BOSTON — David Rohde of The Christian Science Monitor has won the Livingston Award for Young Journalists for his international reporting on mass executions in Bosnia.
The other winners of this year's Livingston awards were Chris Adams, a reporter at the New Orleans Times-Picayune, for local reporting on Medicaid fraud; and Jim Lynch, a reporter at the Spokane, Wash., Spokesman-Review, for national reporting on militant separatist groups. Charles Peterson, founding editor of Washington Monthly, was given the first Richard M. Clurman Award for "nurturing, critiquing, and inspiring young journalists."
'Helped to change policy'
"[Mr. Rohde] deserves the highest award he can get," says journalist Mike Wallace of CBS's "60 Minutes" news program, who was one of the judges for the Livingston Award. "What [his work] showed me was courage, resourcefulness, and an extraordinary piece of reportage that helped to change policy."
In addition to the Livingston Award, Rohde won this year's Pulitzer Prize for international reporting, the Overseas Press Club of America award for best newspaper reporting from abroad, The George Polk Award for foreign reporting, The Sigma Delta Chi Award for foreign correspondence, Columbia Graduate School of Journalism's Paul Tobenkin Memorial Award for foreign reporting, the Investigative Reporters and Editors award for investigative reporting, and a Certificate of Recognition for Excellence in International Journalism from the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at the Johns Hopkins University.
"This absolutely validates the reporting," says Roy Gutman, a reporter for Newsday who won several awards in 1993, including the Pulitzer Prize, for his reports on death camps in Bosnia. "It says your peers have examined this and found that the method of reporting was equal to best. It says that all the top editors in our profession think this is not only the best-written account, but this is the story that matters this year."
Following the fall of the United Nations "safe area" of Srebrenica in Bosnia last July, rumors surfaced that Bosnian Serbs had executed thousands of Muslim men.
Rohde was the first Western journalist to visit the area in August and again in October, when he spent 10 days in a Bosnian Serb jail after discovering grim and compelling evidence of the largest massacre in Europe since the Holocaust.
Rohde's eyewitness evidence of massacres at Srebrenica and his comprehensive reporting helped stiffen Western resolve and further marginalize Bosnian Serb leaders Radovan Karadzic and Gen. Ratko Mladic.
Richard Holbrooke, former assistant secretary of state, said Rohde's reports helped him negotiate the Bosnia peace deal in Dayton, Ohio, last November. He used them to convince Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic that Mr. Karadzic and General Mladic, who deny involvement in the July massacres, played roles in them.
Mr. Holbrooke was then able to prevent the Bosnian Serb leaders from attending the November Dayton talks and from running for public office in this September's elections.
"What really stood out [in Rohde's reporting] was the methodology and thoroughness, and what I would call a legalistic approach," says Anne Nelson, a 1989 Livingston winner who teaches at Columbia's Graduate School of Journalism. "He put together the pieces of evidence for a case that seemed about as unassailable as you can get in journalism." Ms. Nelson served as a judge this year for the Overseas Press Club and Columbia awards.
Rohde is currently working on a book about the Srebrenica debacle. His work is providing evidence for The International War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague, and has prodded the West toward greater recognition of the atrocities that have taken place in the Balkans.
"Bosnia is not merely a tragedy of the former Yugoslavia, as David's pieces so dramatically point out," says ABC News anchorman Peter Jennings. "It is about us and where we stand on such issues. The Monitor did the country a great public service because it drew us back and forced us to appreciate what it is we stand for."