From beatings in Russia to riots in Thailand. Floods in Pakistan to war in Afghanistan. Land battles in India to cults in Mexico. Once again, Overseas Press Club award entries came in from reporters and photographers deployed across the globe. And once again, they demonstrated bravery, integrity and professionalism, in some cases risking all to do their jobs.
Overall, this was a banner award year for the OPC. We expanded our categories to honor the best journalism appearing online. We facilitated entries by allowing online submissions. That led to a bumper crop of online contenders, with ProPublica winning the online general excellence award for “The Detention Dilemma,” a compelling narrative about the tension between ideal and reality in the debate over the detention center at Guantanamo Bay.
Our winners didn’t just offer riveting narratives or punchy pictures; their work sometimes prompted tangible change. In “Russia: Above the Law,” New York Times reporters Clifford Levy and Ellen Barry penetrated the secrecy and fear that shroud Russia’s heavy-handed legal system. Their stories led at least one company — Microsoft — to change the way it does business in the country. In “The All-American Canal,” 60 Minutes reporters Scott Pelley and Shawn Efran exposed how hundreds of migrants died in a chilly moat on the U.S.-Mexican border, prompting officials to install safety escape lines to prevent future drownings. “Looting the Seas” by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists led to new regulations to protect the blue-fin tuna.
The high caliber of the entries led to tough choices for our judges. Yet they rose to the challenge, devoting many hours to reading entries, exchanging emails and debating the best way to select the best. We thank them all for their commitment and dedication, and salute all of the winners.
Arlene Getz chaired the awards committee.