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SPJ Creates Lifetime Achievement Award in Honor of Helen Thomas


Contacts: Sarah A. Shrode, SPJ communications director, 614/233-7588

ADAM'S MARK HOTEL, COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Society of Professional Journalists will recognize the distinguished journalism career of Helen Thomas, retired senior UPI White House correspondent and longtime SPJ member, with a lifetime achievement award created in her honor.

Thomas will be honored Saturday night as the first-ever recipient of SPJ’s Lifetime Achievement Award at the President’s Installation Banquet of the 2000 SPJ National Convention. In years to come, the Society will present a lifetime achievement award named for Thomas.

"Helen Thomas is an icon in our business," said Kyle Elyse Niederpruem, SPJ Board president and an assistant city editor at The Indianapolis Star, "and we’re honored to create a lifetime achievement award in her honor and perpetuity."

The President’s banquet will begin at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Woody Hayes Grand Ballroom of the Adam’s Mark Hotel, 50 N. Third St.

Thomas, famous for asking the first question at presidential press conferences, began her career in Detroit in the 1940s. She worked for the Washington Daily News, and in 1961, she became the UPI White House correspondent, a position she retained until her retirement.

"Helen Thomas has had a long and distinguished career as a journalist," said Ray Marcano, SPJ Board president-elect and Dayton Daily News regional editor. "SPJ is pleased to honor her with this award."

Media passes can be obtained at the SPJ registration desk or at the SPJ staff office at the Adam’s Mark Hotel in Columbus, Ohio, from Oct. 25-28. Media contact: Sarah A. Shrode, SPJ communications director.

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