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News and Awards

The Marshall Project Wins Polk Award for “An Unbelievable Story of Rape”

“An Unbelievable Story of Rape” honored in justice reporting category.

The Marshall Project and ProPublica have been awarded a prestigious George Polk Award for their joint project, An Unbelievable Story of Rape.

It was August when Ken Armstrong of The Marshall Project and T. Christian Miller of ProPublica discovered they were working on different ends of the same story: an 18-year-old Washington state woman who had reported being raped at knifepoint only to be disbelieved by police and later prosecuted for lying to them. Years later, two relentless Colorado detectives, both women, arrested a serial rapist and were able to connect the case back to the original victim, who was finally believed.

An 18 year old girl reported a brutal assault. The police called her a liar. Then there was an investigation.
An Unbelievable Story of Rape
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Rather than trying to scoop each other, the two news organizations teamed up to write a braided narrative that is both a police procedural and a heartbreaking human story. Several law enforcement agencies requested permission to use “An Unbelievable Story of Rape” as part of training programs. The Washington police department that mishandled the initial investigation commended the authors’ even-handed approach.

This marks the first George Polk Award for The Marshall Project. “An Unbelievable Story of Rape” was also a National Magazine Award finalist.

Run by Long Island University, the Polk Awards honor the legacy of CBS correspondent George Polk, who was killed in 1948 while covering the civil war in Greece. The prizes emphasize the bold and influential work of reporters, placing a premium on investigative work that is “original, resourceful and thought-provoking.” A full list of this year’s winners can be seen here.