James Polk (journalist)

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James Polk
James Ray Polk

(1937-09-12)September 12, 1937
Oakton, Indiana
EducationIndiana University Bloomington
Years active1962 - present

James Ray Polk (born September 12, 1937) is an American journalist, known for his investigative reporting and coverage of American political corruption and fraud. Over the course of his career, he has covered the Raymond Donovan investigations, the Bert Lance controversy, the Abscam scandal, and the financial dealings of John Zaccaro, husband of 1984 Democratic vice presidential nominee Geraldine Ferraro.

In 1974, Polk won the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting for his coverage of the Watergate scandal for the now-defunct Washington, DC newspaper the Washington Star.[1][2]


Polk was born in Oaktown, Indiana, and at the age of eight he wrote about sports for the local paper, the Oaktown Press. After three years in the United States Navy, he attended Indiana University Bloomington and received his bachelor's degree in government 1964. He worked as a political staff writer for the Bloomington-based Herald-Telephone, and received the American Political Science Award. He moved to the Associated Press in 1962, and later joined the Washington Star in 1971.[3]

Polk covered the Watergate scandal extensively and received the Pulitzer Prize for his reportage in 1974.[4] The following year, he joined NBC News and covered political corruption and crimes. His most famous stories include Abscam, the racketeering case against Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos, and the Iran-Contra affair. Polk left NBC in 1992 and joined CNN as a senior documentary producer.


  1. ^ Journalism, Indiana University. "Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame". mediaschool.indiana.edu.
  2. ^ Who's Who in America, 1982-1983 Volume 2 (42nd ed.). Chicago: Marquis Who's Who. 1982. p. 2678. ISBN 0837901421.
  3. ^ "Honoree: Search Awards: University Honors & Awards: Indiana University". honorsandawards.iu.edu.
  4. ^ "Pulitzers Given for Reporting on Vesco and Nixon Tax; No Play or Novel Cited." The New York Times, May 7, 1974.