Journalist Helen Thomas dead at 92

Famed White House journalist Helen Thomas has died at the age of 92.
The Gridiron Club and Foundation, a journalistic organization in Washington, D.C., confirmed Thomas’ passing to NBC News on Saturday.
Thomas died on Saturday morning at her Washington apartment after a long illness – the club said in a statement. A former president of the Gridiron Club, Thomas broke a long line of all-male leadership when she was chosen for the position in 1993.
The journalist who scored a front-row seat at White House press briefings after years of reporting for wire services had been in and out of the hospital recently, a friend (Muriel Dobbin) told the Associated Press. The daughter of Lebanese immigrants, Thomas had grown up in Detroit before moving to Washington, D.C., where she broke several barriers for female correspondents.

Journalist Helen Thomas dead at 92
Helen Thomas.

Thomas was a trailblazer and gadfly. Had she stepped away after the first six decades of her career, she would have been hailed simply as one of the most famous White House reporters in modern times.
“It sounds glamorous, and it is — and it’s a wonderful job — but there’s a lot of legwork involved in doing it well. And Helen was committed to doing it as well as anybody” – former Associated Press reporter Jennifer Loven says.
Loven and Thomas met while Loven was working as an intern in the early 1990s. She retained her awe for Thomas as she rose to be a full-fledged White House correspondent for the AP. Even after decades on the job, Loven says, Thomas continued to scramble after stories, and yet took time to mentor a younger woman who was reporting for a rival news agency.
“You know, there is a confederation among journalists that you help each other up until the moment when you have to beat the crap out of each other” – Loven says. “And she was true to that.”

Presidents don’t often comment on the deaths of reporters, but Helen Thomas wasn’t your typical reporter.
The first female journalist to cover the president full time, Thomas reported — aggressively — on 10 chief executives, from John Kennedy to Barack Obama.
Thomas died Saturday at age 92.
“Helen was a true pioneer, opening doors and breaking down barriers for generations of women in journalism” – President Obama said in a statement. “She covered every White House since President Kennedy’s, and during that time she never failed to keep presidents – myself included – on their toes.”
Obama also said:
“What made Helen the ‘Dean of the White House Press Corps’ was not just the length of her tenure, but her fierce belief that our democracy works best when we ask tough questions and hold our leaders to account. Our thoughts are with Helen’s family, her friends and the colleagues who respected her so deeply.”

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