Helen Thomas

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Thomas in February 2009

Helen Thomas (August 4, 1920 – July 20, 2013)[1] was an American author and news service reporter. She was a member of the White House press corps and opinion columnist. Thomas was the first female White House press correspondent.[2]

Thomas was the only female print journalist to travel to China with President Richard Nixon during his historic trip in 1972.[3] She traveled around the world several times with all U.S. Presidents since Richard Nixon. She covered every Economic Summit since 1975.

Thomas worked up to the position of UPI's White House Bureau Chief, a post she would hold for over 25 years. While serving as White House Bureau Chief, she authored a regular column for UPI, "Backstairs at the White House."[4] The column provided an insider's view of various presidential administrations.

Thomas was the only member of the White House Press Corps to have her own seat in the White House Briefing Room. All other seats are assigned to media outlets.

Awards[change | change source]

Thomas received numerous awards and more than 30 honorary degrees. In 1976, Thomas was named one of the World Almanac's 25 Most Influential Women in America.[5]

In 1993, Thomas won the Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism.[6] In 1995 she received the Courage in Journalism Award.[7]

In April 2012, Thomas received an award from the Palestine Liberation Organization. The award was presented by Hanan Ashrawi to "recognize Thomas' long career in the field of journalism, during which she defended the Palestinian position every step of the way."[8]

Personal life[change | change source]

Thomas was born on August 4, 1920 in Winchester, Kentucky. She is of Lebanese descent. Thomas was raised in Detroit, Michigan. She studied at Wayne University. Thomas was married to Douglas B. Cornell from 1971 until they divorced 1982. They had no children. Thomas died on July 20, 2013 in Washington, D.C. from natural causes, aged 92.[9]

References[change | change source]

  1. "Helen Thomas Dies at 92". Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 20 July 2013.
  2. NPR staff (July 13, 2000). "Helen Thomas, Consumer Advocate". NPR. Retrieved June 11, 2010.
  3. UPI staff (February 8, 1972). "Nixon's China Trip Journalists Chosen". The Pittsburgh Press. UPI. p. 8. Retrieved June 11, 2010.
  4. Helen Thomas (March 11, 1980). "Backstairs At The White House". Nashua Telegraph (New Hampshire). UPI. p. 7. Retrieved June 11, 2010.
  5. Sullivan, Patricia (July 20, 2013). "Helen Thomas dies at 92; journalist was the feisty scourge of presidents". Washington Post. Retrieved 27 December 2016.
  6. Arizona State University. "Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication". Retrieved December 27, 2016.
  7. "Courage In Journalism Award Winners (1990-2016)". International Women's Media Foundation. Retrieved 27 December 2016.
  8. Ravid, Barak (April 2, 2012). "Former White House reporter Helen Thomas honored by Abbas". Haaretz. Retrieved 27 December 2016.
  9. "Helen Thomas, pioneering White House journalist, dies at 92". NBC News. Retrieved 20 July 2013.

Other websites[change | change source]