through the shifting realities in the Iraqi capital.
|21. THE ARTYOM BOROVIK AWARD
For outstanding reporting by a Russian journalist who displays courage, insight, and independence of thought
"Radio Reports on Politics and Culture"
Aleksei Venediktov is one of Russia’s best known journalists and a staunch defender of free speech. He serves as editor-in-chief of the national radio station Echo of Moscow (Ekho Moskvi), and as the host of several of its programs. The station is one of the few in Russia that provides independent news and openly criticizes government officials and policy. Venediktov can often be heard on the air, posing the hard questions that few others dare to ask. Ekho Moskvi as an organization and Venediktov as a person represent everything that Artyom Borovik stood for in his short life — courage, boldness and the importance of questioning authority. Venediktov’s Ekho Moskvi is and has always been one of the few shining points in the very dark world of Russian media.
Yelena Yevgenyevna Penzina
"Prostitution and Corruption in Krasnoyarsk"