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Helen Thomas, a Hearst Newspapers columnist, served for fifty-seven years as a correspondent for United Press International and, as White House bureau chief, covered every president since John F. Kennedy. She was the first woman officer of the National Press Club after it opened its doors to women members, the first woman member and president of the White House Correspondents Association and the first woman member of the Gridiron Club. In 1998 she received the International Women’s Media Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award and was honored by President and Mrs. Clinton as the first recipient of the Helen Thomas Lifetime Achievement Award.
During the run-up to the Iraq War, the nation's leading print and broadcast media could have saved lives if they questioned the Administration's pronouncements. Instead, they were an echo chamber for the White House.
The Women Legislators Lobby (WiLL) is a professional organization of state legislators formed in 1990 as a program of WAND (Women's Action for New Directions). WAND's mission is to empower women to act politically to reduce militarism and violence, and to redirect excessive military spending toward unmet human and environmental needs. WAND/WiLL honors Helen Thomas with the 2003 BellSouth Torchbearer Award for her lifelong willingness to ask the "tough" questions and her recent commentary speaking truth to power.