Print options

July 20, 2013

Legendary White House Reporter Helen Thomas Dead at 92

by VOA News

Former White House correspondent Helen Thomas, who covered American presidents for nearly 50 years, has died at the age of 92.

Related  video report by Julia Taboh:
​​
Friends and colleagues say she died early Saturday at her home in Washington.
 
Thomas was a pioneer for women in journalism at a time when men dominated the profession. She covered every U.S. commander-in-chief since President John F. Kennedy.
 
U.S. President Barack Obama said Saturday Thomas opened doors and broke down barriers for generations of female journalists, all while keeping several presidents, including himself, "on their toes."
 
She was known to often express strong views on sensitive issues, even when questioning a president during nationally broadcast news conferences. Obama praised her "fierce belief" that democracy works best when tough questions are asked to hold leaders accountable. 
 
In 2010 Thomas was recorded on video saying that Israel should get out of Palestine. She later apologized but ended her White House career after the video led to widespread condemnation.
 
Helen Thomas worked for the United Press International wire service and Hearst newspapers. She ended dozens of presidential news conferences with the familiar phrase "Thank you, Mr. President."
 
White House Correspondents Association President Steve Thomma called Thomas a "trailblazer in journalism." She served as the first woman president of the association from 1975-1976.