Helen Thomas visits AU
Former journalist shares experiences in field
Noted journalist Helen Thomas spoke to communication students at AU about politics, her career as a journalist and the responsibility the media has to the American public.
"It's the best profession, I think," Thomas said about journalism. "You'll always have an education everyday, you'll always keep learning."
Thomas is lauded as one of the most influential women in journalism. She has covered every president since John F. Kennedy, and has been nicknamed the "First Lady of the Press."
Throughout her career, Thomas has been well known for her straightforward style of questioning.
"You've got to challenge them," she said about interviewing government officials. "Make them explain."
Thomas spent most of her career with United Press International, where she covered White House News. One of the highlights of her career was being the only female reporter allowed to accompany President Nixon on his 1972 trip to China.
"No one wanted to sleep, everything was a story," said Thomas. "The American people were just waiting for every word about China."
Thomas also faced significant gender bias throughout her career, such as being barred from White House Press Dinners and the National Press Club.
"It was a struggle," Thomas said. "[Women] still don't have true equality...I don't think they should ever stop working for equality in the workplace."
In 2000, Thomas left UPI to work for Hearst Newspaper, where she now writes an opinion column, which allows her to express her views and beliefs concerning the current administration.
Thomas also spoke about the media's failure to question the president following Sept. 11.
"We're the last line of defense to get the information from the president," said Thomas.
Thomas said that despite her outspoken political views and personal opinions, she maintained unbiased in her writings. "I had to stick to the facts, keep all my feelings, emotions and opinions out of my copy."
She encouraged students to continue pursuing journalism. "Read a lot of newspapers," she said. "And I think everyone should read the funnies everyday, because that's where the wisdom is"