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Sunday, September 4, 2016

Be diligent in seeking the truth

“We don't go into journalism to be popular. It is our job to seek the truth and put constant pressure on our leaders until we get answers.” –  Helen Thomas
One of the highlights of my career as a journalist was meeting with and learning from the great White House news correspondent Helen Thomas who advised me to always be tough on politicians when interviewing them, and never shirk the truth or what needs to be shared from what a political leader is saying.
While today's politicians would probably list her and her questioning as "rude," she said she never thought of her questions that way.    “You need to ask what needs to be asked and be tough,” she advised.  
Thomas was the first female officer of the National Press Club, the first female member and president of the White House Correspondents' Association and the first female member of the Gridiron Club. She wrote six books; her last, with co-author Craig Crawford was 2009’s Listen Up, Mr. President: Everything You Always Wanted Your President to Know and Do.   Born on this date in 1920, she got into journalism during World War II and remained active in writing and reporting for the next 65 years.  She died in 2013 at age 92. 
Shortly before her death and saddened by trends             
 in 21st Century journalism, she wrote, “Everyone 
with a cell phone thinks they're a photographer. Everyone with a laptop thinks they're a journalist.  But they have no training, and they have no idea of what we keep to in terms of standards, as in what's far out and what's reality. And they have no dedication to truth.”

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