The Wall Street Journal and STAT News are among the winners in the annual George Polk Awards.
The medical reporting award goes to Adam Feuerstein, Matthew Herper and Damian Garde of STAT for revealing Biogen’s covert lobbying of the Food and Drug Administration, which overruled its scientific advisors to grant approval for Biogen’s new and costly treatment for Alzheimer’s disease despite questionable trial results. Multiple investigations ensued and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services restricted coverage for the drug to further trials.
Reporter Jeff Horwitz and the staff of the Wall Street Journal have won the business reporting award for “Facebook Files,” an explosive series documenting how Facebook (now Meta) ignored internal findings that company practices promoted anger, divisiveness and extremism; protected drug cartels, human traffickers and dictators; and endangered teenage girls susceptible to body-image concerns, anxiety and depression. Files Horwitz obtained from a whistleblower demonstrated that top executives rejected fixes they feared might reduce profitability or create political friction.
The award for technology reporting goes to the Forbidden Stories Network, the Washington Post and Guardian U.S., for “The Pegasus Project.” Their reporting revealed that spyware sold by the Israeli company NSO Group Technologies to combat terrorism and crime was used to tap into the phones of 65 business executives, 85 human rights activists, 189 journalists and more than 600 politicians and officials around the world.
The George Polk Awards were established in 1949 by Long Island University to commemorate George Polk, a CBS correspondent murdered in 1948 while covering the Greek civil war. The awards, which place a premium on investigative and enterprising reporting that gains attention and achieves results, are conferred annually to honor special achievement in journalism.
The 2021 George Polk Award winners will be honored at a luncheon ceremony at The Yale Club of New York City on April 8, where each will describe their outstanding reporting.
See all of the winners here.