Leonard Karlin, a journalist and P.R. man who helped establish the George Polk Awards for journalism, died on Nov. 14. Cause of death was not released. He was 81.
Karlin received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Long Island University, where he served as the editor of the school’s newspaper. He took a job as an assistant to the university’s president and in 1949, co-created the George Polk Awards with journalism professor Ted Kruglak.
Established to memorialize the CBS News correspondent who died while reporting on a civil war in Greece, the Polk Awards have become one of the most respected journalism honors in America. Past winners have included Jimmy Breslin, Walter Cronkite, Peter Jennings, Ted Koppel, Charles Kuralt and Edward R. Murrow.
Karlin wrote many of the citations for the awards, and served on the committee that selected the winners. He taught journalism at LIU and worked as the director of communications for the school until 1967 when he left academia to pursue his own career in publishing.
In the 1970s and ’80s, Karlin edited Sports Inc. magazine and published Careers Magazine. He also wrote several books on career opportunities. A scholarship has been created at LIU in his honor.