2008 OPC Award Winners

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This year’s Overseas Press Club awards program shifts focus from the dwindling war in Iraq to conflict and political violence elsewhere, including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kenya and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Two of the photography awards document the stunning explosion of ethnic violence following Kenya’s disputed elections, while a team of investigative reporters capture the frightening reach of violence in Mexico’s burgeoning drug wars.

This year’s Overseas Press Club awards program shifts focus from the dwindling war in Iraq to conflict and political violence elsewhere, including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kenya and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Two of the photography awards document the stunning explosion of ethnic violence following Kenya’s disputed elections, while a team of investigative reporters capture the frightening reach of violence in Mexico’s burgeoning drug wars.

Eleven of the winners are striking for the globalization of their themes. We follow the trail of human traffickers and their victims from villages in Moldova to the Gulf haven of Dubai. One winner pursues China’s sweeping and controversial investment across Africa. We learn the multiple dimensions of the global food crisis, starting with the perspective of an Ethiopian farmer who lost his family to famine.

The searing stories of ordinary people and young soldiers fill Dexter Filkins’ epic book on the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. We are haunted by the howl of the young girl undergoing the ritual of female circumcision in Indonesia, and can almost read the thoughts of the 7-year-old boy huddled near his destroyed home in floodravaged Haiti.

In a year of unprecedented economic turmoil and continued media cutbacks, the OPC received 447 submissions, demonstrating an extraordinary commitment by editors and publishers to support in-depth, on-the-ground reporting. Our sincerest thanks to the scores of judges who volunteered hours of their time to review the articles, photographs, radio, television and web productions. The resulting lineup of winners inspires us all.

KATHLEEN HUNT, CHAIR, AWARDS COMMITTEE

When possible, links to websites and/or awarded work has been included. If you have a link to add please e-mail us and we will include it on this page.

1. THE HAL BOYLE AWARD
Best newspaper or news service reporting from abroad
KEN ELLINGWOOD, EVELYN LARRUBIA, RICHARD MAROSI, SAM QUINONES, RICHARD A. SERRANO, TRACY WILKINSON
Los Angeles Times
"Mexico Under Siege"
The Los Angeles Times dispatched reporters to cities in Mexico most affected by drug war violence such as Tijuana, Monterrey, Juarez and Culiacan. They combined this high-risk news gathering with solid reporting from across the United States, showing the extent of Mexican gang penetration into American cities. They also reported on refugees from Mexico's violence moving into California communities. The result was a seamless melding of foreign, national and local reporting into a compelling tale of Mexico's drug wars. This coverage through 2008 helped set the stage for the debate today in the highest U.S. governmental and political circles about how to respond to a Mexico under siege.

CITATION
STAFF OF THE NEW YORK TIMES
"Afghanistan/Pakistan"

2. THE BOB CONSIDINE AWARD
Best newspaper or news service interpretation of international affairs
SUDARSAN RAGHAVAN
The Washington Post
"Iraq: The Inheritors"
In "Iraq: The Inheritors" Sudarsan Raghavan profiles a cross section of Iraqis whose lives have been reshaped by war and who, ultimately, will be poised to help remake their country. He examines how the brutal tactics of the Fallujah police chief – a former insurgent whose brother's head was sawn off with a razor blade – have stabilized the city. In Basra, Raghavan details the daily lives of residents enjoying fresh – and probably transitory – freedoms after the routing of religious militia. In Diyala province, Raghavan chronicles the tactics and tensions as an elite bomb disposal expert applies his techniques in an extremist stronghold. In Baghdad, Raghavan tells of a bookseller who refuses to leave his country even after narrowly surviving a car bombing that killed his son and brother. Overall, Raghavan's work vividly conveys the nuances and ambiguities of a society in conflict. And in an extremely competitive field, his compelling and evocative writing made this entry a standout.

