Sports Column Writing
WINNER: SALLY JENKINS, THE WASHINGTON POST
Beijing has its splendors: ambrosial pear juice and duck skin in coarse sugar, ancient gnarled cypresses, bending willow trees, palaces with concealed courts, and sprawling districts in which nationalities blend into a worldly sauntering crowd. But the air is not one of those splendors. In fact, depending on which way the wind blows, it can seem as if the countryside is burning, or as if you are standing behind the tailpipe of a bus.
Sally Jenkins decided well before the Olympics to see whether China made good on its pledge to make drastic changes in how it dealt with its people. In the process, Jenkins “held Chinese government and IOC [International Olympic Committee] accountable with devastatingly biting columns” seeing “a different Beijing than the one most Americans saw on NBC,” said Emilio Garcia-Ruiz, The Washington Post’s assistant managing editor/sports.
Jenkins railed against U.S. corporations for ignoring human rights issues and blasted the Chinese for bulldozing homes to build Olympic venues, and for locking up a prominent dissident.
She said her experience in China made her “very intensely aware of the basic difference between a society in which journalists and lawyers can work unfettered, and one in which they can’t. Anyone who complains about American newspapers should go to China for a month.”
Judges lauded Jenkins for writing “on a higher plane, about a nation of people, taking on injustices at the highest levels. Her pursuit of truth, cutting deeply through the surface gloss, is stunningly powerful and admirable.”
Jenkins said her inspiration was simple: “To tell the truth about them, to remind audiences that the Summer Games were essentially a circus, and that very real human rights abuses had gone into the staging of them.”
More online: http://tinyurl.com/lxhkrd