By: Staff reports

Interactive Newspapers Conference Commentary

NEW ORLEANS – After talking and learning about the latest Internet
applications this week, the newspaper industry was reminded of its core
mission – news – at the 5th Annual EPpy Awards dinner here Friday
night. Helen Thomas, dean of the White House Press Corps and UPI
correspondent at the White House for the past eight presidents, shared
anecdotes that revealed why she has succeeded for so long.

‘I do hope human touch remains in the robotic scheme of things,’ said
Thomas, who uses a laptop when traveling. ‘Human beings still count.’

And through descriptions of past presidents, the current elections, and
Monicagate, she showed the humanity behind what so often appears to be
‘just news’ to journalists.

Monicagate in particular has had an impact on the institution of the
presidency. Thomas fears that nothing will be sacred to the press.
‘There is an intrusive quality in the media today as they examine those
who aspire to lead,’ she said.

She reminded journalists of their role as self-appointed gate-watchers
of democracy and in doing so ‘comfort the afflicted and afflict the

As for her own career, Thomas said, ‘I was no lady, I was a reporter.’


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