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International Herald Tribune Team Wins Osborn Elliott Journalism Prize for Courageous Reporting of Cyclone Nargis

May 18, 2009
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May 18, 2009 - The Asia Society is pleased to announce that a team of writers from the International Herald Tribune has won the prestigious Osborn Elliott Prize for Excellence in Journalism on Asia for its coverage of Cyclone Nargis and its aftermath in Burma/Myanmar. The team of four correspondents—South Korea correspondent Choe Sang-Hun, Southeast Asia correspondent Thomas Fuller, Hong Kong correspondent Mark McDonald, and Southeast Asia correspondent Seth Mydans—with photographs by Greg Constantine, provided unparalleled coverage of the devastating cyclone and the many humanitarian and political issues associated with it in a series of reports that ran from May 6 to October 21, 2008. The $10,000 cash prize will be presented at a luncheon program to be held on June 16 at Asia Society in New York.

The stories were chosen by an independent jury for their "courage, enterprise, and impact." Initially blocked from entering the country by Myanmar's military junta, the team gained access to the country in spite of the danger they faced.

According to Norman Pearlstine, Chief Content Officer at Bloomberg and former Editor-in-Chief of Time Inc., who chairs the independent jury that selects the winner, "The International Herald Tribune's coverage of Cyclone Nargis was unique among the major news outlets. Working undercover and writing articles that carried no bylines, these correspondents brought international attention to important stories that would have remained untold were it not for their heroic and monumental efforts."

The jury also awarded an honorable mention to James Fallows of The Atlantic for his outstanding series of stories examining China's economic rise and place in the world. Fallows' work explored issues such as how technology has transformed China's vast western reaches, its rapid industrialization and environmental challenges, and the implications of its foreign currency reserves and trade imbalance with the United States.

About the 2009 Oz Prize Winners
Choe Sang-Hun has been a Seoul-based correspondent for 18 years. He wrote for the Korea Herald and the Associated Press before joining IHT in 2005. He is co-winner of a 2000 Pulitzer Prize.

Thomas Fuller has been a correspondent for IHT for more than 12 years, first in Asia, where he reported from Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok. He later was based in Paris and Brussels, returning to Bangkok more than three years ago to cover Southeast Asia. In the last two years, he has shared two New York Times Publisher's awards for coverage of Myanmar.

Mark McDonald has reported from more than 40 countries including Iraq, Afghanistan, and Chechnya. Before joining the IHT in Hong Kong, he worked for the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and the Boston Globe, and was Knight Riddder's bureau chief in Southeast Asia and Moscow. He won a Michigan Journalism Fellowship in 1996-97, and was the Henry R. Marsh Professor of Journalism at the University of Michigan from 2005-2007.

Seth Mydans has covered Southeast Asia for IHT and the New York Times for 13 years from his base in Bangkok. His previous foreign postings have been in Moscow, London, and the Philippines. He is the recipient of this year's Shorenstein Prize for Reporting on Asia.

Greg Constantine is a freelance photojournalist based in Bangkok whose work has been published frequently in IHT. His photos have been recognized in numerous competitions including Pictures of the Year International and the 2008 Society of Publishers in Asia Award for Feature Photography.

About the "Oz Prize"
The "Oz Prize" honors the late Osborn Elliott, legendary journalist, author, and former editor-in-chief of Newsweek. Elliott was a leading figure in the field of journalism who became one of the earliest practitioners of "civic journalism"—the deliberate focusing of the journalistic enterprise on urgent issues of public policy. The Oz Prize is awarded annually for the best example of journalism about Asia in print or online during the calendar year.

Previous winners have included Shai Oster of the Wall Street Journal (2008), Evan Osnos of the Chicago Tribune (2007), Barbara Demick of the Los Angeles Times and Matthew McAllester of Newsday (2006), Philip P. Pan of the Washington Post (2005), John Pomfret of the Washington Post (2004), and Elisabeth Rosenthal of the New York Times (2003).

In addition to Mr. Pearlstine, the Oz Prize jury includes Carroll Bogert, Associate Director for Human Rights Watch; Marcus Brauchli, Executive Editor of the Washington Post; Barbara Crossette, writer on Asian affairs and former New York Times chief correspondent in South and Southeast Asia; Dorinda Elliott, Deputy Editor, Special Projects, Condé Nast Traveler; Chrystia Freeland, Managing Editor and columnist, Financial Times; Pramit Pal Chaudhuri, Senior Editor, Hindustan Times and 2007 Bernard Schwartz Fellow, Asia Society; Carla Anne Robbins, Deputy Editorial Page Editor, the New York Times; Josh Tyrangiel, Deputy Managing Editor, TIME magazine and Managing Editor, Time.com; Sheryl WuDunn, former New York Times foreign correspondent and editor.

About Asia Society
Asia Society is the leading global organization working to strengthen relationships and promote understanding among the people, leaders, and institutions of Asia and the United States. We seek to enhance dialogue, encourage creative expression, and generate new ideas across the fields of policy, business, education, arts, and culture. Founded in 1956 by John D. Rockefeller 3rd, Asia Society is a nonpartisan, nonprofit educational institution with offices in Hong Kong, Houston, Los Angeles, Manila, Melbourne, Mumbai, New York, San Francisco, Shanghai, Seoul, and Washington, DC.

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Contact: Elaine Merguerian, 212-327-9271; [email protected] 

 

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