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Lee Thornton, First African American Woman to Cover the White House for TV, Has Died

LeeThorntonLee Thornton, a former CNN and CBS correspondent, has died.

Thornton, who died Wednesday of pancreatic cancer, was the first African American woman to cover a regular White House beat for one of the big three broadcast networks, at CBS News. Thornton joined CBS in New York in 1974, before moving to Washington where she worked alongside Lesley Stahl and Ed Bradley. She was named White House correspondent in 1977 where she would remain for four years.

In 1982 she moved to NPR where she was the first African American woman to host the weekend edition of “All Things Considered.” She returned to TV joining CNN in 1992.

In 1997, following her years as a journalist, Thornton turned to teaching a new generation of reporters, anchors, producers and writers. She joined the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland where she also produced several programs for the college. Thornton (above, center) was interim dean of the college in 2008-09. Recently, she had been serving as Interim Associate Provost for Equity and Diversity for the university. In 2011 she was named the University of Maryland’s “Outstanding Woman of the Year.”

(Photo: University of Maryland)

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