McClatchy Baghdad chief wins Polk award for Iraq reporting

McClatchy newspapersFebruary 19, 2008 

Leila Fadel, McClatchy's Baghdad bureau chief, won the George R. Polk Award for outstanding foreign reporting and The Charlotte Observer won the Polk Award for outstanding economic reporting, Long Island University announced Tuesday.

Fadel, 26, was cited for her “vivid depictions” of the military and political struggle in Iraq. "Her work provided a comprehensive array of disturbing, first-hand accounts of violence and conflict by juxtaposing the agonizing plight of families in ethnically torn neighborhoods with the braggadocio of a vengeful insurgent proud of his murderous exploits, and the carnage and sorrow among victims of Iraq’s most deadly car bombing in a remote region of the country where few reporters ventured," the jurors said.

Reporters for The Charlotte Observer, one of McClatchy's 30 daily newspapers, were recognized for a yearlong series that "exposed questionable practices by one of the nation’s largest homebuilders, prompting multiple federal and state investigations, including a federal criminal investigation and an inquiry by the Securities and Exchange Commission," the jurors said. The articles, they noted, were "published long before many people had recognized the crisis that was brewing."

The George Polk Career Award goes to Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Princeton University professor and New Yorker magazine staff writer John McPhee, 77, who the jurors said "has left an indelible mark on American journalism during his nearly half-century career." Chauncey W. Bailey, Jr., who was the editor of the Oakland Post, will be honored posthumously with the George Polk Award for Local Reporting. Bailey was gunned down on August 2, 2007, while investigating a local business that's been linked to kidnapping, rape, torture and several killings, now including Bailey’s.

Other Polk Awards went to Joshua Micah Marshall, the editor and publisher of the political blog Talking Points Memo for legal reporting; an ABC News team for television reporting; The Chicago Tribune for consumer reporting; The Washington Post for political reporting; The Wall Street Journal for environmental reporting; The New York Times for medical reporting and to the Clarion-Ledger of Jackson, Miss. for state reporting. A complete list of the awards, which will be presented on April 17 in New York City, is available at: www.liu.edu/polk

The George R. Polk Awards memorialize CBS News correspondent George W. Polk, who was slain while covering the civil war in Greece in 1948. A committee of jurors comprised of Long Island University faculty members and alumni select the winners from entries submitted by independent journalists, news organizations and a formal panel of media professionals that includes a number of former Polk Award winners.

Here are the links for the entries for Leila Fadel:

A ride through the landscape of war, 10/07/07

Iraqi's chilling tales of revenge, 06/22/07

Mahdi Army makes a final push to control southwest Baghdad, 6/11/2007

Ordinary life hardly the norm in Baghdad, 09/14/07

As U.S. officials touted progress, Blackwater guards killed 16, 09/27/07

For Baghdad couples, love often lost amid sectarian struggle, 08/22/07

Ambassador sees tough path in Iraq, 08/21/07

Iraqi prime minister says he won't resign, 8/28/07

U.S. sponsorship of Sunni groups worries Iraq's government, 11/29/07

In Iraqi villages devastated by blasts, recovery and mourning continue, 08/21/07

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