Seymour Hersh

Award Year: 
2008
Recipient Name: 
Seymour Hersh
Brief Summary: 
Hersh’s journalism and publishing awards include the 1970 Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting for exposing the My Lai massacre and cover up during the Vietnam War, in 1969. He has also received five George Polk Awards, two National Magazine Awards, and more than a dozen other prizes for investigative reporting.
Biography: 

Seymour M. Hersh, a Pulitzer Prize winning investigative reporter, author and regular contributor to The New Yorker magazine, is this year’s William Allen White Foundation National Citation recipient.

Hersh’s journalism and publishing awards include the 1970 Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting for exposing the My Lai massacre and cover up during the Vietnam War, in 1969. He has also received five George Polk Awards, two National Magazine Awards, and more than a dozen other prizes for investigative reporting.

In 2004, Hersh exposed the Abu Ghraib prison scandal in a series of pieces in The New Yorker. Early in 2005, he received the National Magazine Award for Public Interest, an Overseas Press Club award, the National Press Foundation’s W. M. Kiplinger Distinguished Contributions to Journalism award, and his fifth George W. Polk award, making him that award’s most honored laureate.

Hersh also has won two Investigative Reporters & Editors prizes, one for “The Price of Power,” in 1983, and the other for “The Samson Option,” a study of American foreign policy and the Israeli nuclear bomb program, in 1992. In 2004, Hersh won a National Magazine Award for public interest for his pieces “Lunch with the Chairman,” “Selective Intelligence,” and “The Stovepipe.”

Hersh was born in Chicago, in 1937, and graduated in 1958 from the University of Chicago. He began his newspaper career as a police reporter for the City News Bureau of Chicago.

While serving in the Army, Hersh worked on the base newspaper in Fort Riley, Kan., in late 1962. He also worked as a public information officer and wrote speeches for the general. After serving in the Army, he worked for a suburban newspaper and then for UPI and AP until 1967, when he joined the Presidential campaign of Eugene J. McCarthy as speechwriter and press secretary.

Hersh joined The New York Times in 1972, working in Washington and New York. He left the paper in 1979 and has been a freelance writer since, with two six-month stints on special assignment to The Times’s Washington bureau. He first wrote for The New Yorker in 1971 and has been a regular contributor to the magazine since 1993.

Hersh has published eight books, most recently, “Chain of Command,” which was based on his reporting for The New Yorker on Abu Ghraib. His book prizes include the 1983 National Book Critics Circle Award, The Los Angeles Times award for biography, and a second Sidney Hillman award for “The Price of Power: Kissinger in the Nixon White House.”

Hersh is married, with three children, and lives in Washington, D.C.

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