"Very Tough Love" wins Polk Award

Feb 20, 2012

Our episode "Very Tough Love" is among the winners of the George Polk Awards in Journalism announced today by Long Island University.

From the press release:

Ira Glass with the public radio show "This American Life" earned the George Polk Award for Radio Reporting for "Very Tough Love," an hour-long report that showed alarmingly severe punishments being meted out by a county drug court judge in Georgia. Drug courts were set up to emphasize rehabilitation instead of incarceration, but Glass’ investigation revealed that Judge Amanda Williams strayed far from the principles and philosophy by routinely piling on jail sentences for relapses. One 17-year-old girl, initially in trouble for forging two small checks on her father’s account, was facing more than 10 years in jail. Following the airing of "Very Tough Love," Georgia’s Judicial Qualifying Commission filed 14 ethical misconduct charges against Williams. Within weeks of the filing of charges, Williams stepped down from the bench and agreed never to seek other judicial offices.

The Polk Awards, which place a premium on investigative reporting, were established in 1949 by LIU in honor of George Polk, a CBS correspondent who was killed in 1948 while covering the Greek civil war.