WASHINGTON/NEW YORK (April 22, 2004)—Honoring outstanding members of the press at its 65th annual Overseas Press Club of America Awards dinner last night in New York City, host Charlie Rose presented the organization’s Edward R. Murrow Award for best television interpretation or documentary on international affairs to National Geographic Ultimate Explorer for its “Liberia: American Dream?” program. National Geographic Ultimate Explorer Executive Producer David Royle, along with the program’s producer/writer Scott Bronstein, correspondent Michael Davie, cameraman Neil Barrett and editor Pippa Gould were on hand at the Grand Hyatt Hotel to accept the prestigious award. National Geographic Ultimate Explorer on MSNBC is a production of National Geographic Television & Film (NGT&F).
National Geographic magazine also received a citation from the organization for its reporting from abroad, which was presented to writer Tom O’Neill for his June 2003 article “Untouchables,” on India’s lowest caste.
Speaking for the television production team, Royle said, “Our team spent five weeks in one of Africa’s worst combat zones to tell the compelling story of a 13-year civil war of which many Americans were unaware. The Edward R. Murrow Award is a testament to their hard work, courage and dedication in bringing unbiased reports of worldwide events to the world. We are truly honored to be recognized by the Overseas Press Club of America.”
National Geographic Ultimate Explorer’s “Liberia: American Dream?” was first broadcast on Sunday, Nov. 23, 2003, on the MSNBC cable network in the United States. The documentary is an unflinching and compelling account of Liberia’s 13-year civil war and the country’s close ties to the United States. Founded by freed American slaves, the country was once seen as an opportunity for a better life. After more than a century of political tension, economic hardship and international intrigue, Liberia has sunk into a morass of chaos and violence and is now largely overlooked by the world community. The National Geographic crew documented the ravages of war, including the wrenching stories of how women were victimized, young boys coerced into taking up arms and how more than 150 people gathered the immense courage required to be interviewed for this report.
O’Neill and Associate Editor Bernard Ohanian were in New York to accept the honor on behalf of National Geographic magazine.
“The insights that Tom O’Neill and photographer Bill Allard gained in their months of reporting brought to a wide audience the human side of a discrimination that some choose not to see. We are grateful that the Overseas Press Club has honored Tom’s compelling story,” said National Geographic Editor in Chief Bill Allen.
“Untouchables” spotlighted the plight of India’s 160 million Untouchables, branded as unclean from their moment of birth in a country where Hinduism, the religion of 80 percent of the population, governs daily life with its hierarchies and social codes.
“Prejudice defines their lives,” O’Neill wrote. “Untouchables are shunned, insulted, banned from temples and higher caste homes, made to eat from separate utensils in public places, and, in extreme but not uncommon cases, are raped, burned, lynched, and gunned down.”
About National Geographic Ultimate Explorer
National Geographic Ultimate Explorer is an hour-long, correspondent-driven series hosted by the gutsy and energetic Lisa Ling. Full of verve and charisma, Ultimate Explorer’s correspondents immerse themselves in far-flung locations and cultures, investigating critical issues and presenting highly personal documentaries that cover the world and all that’s in it. The series airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on MSNBC. For programming information and updates for National Geographic Ultimate Explorer, log on to www.nationalgeographic.com/ultimateexplorer. Worldwide, National Geographic’s television programming can be seen on the National Geographic Channel, MSNBC and PBS, home video and DVD, and through international broadcast syndication.
About National Geographic magazine
National Geographic magazine is the official journal of the National Geographic Society, one of the world’s largest nonprofit educational and scientific organizations. Published in 24 languages, the magazine has a circulation of more than 9 million that spans every country around the globe. It is sent each month to National Geographic members and is also available on newsstands for $4.95 a copy. Single copies can be ordered by calling (800) NGS-LINE, also the number to call to apply for membership of the Society.