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I have been associated with the George Polk Awards for half a century and the past 45 years consecutively as a juror and member of the committee charged by Long Island University with guiding the awards. Speaking for myself not the committee or LIU I think the very notion of using any awards process to further social or political goals violates a basic tenet of the kind of journalism we seek to honor. While there is no doubt the Pulitzers carry more prestige than the Polks m, one area that has distinguished our process is its independence of influence by our sponsoring institution (which unlike Columbia plays no role in selecting or approving winners) or representatives of competing entries To their credit the Pulitzers have democratized their work in recent years (moving away from undue influence of news executives prone to scratch each other’s backs). Making the prizes open only to entities adhering to certain policies would be a step too far — and in the wrong direction.

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