CITATION
JANE PERLEZ
The New York Times
"Pakistan's Descent"

3. THE ROBERT CAPA GOLD MEDAL AWARD
Best published photographic reporting from abroad requiring exceptional courage
and enterprise
SHAUL SCHWARZ
Getty Images for Newsweek
"Kenya: The Wreckage of a Democracy"
Shaul Schwarz witnessed extraordinary and violent scenes during his coverage for Newsweek of the outbreak of violence in Kenya following the presidential election of December 2007. Two months of bloodshed left over 1,000 people dead and up to a half million displaced in an African country that had previously been considered politically stable. His brilliantly composed and impactful photographs show remarkable poise and focus in making a memorable sequence of images under chaos and pressure. In the spirit of Robert Capa, Schwarz continues the legacy that demonstrates the courage
required to make important news photographs from the world's most volatile locales. Click on the photo gallery below to see the winning photos.
{gallery}08schwarz{/gallery}

CITATION
YURI KOZYREV
dispatches: beyond Iraq

4. THE OLIVIER REBBOT AWARD
Best photographic reporting from abroad in magazines or books
STEPHANIE SINCLAIR
VII /The New York Times Magazine
"A Cutting Tradition: Inside a Female Circumcision Ceremony for Young
Muslim Girls"

Stephanie Sinclair's jarring and moving photographic essay on the tradition of young female circumcision in Muslim culture is a series of pictures that are hard to forget. In Bandung, Indonesia, Sinclair has documented this religious tradition by gaining unprecedented access to these normally closed ceremonies. It is precisely this kind of enterprising and enlightening photojournalism that serves to show us the world as it is, and challenges us to question the boundaries of religious faith and fundamental human rights. Click on the photo gallery below to see the winning photos.
{gallery}08sinclair{/gallery} 

5. THE JOHN FABER AWARD
Best photographic reporting from abroad in newspapers or news services
TONY KARUMBA, SIMON MAINA, YASUYOSHI CHIBA, WALTER ASTRADA, ROBERTO SCHMIDT
Agence France-Presse
"Kenya Vote Violence"
Agence France-Presse photographers fanned out across Nairobi to cover the reaction to the Kenyan presidential elections. Accusations of fraud, and the ensuing violence, was aggravated by age-old tribal issues between rival factions. The photographers' exceptional team coverage provided insight via the world's newspapers with a superbly comprehensive narrative. Click on the photo gallery below to see the winning photos.
{gallery}08afp{/gallery} 

CITATION
JEROME DELAY
Associated Press
"Trouble in Congo"

6. FEATURE PHOTOGRAPHY AWARD
Best feature photography published in any medium on an international theme
PATRICK FARRELL
The Miami Herald
"A People in Distress: Haiti's Year Without Mercy"
Patrick Farrell of The Miami Herald witnessed what the United Nations called "the worst humanitarian disaster to hit Haiti in 100 years." Haiti's 2008 hurricane season killed 800 people in what is the western hemisphere's poorest nation. Farrell traveled to the town of Cabaret where, as he describes it, "seeing those dead children — was a nightmare." His heart wrenching reportage is a work of great creativity under challenging conditions, and serves to illustrate the enduring power of feature photography. Click on the photo gallery below to see the winning photos.
{gallery}08farrell{/gallery} 

CITATION
CAROL GUZY
The Washington Post
"Birth and Death: Maternal Mortality in Sierra Leone"

7. THE LOWELL THOMAS AWARD
Best radio news or interpretation of international affairs
JEB SHARP, reporter, PATRICK COX, editor
PRI's The World
"How Wars End"
This series brought a nuanced tone and analytical clarity to a very contemporary question: how to gauge the proper time, and the proper way, to disengage from war. Correspondent Jeb Sharp makes good use of historical actuality and new interviews to enliven what could have been an antiseptic topic. As one judge noted, the series is particularly admirable for its smart handling of abstract questions, for example, the tension between stability and justice. Each segment offers a different insight — not just about the end of war, but also about the fact that victory and defeat can sometimes be "oddly mutable," as Sharp puts it.

