2008 WHCA JOURNALISM AWARDS
THE MERRIMAN SMITH MEMORIAL AWARD
The Merriman Smith Memorial Award ($2,500 each) recognizes presidential news coverage under deadline pressure, with separate awards for print and broadcast journalists. Learn More
Winner-print: Deb Riechmann of the Associated Press.
Deb Riechmann, who also received a Merriman Smith award in 2006, won for her reporting on President Bush’s surprise visit to Baghdad in September 2007. The judges praised her “solid reporting…under the gun to make the very tight deadlines” and her judgment in recognizing the import of the president’s remarks about doing the job with fewer troops.
Winner–broadcast: Ed Henry of CNN
In the broadcast category, Ed Henry of CNN won for reporting which the judges wrote “got better with each ensuing update throughout the day” on the Bush administration’s contradicting assertions that top Iran officials were behind the authorization to send improvised explosive devices to Iraq.
THE ALDO BECKMAN AWARD
The Aldo Beckman Award ($1,000) recognizes sustained excellence in White House coverage, with a single award for either a print or broadcast journalist.
Winner: Alexis Simendinger of the National Journal
Simendinger broke the story about the use of Republican National Committee e-mails by some White House officials. “Whose E-Mail Is It?” was the first in a series of five articles that “repeatedly demonstrated excellence” in Simendinger’s coverage of the White House.
Honorable Mention: Peter Baker, The Washington Post
The judges noted Baker’s carefully sourced and nuanced series of articles offering insights into an imperiled presidency.
THE EDGAR A. POE MEMORIAL AWARD
The Edgar A. Poe Memorial Award ($2,500) recognizes excellence in coverage of news of national or regional significance, with a single award for either a print or broadcast journalist.
Winners: Paul Shukovsky, Tracy Johnson, and Daniel Lathrop of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer
In a series of articles, “The Terrorism Trade-Off,” Shukovsky, Johnson and Lathrop revealed a major shift by the FBI away from white-collar crimes as it ramped up its pursuit of suspected terrorists.They found that 2,400 FBI agents had been shifted to counterterrorism work, resulting in a 68 percent decline in white-collar criminal investigations and a 71 percent drop in civil rights cases.
John R. Wilke of the Wall Street Journal earned an honorable mention for several stories on Congress’ penchant for earmarked federal spending.
James Kitfield of the National Journal received an honorable mention for his series of articles on developments in the Iraq War.