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“First Lady of the Press” Unplugged


Jan Smith Donaldson, Stephanie Green, Helen Thomas and Nikki Schwab with Teatro Goldoni Chef Enzo Fargione. Photo courtesy of Janet Donovan.

A group of about twenty women in DC media gathered at Teatro Goldoni last week to honor one who paved the way- Helen Thomas.

Hosts Janet Donovan and Christine Warnke started a game that proved to be a fascinating lesson in history and journalism. Each around the table- which included WaPo’s Mary Ann Akers and Amy Argetsinger, CSPAN’s Greta Wodele, Gloria Dittus, Jan Smith Donaldson and Chicago Sun-Times’ Lynn Sweet- asked Thomas one question, on the record.

Ever wondered which President Thomas would have most wanted to sleep with? TWT’s Stephanie Green went there, and asked. “None,” Thomas was quick to reply- though she did share an anecdotal story about a walk home shared with President John F. Kennedy.

Her favorite active journalist? ABC’s Sam Donaldson, though she insists it’s not just because she was seated next to his wife (as Jan pumps arms in air). And least favorite? “Maybe a few people on Fox. They don’t like me either,” she says.

She commented that people often ask her what it was like to be a woman reporter- “Well I’ve never been anything else,” adding “nobody ever told me when I grew up in Detroit and went to public schools that it was a man’s world.”

And her advice for young journos? “You’re only as good as your last story.”


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