What Is The Edgar A. Poe Award? The White House Correspondents' Dinner Honor Recognizes Journalistic Excellence
The White House Correspondent's Dinner is this Saturday and for the 26th year, the Edgar A Poe award will be presented to a journalist or team for their "excellence in news coverage of subjects and events of significant national or regional importance to the American people." Consideration for the prestigious award is not limited to print stories but extends to multimedia, including broadcast journalism. Recipients receive a $2,500 prize for their efforts as well as the chance to not only attend the dinner itself but be presented the award by the president of the Association himself.
Last year's winners included Megan Twohey, whose work with Reuters on "The Child Exchange: Inside America's Underground Market for Adopted Children" detailed the negative side of adoption as well as its relative lack of oversight when something goes wrong in the process. The Center for Public Integrity in partnership with ABC News also received a 2014 Poe award for their collaborative effects. Their feature "Breathless and Burdened: Dying from black lung, buried by law and medicine" explored the long-lasting physical risks of working in the coal industry, specifically focusing on the legal and medical teams hired by the industry to make it all the more difficult for afflicted workers to claim benefits.
The Edgar A. Poe award was established in 1989 by The New Orleans Times-Picayune in honor of long time Washington, D.C., and war correspondent Edgar A. Poe, who spent seven decades as a journalist and penned a regular "Washington Panorama" column for The Times-Picayune. It bears noting that though the "A" in Edgar A Poe stands for "Allan," he is not related to the famous author and poet, though he was, in fact, named after him. A former White House Correspondents Association President, Poe was honored just two years after the award was established at the 1991 WHCA Dinner. He passed away in 1998.
Poe began his career with The Times-Picayune on Easter Sunday in 1930, covering a service at a Presbyterian church. From there, Poe's assignments took him to Hiroshima as one of the first reporters on the scene following the dropping of the atomic bomb and to both the RNC and DNC every four years from 1940 to 1988, save for 1944 during time spent as a war correspondent in the Pacific. Coincidentally, the first recipient of the Edgar A Poe award was a New Orleanian: Christopher Drew of The Chicago Tribune, whose series on the dangers of working in the meat-packing industry judges deemed simply "explosive."
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