Holly Williams may be a relative newcomer to CBS News, but her experience as an international reporter is already bringing attention to the network. Williams was recently honored with a George Polk award for her coverage of Chinese human rights campaigner Chen Guangcheng.
Receiving the award for this particular story was especially rewarding for Williams, who tells TVNewser Guangcheng’s escape to the U.S. embassy in Beijing was “the most exciting story” she covered during the time she was based in China. Williams met Guangcheng before he went to prison and was “very impressed” with him as a person, she says.
“It’s a story that’s close to my heart. It was wonderful to be honored for it,” Williams says. “I tend to think history isn’t about big, broad trends. It’s about individuals that make a difference. I think the great escape was a great example of that.”
To cover the story, Williams and her cameraman snuck into Guangcheng’s hometown at night when the village was unprotected. After being spotted by a local official during their first attempt to enter the village, the pair made a “hasty escape.” They were subsequently tailed by the official for several miles.
“I thought really that we’d blown the story,” Williams recalls. Read more