Journalist Helen Thomas to Visit Mason

Posted: September 7, 2006 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

One of the most important female journalists in the United States will visit George Mason today.

Helen Thomas
Helen Thomas
Wikipedia photo

Helen Thomas, who is often referred to as the “First Lady of the Press,” is a former White House correspondent for United Press International (UPI) and the first female president of the National Press Club. She will eat lunch and talk with Mason students today from noon to 1 p.m. in the Johnson Center’s Dewberry Hall. All are invited.

“She especially enjoys talking with students,” says Tobin Beck, who invited Thomas to campus. Beck is a former UPI employee and teaches a journalistic writing course for the Communication Department.

Thomas, who was born to Lebanese parents, broke barriers for women reporters. She served as White House correspondent for UPI for 57 years. Born in Winchester, Ky., she was raised in Detroit and graduated from Wayne State University. In 1943, she joined UPI and wrote radio news for 12 years.

Eventually she covered news of the federal government and began covering the White House in 1961, according to the American Entertainment International speakers’ bureau.

According to the speakers’ bureau, Thomas was the only woman print journalist who traveled with President Nixon to China in 1972. She also covered Presidents Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush and Clinton.

Thomas has written four books, including a 2006 work, “Watchdogs of Democracy.”

After speaking to Beck’s class in the morning, Thomas will appear at the Communication Department’s welcome back ice cream social for communication undergraduates and those interested in studying communication.

For more information, contact Katherine Rowan, associate department chair, at or 703-993-4063.

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