Sunday, September 16, 2007

A Negative Miss America Article in the New York Times???

I have no idea if this letter is legitimate; I guess time will tell…

Dear State Executive Directors,

Recently, our office was approached by a writer from the New York Times inquiring about the scholarship program and how our contestants are paid each year. The writer had been researching this subject for several weeks and had spoken with some previous contestants who reached out to her directly. These former contestants, to the best of our knowledge had NOT followed MAO guidelines and proper procedures and therefore may have missed out on some of their scholarship awards. This will be the focus of the story.

Our office spoke at great lengths with this writer to present a more accurate account of the process that we have in place to present a fair and balanced story. Unfortunately, the writer seems to be focused on a very small number of girls that missed out on the scholarships and not on the thousands that benefit every year from our program.

We hope that you will understand when reading the story which should come out within the upcoming week, that it was handled aggressively, yet in an extremely measured and thoughtful way. Our Organization's behavior is beyond reproach and we hope that our position is interpreted in this way. Our statement is as follows:

The Miss America Organization is absolutely unaware of any young lady that has ever been denied payment of scholarships after properly following the application process. When questions arise and come to our attention, we are very proactive and call the individual state to discuss any contestant confused by the application process. The Miss America Organization is built on a tradition that spans over 86 years and continues to be a wonderful institution because it enables young women every year to participate in the Scholarship Program to further their education and to help them achieve their goals. The Miss America Organization will ALWAYS stand behind payments to its contestants by ensuring that its state organizations follow their own official scholarship agreements filed with our office.

We thank you for your continued support,

Sharon Pearce
Director of Communications

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