The Seattle Times has won the prestigious George Polk Award for environmental reporting for stories linking the deadly mudslide in Oso, Wash., that killed 43 people to what the judges called “corners cut, safeguards disregarded and warnings ignored by” environmental regulators.
The George Polk Awards are among the most prestigious in journalism, and have been presented by Long Island University since they were established in1948 to commemorate Polk, a CBS correspondent murdered while covering the Greek civil war.
The winners were George Polk awards announced in a news release by LIU Sunday night. The awards will be presented April 10 at The Roosevelt Hotel in Manhattan.
Award Curator John Darnton said the judges considered 558 nominations from news organizations, individual journalists, and members of the award advisory panel.
The awards place a premium on investigative and enterprising reporting that gains attention and achieves results, Darnton said.
In presenting the award to the newspaper’s staff, the judges praised the paper for “unearthing compelling evidence” linking the monstrous mudslide to lax enforcement by state regulators and pressures from logging interests.
While issuing the award to the newspaper staff, judges cited two specific investigative stories: “State used outdated data to allow logging on slope,” published March 30, 2014, and “Oso neighborhood never should have been built,” which was published June 7, 2014. The stories were reported and written by Times’ investigative reporters Mike Baker and Justin Mayo and former reporter Ken Armstrong.