CITATION
JOE RICHMAN, ANAYANSI DIAZ-CORTÉS
Radio Diaries
"Mexico '68: A Movement, A Massacre and the 40-Year Search for the Truth"

8. THE DAVID KAPLAN AWARD
Best TV spot news reporting from abroad
STEPHANIE SY, NEAL KARLINSKY, BETH LOYD, CHITO ROMANA, CAO JUN, GAMAY PALACIOS, KATE FELSEN
ABC World News
"China's Earthquake"
In the overwhelming chaos that surrounds a natural disaster, the reporting and resourcefulness of ABC News correspondents Stephanie Sy and Neal Karlinsky had to deal first with the physical obstacles to this breaking news story in a remote region of Sichuan province. Then their determination — and the ABC network's commitment — gave viewers a comprehensive understanding of the tremendous physical, emotional and political impact of the earthquake. Their sensitivity was evident throughout in dealing with the grief of families who lost children. So too was the impressive
doggedness Sy and Karlinsky displayed in pursuing the story day after day, making it relevant to their audience while revealing, layer by layer, the massive scale of the disaster. At the same time, they also explained how the Chinese government's reaction signaled a new attitude both domestically and toward the international community.

CITATION
RICHARD ENGEL, MADELEINE HAERINGER, BREDUN EDWARDS

NBC Nightly"Tip of the Spear" News

9. THE EDWARD R. MURROW AWARD
Best TV interpretation or documentary on international affairs
TED KOPPEL
The Koppel Group/Discovery Network
"The People's Republic of Capitalism"
An extraordinary examination of the interconnected relationship between the United States and China. From both sides, this compelling four-hour documentary series demonstrates — with the most accomplished techniques of international reportage, inventive visual techniques and storytelling — how deeply tied together are the people, the societies and the economies of the two countries. Going far beyond the routine study of China and America, "The People's Republic of Capitalism" examines the real and profound impact on communities, families and individual lives of the economic and political forces at work in both nations. Told with startling honesty and deep feeling, this is a major contribution to understanding these ties that bind.

CITATION
MARCELA GAVIRIA, WILL COHEN, TIM GUCZA, MARTIN SMITH

Rain Media for Frontline
"The War Briefing"

10. THE ED CUNNINGHAM AWARD
Best magazine reporting from abroad
RICHARD BEHAR
Fast Company
"China Storms Africa"
"China Storms Africa" is gale-force reporting about China's resource rush in Africa. Behar spent months on the road in Mozambique, Zambia, Democratic Republic of Congo and Equatorial Guinea speaking with workers, businessmen and government leaders about one of the most important and neglected stories of recent years. The commitment of Fast Company to this project and Behar's ability to turn the parasitic illness he contracted in Africa into a brilliant metaphor for the Chinese invasion made this award all the more satisfying to the judges.
Read the text of Behar's acceptance speech

CITATION
DEXTER FILKINS

The New York Times Magazine
"Right at the Edge"

11. THE THOMAS NAST AWARD
Best cartoons on international affairs
STEPHEN P. BREEN
The San Diego Union-Tribune
Strong graphics, subtle messages and a sense of fun are in the DNA of Breen's cartoons, but in works like White Lines, he also delivers directness and a clear point of view. His work is simple, but superb. Steve Breen talks about the inspiration for his cartoons on signonsandiego.com. Click on the image below to see the winning cartoons.
{gallery}08breen{/gallery} 

CITATION
KEVIN (KAL) KALLAUGHER
The Economist
Click on the image below to see the cartoon.
{gallery}08kallaugher{/gallery}

12. THE MORTON FRANK AWARD
Best business reporting from abroad in magazines
KEITH EPSTEIN, BRIAN GROW, BEN ELGIN, CLIFF EDWARDS,
CHI-CHU TSCHANG, BRIAN BURNSED

