Mother Jones’ David Corn Wins George Polk Award

Mother Jones


How is MoJo Washington Bureau Chief David Corn like Edward R. Murrow, Carl Bernstein, David Halberstam, Gay Talese, Fred Friendly, I.F. Stone, and Walter Cronkite? So many ways really, but the most notable today is that they have all won a George Polk Award, one of the most prestigious honors in journalism. Corn is the winner in the political reporting category for the 47 percent story—his revelation of a video documenting Mitt Romney’s remarks at a $50,000-a-plate fundraiser that 47 percent of Americans were “dependent upon the government” and would never “take personal responsibility and care for their lives.

The Polk award, established in 1949 to honor a CBS correspondent murdered while covering the Greek Civil War, is given each year by Long Island University; this year’s announcement commends Corn for the “years of high-impact journalism that helped lead him to the source of the recording,” and for the “persistent digging and careful negotiation” that made the story possible. Other winners include the staff of Bloomberg News and the New York Times‘ David Barboza for uncovering corruption among China’s elite; a team of McClatchy correspondents (including former MoJo contributor David Enders) covering the war in Syria; Sarah Stillman for her New Yorker piece on teen informants; Ryan Gabrielson of California Watch for a story on abuses in state clinics for the disabled; and the Frontline team behind the documentary “Money, Power, and Wall Street.” For David and all of us at Mother Jones, it’s a capstone for an amazing year and thrilling recognition for a project that has been widely credited with changing the course of the campaign.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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