The White House Correspondents Association, which has represented the White House press corps for 99 years, issued this statement today on the passing of Helen Thomas:
Helen Thomas was a trailblazer in journalism and in the White House press corps, covering presidents from John F. Kennedy through Barack Obama.
Starting with the Kennedy administration, she was the first woman to cover the president and not just the First Lady.
At her urging in 1962, Kennedy said he would not attend the annual dinner of the White House Correspondents Association unless it was opened to women for the first time. It was.
And in 1975-76, she served as the first woman president of the association.
Women and men who’ve followed in the press corps all owe a debt of gratitude for the work Helen did and the doors she opened. All of our journalism is the better for it.
-Steven Thomma, president, White House Correspondents Association