BusinessWeek
"Cyber War"
BusinessWeek took on a complex and difficult-to-report subject — cyber-intruders hacking into sensitive U.S. government computers, including those of NASA and the Pentagon — and meticulously built a case that this is happening and that it matters. This series is an exemplary model of investigative journalism — detailed, wide-ranging and compelling.
13. THE MALCOLM FORBES AWARD
Best business reporting from abroad in newspapers or news services
ALAN BJERGA, CARLOS CAMINADA, ALISON FITZGERALD, JASON GALE,
LUZI ANN JAVIER, ALAN KATZ, IAN KATZ, ARI LEVY, PIUS LUKONG,
HELEN MURPHY, CHRISTOPHER SWANN, PETER ROBISON

Bloomberg News
"Recipe for Famine"
In "Recipe for Famine," the staff of Bloomberg News took a big story, largely underplayed by most media, and examined it from a variety of angles, showing the interconnectedness of the food crisis and the sad truth that the crisis is largely manmade. In one story it shines a light on the 50-year old US food aid laws favoring American farmers and traders. The reporters use the narrative of an Ethiopian farmer and his family to show how those laws stalled the delivery of aid so long that many members of the farmer's family died of malnutrition. Another story shows how a few businessmen manipulated the production and distribution of fertilizer, resulting in reduced food production and high prices. The reporters looked at ethanol production, often viewed as a welcome antidote to rising oil prices, and showed the knock-on effects of diverting corn to this purpose — a further reduction of food production. The series uncovered rampant corruption, misguided food aid policies and tragic waste and told the stories through first-rate reporting and effective use of narrative.

CITATION
STAFF OF THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

"Money and Power in Putin's Russia"

14. THE CORNELIUS RYAN AWARD
Best non-fiction book on international affairs
DEXTER FILKINS
Alfred A. Knopf
The Forever War
In his narrative of the Iraq War, Dexter Filkins lives up to his reputation as the best war correspondent of his generation. His vivid portraits of the arc of violence and death that spreads from Afghanistan and Pakistan to Iraq and even the tip of Manhattan capture the fear and the feel of a global conflagration. It's a war fought by brave, confused young recruits from the hinterland of America, a war that engulfs men, women and children, a war fought in shattered alleyways, ruined villages, and flattened mosques. Filkins, showing extraordinary bravery, risks his life time and again to get the story — of a public execution by the Taliban in Kabul, of a Marine colonel pushed to the brink, of the soldier who took a bullet for him. This is one of the greatest books to come out of a terrible war.

CITATION
E. BENJAMIN SKINNER

Free Press
"A Crime So Monstrous: Face-to-Face With Modern-Day Slavery"

15. THE MADELINE DANE ROSS AWARD
Best international reporting in the print medium showing a concern for the human
condition
WILLIAM FINNEGAN
The New Yorker
"The Countertraffickers"
William Finnegan traveled the byways of human trafficking in Moldova and Dubai to create a saga of depth and insight. He weaves a whole cloth of "desperation, violence, betrayal and sorrow," as he ties the fate of these women to the fortunes of a humbled, post-Soviet country. He shows how the suffering of these women often begins before leaving home and lingers well after their rescue, points out the remarkable ironies of some victims-turned-recruiters, and highlights the work of rescuers who work tirelessly, even with the knowledge that for many of these women, much will never be right again. His haunting work broke new ground in one of today's ongoing horror stories.

CITATION
SIMON CLARK, MICHAEL SMITH, FRANZ WILD

Bloomberg Markets
"China in Africa: Young Workers, Deadly Mines"

16. THE CARL SPIELVOGEL AWARD
Best international reporting in the broadcast media showing a concern for the
human condition
KARIN C. FALCK, LOUI BERNAL, PAMELA HOGAN, NINA CHAUDRY,
ERIN CHAPMAN, AARON BROWN
Thirteen/WNET.org
"Wide Angle: Birth of a Surgeon"
There are three doctors for every 100,000 people in Mozambique. So, midwives are crucial in this country of more than 21 million, but sometimes they are not skilled enough to save lives of women during childbirth. With this information, the Wide Angle team set out with a young midwife on her riveting journey to becoming a surgeon. Exceptional enterprising reporting and revealing cinematography deliver a story that is alternately joyful and heartbreaking. "Birth of a Surgeon" is a testimonial to the human spirit and to a country's efforts to tackle maternal mortality.

