The Shop Talk panelists discuss the career of Helen Thomas, who died this month at the age of 92.
Thomas was a trailblazer. She began covering the White House at the start of John F. Kennedy’s presidency in 1961. At the time, the White House press corps was dominated by men.
Thomas covered every president from Kennedy to Barack Obama and eventually became of the dean of White House reporters. She earned the front and center seat at White House news conferences and was often called on for the first question.
Thomas did not coast on her credentials. She still asked tough questions to the end of her career and she was an equal opportunity agitator – it didn’t matter which party was in power, she held presidents accountable.
Thomas participated in a panel discussion a few years ago at Western Illinois University. Shop Talk panelist Lisa Kernek said Thomas was “terrific” during that appearance, and she hoped young journalists found Thomas inspiring.