Post and Courier wins prestigious Polk Award

The Post and Courier has been named winner of a George Polk Award for its five-part series on domestic violence in South Carolina.

The Polk Awards, presented by Long Island University, are among the most prestigious in journalism. The awards for 2014 honor reporters who took great risks to expose injustices, uncover systemic and bureaucratic failures, and shed light on the threat of deadly disease, among other topics of regional, national and global interest.

The newspaper received the Polk Award for State Reporting for its series “Till Death Do Us Part,” which examined South Carolina’s ranking as one of the deadliest states in the nation for women at the hands of men. The series, written by Doug Pardue, Glenn Smith, Jennifer Berry Hawes and Natalie Caula-Hauff, revealed that more than 300 women were killed by husbands or boyfriends in a decade, while the state’s leaders did little to stem the violence.

The other Polk Award winners include The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Center for Public Integrity and National Geographic.

The Post and Courier’s reporting team began work on the series in September 2013 when the Violence Policy Center in Washington, D.C., ranked South Carolina No. 1 in the nation in the rate of women killed by men. The team compiled a database of those killed in domestic violence and examined the legal, political, cultural and economic factors that have contributed to the problem.

The California-based Center for Investigative Reporting’s then-Editorial Director Mark Katches consulted on and helped edit the series, while the center’s Senior Editor for Data Journalism Jennifer LaFleur provided database training. CIR also provided funding for data research and print graphics.

The Post and Courier series also has been named one of six finalists for the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting by the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

The series has previously been awarded the 2015 John Jay College/Harry Frank Guggenheim Award for “Excellence in Criminal Justice Reporting,” a first-place award for investigative journalism in the 2014 EPPY Awards sponsored by Editor and Publisher, and September’s Sidney Award from The Sidney Hillman Foundation, which honors excellence in journalism in service of the common good.