CITATION
DAN LOGAN, JOHN SICELOFF, TY WEST, MICHELLE MITCHELL, LESLEY NORMAN

NOW on PBS
"Daughters for Sale"

17. THE JOE AND LAURIE DINE AWARD
Best international reporting in any medium dealing with human rights
AMY GOLDSTEIN, DANA PRIEST
The Washington Post
"Careless Detention"
This series exposes a system of neglect as tighter immigration policies in the United States make detainees pay the hard way. In a critical and thorough examination of detention centers in America, the authors show the reader the horrors and torture imposed on these victims in the world's premier democracy. Priest and Goldstein carefully portray the seriousness of medical neglect and the hidden human costs. "Careless Detention" is a tragic investigation into flawed medical judgments, poor training and dangerous staff shortages in these facilities throughout America. With gripping prose, the series unveils the unethical treatment of immigrant communities.

CITATIONS
ROBYN DIXON

Los Angeles Times
"Hope and Fear in Zimbabwe"

BRIAN ROSS, RHONDA SCHWARTZ, ANNA SCHECTER, DAVID SLOAN
ABC News – 20/20
"Bodies: The China Connection"

18. THE WHITMAN BASSOW AWARD
Best reporting in any medium on international environmental issues
MARTIN SMITH, CHRIS DURRANCE for Rain Media
MICHAEL SULLIVAN, DAVID FANNING for Frontline
Rain Media for Frontline
"Heat"
Martin Smith and his colleagues impressed the jury with the breadth and quality of their reporting and the insight that they brought to the issues through their research and an impressive range of interviews. Their visually powerful documentary is a persuasive portrait of how little industry and governments have done — and how much remains to be done — to address the impact of climate change. This is public television at its best — educational, committed and purposeful.
19. THE ROBERT SPIERS BENJAMIN AWARD
Best reporting in any medium on Latin America
ALMA GUILLERMOPRIETO
The New Yorker
"Days of the Dead: The New Narcocultura"
Alma Guillermoprieto went beyond the headline stories to give us a startlingly clear portrait of the roots of the "narcocultura" which has so convulsed Mexico as to raise concerns about a failed state south of the border. The writing is what we have come to expect from Guillermoprieto — elegant and clear. The anecdotes, such as the description of the Holy Death cult and the profile of "El Chapo" Guzman, one of the most brutal traffickers, add new context to our understanding. The overall message of this reporting is unsettling, to say the least. Mexican society is being rent by the new narcocultura and, until this evil is confronted, the bleakness of the country's future will continue to tear at the United States as well.

CITATION
SARA MILLER LLANA, MATTHEW CLARK

The Christian Science Monitor
"Cuba: Winds of Change"

20. ONLINE JOURNALISM AWARD
Best web coverage of international affairs
THE INTERNATIONAL CONSORTIUM OF INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISTS
The Center for Public Integrity
"Tobacco Underground: The Booming Global Trade in Smuggled Cigarettes"

This project by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists exemplifies how the web can be both a powerful reporting tool and a storehouse of illuminating news and information that has value far beyond the current news cycle. The sweep and breadth of this project is nothing short of remarkable. A global team of reporters — some posing as smugglers and equipped with hidden video cameras — transcended political, cultural and geographic boundaries to tell the story of a very nasty business, whose tentacles reach from renegade factories in China and Russia to Indian reservations in New York state and warlords in Pakistan and North Africa. The presentation is rough and raw and its YouTube-hosted video is not as polished as those of other entries. But the strippeddown features of this online repository of investigative reporting — text, video, interactive maps, glossary and archive — tell a compelling story and make a tremendous amount of material accessible, especially to those in low-bandwidth portions of the globe.

CITATION
STAFF OF THE LOS ANGELES TIMES

"Mexico Under Siege"

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