US journalist. Having worked on various papers including the Herald Tribune, he became CBS's chief Middle East correspondent (1948). Married to a Greek woman, and based in Athens, that May he set off for Salonika in northern Greece, evidently to interview a leader of the communist forces then fighting a civil war. A few days later Polk's body was found washed ashore on Salonika Bay. There were a series of investigations by both Greek and US authorities and also by private American interests convinced that there was a cover-up; Greek pro-government and communist supporters charged each other with an assassination; although no findings have ever been agreed on by all parties, later investigations suggest Polk was killed on the orders of pro-government individuals, annoyed at his reports of their failings. Before 1948 ended, Long Island University initiated the George Polk Awards, given each year since to honour journalistic achievements (both print and broadcast).
Polk was born in Fort Worth, Texas. After three years at Virginia Military Institute, he left to work as a journalist. In 1937 he went to Alaska where he became the city editor of the Fairbanks Daily News; while there he completed his college education at the University of Alaska. In 1941 he was commissioned in the US Naval Reserve and served as a pilot in the South Pacific; wounded in action, he spent a year in a hospital before leaving the service in 1944. He returned to the Herald Tribune as a Washington correspondent and in 1945 he joined CBS radio as an overseas news correspondent.