The George Polk Award for Magazine Reporting
was given today to New Yorker reporter David Grann
for his story on the execution of Cameron Todd Willingham in Texas. The Polk Awards, given annually by Long Island University, are among the most prestigious journalism awards in the United States.
Grann wrote about the questionable arson evidence used to convict Willingham and the mounting signs of his innocence presented to Texas Gov. Rick Perry before Willingham was executed in 2004. The case is under review by the Texas Forensic Science Commission, which met last month for the first time since Gov. Perry suddenly replaced four members in October.
Read Grann’s story: “
Trial by Fire
A New York Times story yesterday
cited the Willingham case as one in which media organizations have invested enormous resources in pursuit of an important story despite a downturn in the industry. In addition to Grann’s in-depth story, the Houston Chronicle filed a freedom of information lawsuit seeking access to a clemncy report on the Willingham case.
“The Willingham story took months and a lot of money,” Grann told the Times. “I had an employer who backed me to the hilt. It just demonstrated an enormous commitment on their part.”
Visit our Willingham resource page
for background and media coverage on the Texas Forensic Science Commission and the Willingham case.