MANHATTAN, NY--(Marketwire - April 9, 2010) -  George Polk Career Award Winner Gene Roberts delivered a call to arms to journalists gathered this week at Long Island University's 2009 George Polk Awards Luncheon in Manhattan.

In a riveting acceptance speech on Thursday, the former long-time Philadelphia Inquirer executive editor said American news organizations have dropped the ball in failing to report the dire consequences of the massive staffing cutbacks at newspapers across the country since 2008.

"We in journalism have not done... nearly enough to make cutbacks in journalism a national issue," said Mr. Roberts, who was at the helm of The Inquirer for 18 years during the 1970s and 1980s. "Every category of coverage -- national, foreign, state and local -- is suffering.

"This is not a just problem for journalism, this is a problem for democracy. What a democratic society does not know, it cannot act upon," added Mr. Roberts, who worked more than a half-century in journalism.

"News is democracy's food, and when it doesn't get it, the democratic process is malnourished."

Dubbed the "journalist's journalist" for his talents in mentoring countless reporters and editors, Mr. Roberts is widely respected for upholding high standards in journalism. The Philadelphia Inquirer earned seven Polk Awards and 17 Pulitzer Prizes during his tenure as executive editor.

The entire text of Mr. Roberts' remarks at the luncheon, held Thursday, April 8, at The Roosevelt Hotel, are available at

Some 200 people attended the George Polk Award Luncheon, during which the University gave out awards in 13 categories. A full listing of the 2009 George Polk Award winners is available at

George Polk Awards
Ranked among America's most coveted journalism honors, the George Polk Awards have been administered by Long Island University since 1949. They memorialize CBS correspondent George W. Polk, who was slain covering the civil war in Greece in 1948. A committee of jurors made up of University faculty members and alumni select the winners from entries submitted by journalists and news organizations as well as nominations made by a panel of journalists and editors, including a number of former winners.

About Long Island University
In its ninth decade of providing access to the American dream through excellence in higher education, Long Island University is a multicampus, diverse, doctoral institution of higher learning. One of the largest and most comprehensive private universities in the country, Long Island University offers more than 560 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degree programs and certificates, and educates over 27,000* students in degree-credit and continuing education programs in Brooklyn, Brookville (C.W. Post), Brentwood, Riverhead, Rockland and Westchester. The Arnold & Marie Schwartz College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences prepares students for successful careers in the fields of pharmacy and health care. The University's Global College provides a wide range of study abroad options at overseas centers in China, Costa Rica and India, and through program offerings in Australia, Taiwan, Thailand and Turkey.

Long Island University's more than 600 full-time faculty members provide outstanding instruction, which is supplemented by internships and cooperative education opportunities. The accomplishments of more than 178,000 living alumni are a testament to the success of its mission -- providing the highest level of education to people from all walks of life. The University's NCAA Division I and II athletic teams, nationally renowned George Polk Awards in journalism and Tilles Center for the Performing Arts provide enrichment for students and the community.

*This number includes high school students enrolled in one or more degree-credit courses.

The Brooklyn Campus is distinguished by...
dynamic curricula reflecting the great urban community it serves. Distinctive programs encompass the arts and media, the natural sciences, business, social policy, urban education, the health professions and pharmacy, and include the Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, the Ph.D. in Pharmaceutics, the D.P.T. in Physical Therapy and the Pharm.D. in Pharmacy. A vibrant urban oasis in downtown Brooklyn, this diverse and thriving campus offers academic excellence, personalized attention, small class size and flexible course schedules. In 2006, a $45-million Wellness, Recreation and Athletic Center was opened to serve the Campus and the surrounding community. In 2007, the Cyber Café was launched, providing a high-tech hot spot for students and faculty members to meet and eat.