Anna Deavere Smith Receives George Polk Award in Journalism 2017 for Notes From The Field by Photojournalist Lisa Pacino
Long Island University (LIU) has announced the winners of the 68th annual George Polk Awards in Journalism, continuing the University’s longstanding tradition of honoring and celebrating the impact of courageous and authentic journalism on our national and global discourse. Anna Deavere Smith a professor, playwright, and actress who has brought journalism to the stage, Notes from the Field: Doing Time in Education,in an acclaimed interview-based dramatic depictions exploring urban conflict in Brooklyn and Los Angeles and, most recently, connecting incarceration of minority youth to lack of educational access and economic opportunity, will be the 35th recipient of the George Polk Career Award. The George Polk Awards are conferred annually to honor special achievement in journalism.
Anna Deavere Smith. Photography by Lisa Pacino.
The George Polk Awards place a premium on investigative and enterprising reporting that gains attention and achieves results. They were established in 1949 by Long Island University in New York to commemorate George Polk, a CBS correspondent murdered in 1948 while covering the Greek civil war. For over 60 years, LIU has been the proud home of the George Polk Awards in Journalism, the first major award of its kind to recognize reporting across all media. This prestigious honor focuses on the intrepid, bold, and influential work of the reporters themselves, placing a premium on investigative work that is original, resourceful, and thought-provoking. Among the many journalism greats who are Polk laureates are Walter Cronkite, Edward R. Murrow, Christiane Amanpour, Peter Jennings, Norman Mailer, Diane Sawyer, Seymour Hersh, Glenn Greenwald, Bob Woodward, Carl Bernstein, and more. On April 22, 2008 the United States Postal Service issued first-class rate postage stamps to honor five journalists of the 20th century, among them were George Polk. Polk was related to US Presidents James Knox Polk and Andrew Jackson. He was born in Fort Worth, Texas. He was a 1938 graduate of the University of Alaska.
Anna Deavere Smith was born on September 18, 1950 in Baltimore, Maryland. She is an stage, film, and television actress, playwright, author, and professor. She is currently the artist-in-residence at the Center for American Progress. Smith is known for her television roles in The Practice, 2000; The West Wing, 2000 – 2006; and in the Showtime series Nurse Jackie, 2009 – 2015. Her film roles include Philadelphia, 1993; The American President, 1995; and Rent, 2005. Her Theatre work includes Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor, but perhaps best known for her “documentary theatre” style in plays such as Fires in the Mirror (based on the 1991 Crown Heights riots) and Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992 (based on the 1992 Los Angeles riots). She is a recipient of The Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize in 2013, one of the richest prizes in the American arts, with a remuneration of $300,000, and was named the Jefferson Lecturer for 2015. As a dramatist, Smith was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1993 for Fires in the Mirror which won her a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding One-Person Show. She was nominated for two Tony Awards in 1994 for Twilight: one for Best Actress and another for Best Play. The play won her a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Solo Performance and a Theatre World Award. Smith was one of the 1996 recipients of the MacArthur Fellowship, often referred to as the “genius grant.” She also won a 2006 Fletcher Foundation Fellowship for her contribution to civil rights issues, as well as a 2008 Matrix Award from the New York Women in Communications, Inc. In 2009, she won a Fellow Award in Theater Arts from United States Artists. She has received honorary degrees from University of Pennsylvania, Spelman College, Arcadia University, Bates College, Smith College, Skidmore College, Macalester College, Occidental College, Pratt Institute, Holy Cross College, Haverford College, Wesleyan University, School of Visual Arts, Northwestern University, Colgate University, California State University Sacramento, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Wheelock College, Williams College, Yale University, and the Cooper Union. The United Solo Theatre Festival board awarded her with the award for outstanding solo performer during the inaugural edition in November 2010. In 2013, she received the 2012 National Humanities Medal from President Barack Obama. In 2015 the National Endowment for the Humanities selected her for the Jefferson Lecture, the U.S. federal government’s highest honor for achievement in the humanities, delivering a lecture entitled On the Road: A Search for American Character.
Notes from the Field: Doing Time in Education was created, written, and performed by Anna Deavere Smith; music composed and performed by Marcus Shelby; directed by Leonard Foglia. The Second Stage Theatre’s New York Premiere production opened on November 2, 2016 at the Tony Kiser Theatre, New York (previews began on October 15th).
Actress Tyne Daly and Anna Deavere Smith. Photography by Lisa Pacino.
Lisa Pacino and Under The Duvet Productions are based in New York. Photography services are available worldwide. If you wish to book photography services, receive information, and/or license images for commercial and/or promotional use please E-mail: UnderTheDuvetProductions@gmail.com