Corinne Reilly who reports on military affairs for The Virginian-Pilot, has won the 25th annual Gerald R. Ford Prize for Distinguished Reporting on National Defense. The $5,000 award recognizes journalists whose high standards for accuracy and substance help foster a better public understanding of National Defense. This year, the award will be presented by Steve Ford, son of the late President Gerald R. Ford and Chairman of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation, at a National Press Club luncheon in June. Following the presentation of the award, Chris Matthews will address the audience.

When announcing their decision to award Corinne Reilly the Gerald R. Ford Prize for Distinguished Reporting on National Defense in 2011, the judges issued the following statement.

“From this remarkable group of entries, the judges have selected Corinne Reilly from The Virginian-Pilot for the 2011 Gerald Ford Award for Distinguished Reporting on National Defense. Ms. Reilly’s poignant writing, which covered the NATO combat hospital in Kandahar, Afghanistan, was at once horrifying and riveting. None of the judges could put her work down once they started reading it.

The series, aptly entitled “A Chance in Hell,” described a military system that fights with equal determination for the survival of all of its seriously wounded patients – from soldiers in the field to Sam 80, a 10-year old Afghani child shredded by an IED. Ms Reilly’s stories provided a window not only on the trauma to injured soldiers but to the emotional impact on the international medical teams and care-givers who treat them. In a very direct way, this set of articles helps bring the reality of war to a public largely disconnected from the war.

The judges were impressed with the clarity of Ms. Reilly’s writing. Her straightforward, conversational style – largely without the flourish of adjectives – was nonetheless powerful and profoundly moving. The judging panel felt that her work helped foster better understanding of national defense issues and more than admirably met the Foundation’s criteria for quality, insightfulness, resourcefulness and brevity.”

The judges for this year’s contest were:
Chair, Debra van Opstal, Executive Director, US Resilience Project; Michael Champness, Reserve Colonel on active duty, Senior Individual Mobilization Augmentee to the Deputy Director of Operational Capability Requirements at Air Force Headquarters; Robert Holzer, Principal Analyst, National Security Programs, Gryphon Technologies, and recipient of the 1998 Gerald R. Ford Journalism Prize for Distinguished Reporting on National Defense; David M. Olive, Principal at Catalyst Partners with more than 30 years experience in business, politics, law, and public affairs, including establishment of The Washington Homeland Security Roundtable; Erik Peterson, Managing Director of the Global Business Policy Council at AT Kearney and Senior Associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies; Karen Scowcroft, Senior Vice President and Chief Counsel – Financial Services for CIT Group Inc.

The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation sponsors the Gerald R. Ford Journalism Prizes for Distinguished Reporting on the Presidency and Distinguished Reporting on National Defense to recognize and encourage thoughtful, insightful, and enterprising work by journalists covering the presidency and national defense. The Foundation is a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan corporation whose programs are supported entirely by contributions and bequests in an effort to honor President Ford’s sustained commitment to public service.

For more information about the annual prize or previous winners contact: Joe Calvaruso, Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation, 303 Pearl Street NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504-5353, (616) 254-0397, or visit our website at .

This year’s winner:
Corinne Reilly reports on military affairs for The Virginian-Pilot. She joined the paper in 2009 after four years covering local government and higher education at the Merced (Calif.) Sun-Star, her first newspaper. She has reported from Iraq, Afghanistan and Haiti, and was named a finalist for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize in feature writing. A native of San Jose, Calif., she is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara and lives in Norfolk, Va.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This