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The George Polk Awards: Getting Sources to Talk

  • LIU Brooklyn, Kumble Theater for the Performing Arts 1 University Plaza (Flatbush Avenue — between DeKalb Avenue and Willoughby Street) Brooklyn, NY, 11201 United States (map)
 Jodi Kantor photographed for Variety by Jake Chessum at the New York Times on November 29, 2017.

Hear from Polk Award winning journalists on the challenges they faced getting their stories and gaining their sources' trust. RSVP



Jodi Kantor is a prize-winning investigative reporter for The New York Times and a best-selling author.

Ms. Kantor specializes in long-form, deeply reported stories. In 2017, she and Megan Twohey broke the story of Harvey Weinstein’s decades of alleged abuse towards women. Their reporting set off a worldwide reckoning that encouraged victims to speak, brought to account men who wielded power in a wide range of fields, and shifted attitudes and policies around the globe.

Before that, Ms. Kantor’s investigations into conditions at Starbucks and Amazon prompted national debates and policy changes at both companies. Her report on working mothers and breast-feeding inspired two readers to create the first free-standing lactation suites for nursing mothers, now available in airports and stadiums across the country. In 2016, Ms. Kantor and Catrin Einhorn reported and wrote “Refugees Welcome,” exploring the question: can regular citizens successfully intervene in one of the worst problems on earth?

For six years, Ms. Kantor wrote about Barack and Michelle Obama, delving into their ideas, biographies, family, marriage, faith and approach to the White House, and covering the 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns. Ms. Kantor’s book "The Obamas" chronicles their behind-the-scenes adjustment to the jobs of president and first lady. Writing in the New York Review of Books, Ezra Klein said, “Jodi Kantor’s ‘The Obamas’ is among the very best books on this White House.”

Before becoming a reporter, Ms. Kantor was the New York editor of Slate magazine and The Times’s Arts & Leisure editor. She is the recipient of awards from PEN America, the Canadian Journalism Foundation, Columbia College, and the Los Angeles Press Club and the Association for Education in Journalism.



Stephanie McCrummen is a national enterprise reporter for The Washington Post, covering an array of subjects. Previously, she was the paper's East Africa bureau chief based in Nairobi. She has also reported from Egypt, Iraq and Mexico, among other places. She joined The Post in 2004 as a Metro reporter covering the suburban housing boom. Before that, she was a reporter for Newsday in New York. She is originally from Birmingham, Ala.



Elle Reeve is a technology correspondent for VICE News Tonight. Prior to joining VICE, Elle was a senior editor at The New Republic, where she covered politics, culture, and trends in technology. Her writing has appeared in The Daily Beast, The Atlantic, and Racket Teen.



Charlayne Hunter-Gault is an award-winning journalist with more than 50 years in the industry.

She is the author of four books—the latest an e-book, called "Corrective Rape," which details the devastating way some men in South Africa attempt to “correct” gay women’s sexual identity; "To the Mountaintop: My Journey Through the Civil Rights Movement,” is a historical narrative for young readers grade nine and up, published by The New York Times and Roaring Brook Press. Her other two books are, "New News Out of Africa: Uncovering the African Renaissance," Oxford University Press and "In My Place," a memoir of the Civil Rights Movement, fashioned around her experiences as the first black woman to attend the University of Georgia, in 1961, now a Vintage Press paperback.

In 2005, she returned to NPR as a Special Correspondent after six years as CNN's Johannesburg bureau chief and correspondent. She joined CNN in April 1999 from National Public Radio, where she worked as the network's chief correspondent in Africa and was awarded a Peabody in 1998 for her coverage of the continent.

Hunter-Gault worked for 20 years with the PBS NewsHour, alternately as substitute anchor and national, as well as international correspondent. And she has now returned to the NewsHour as Special Correspondent, doing an unprecedented year long series called Race Matters, focusing on solutions to American’s enduring race problem.

She began her journalism career as a reporter for The New Yorker, to which she still contributes; she then worked as a local news anchor for WRC-TV in Washington, D.C later as the Harlem bureau chief for The New York Times.

Her numerous honors include a New York Times Publisher's award for a story she worked on detailing the life of the youngest victim of a heroin overdose in 1970. Hunter-Gault also has won two Emmy awards and two Peabody awards—the first for her work on Apartheid's People, a NewsHour series about South African life during apartheid; the second for her work in Africa for NPR, in which, according to the Peabody citation, she "demonstrated a talent for ennobling her subjects, and revealed a depth of understanding of the African experience that was unrivaled in Western media."

Over the years, Hunter-Gault has been the recipient of numerous other awards for her work and in August, 2005, she was inducted in the National Association of Black Journalists Hall of Fame. In 2014, she received Black Enterprises Legacy Award. In 2015 , she was honored with the Washington Press Club Foundation's Life Time Achievement Award and that same year was also inducted into the Atlanta Press Club's Hall of Fame.

Hunter-Gault is a sought after public speaker, holds some three dozen honorary degrees and is on the board of The Committee to Protect Journalists. She is married to businessman Ronald T. Gault, with whom she produces Passages--four South African Wine varietals. And she has two adult children, Suesan, an artist and singer and Chuma, an actor.


Earlier Event: April 4
Staying Live: Music & Entertainment
Later Event: April 11
On Location: Situation Interactive