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Society of Professional Journalists could rename its 'Helen Thomas Award'

The 101-year-old Society of Professional Journalists may rename its Helen Thomas Award for Lifetime Achievement in the wake of that reporter's career-ending comments about Israel. Kevin Smith, the president of the SPJ, tells me that members of the executive board have been in touch with one another over "whether we need to consider this."

"I'm not personally inclined to advocate for this," Smith said. "Helen Thomas has been a member and supporter of SPJ for a very long time, and do we throw all that away for this last transgression? On the other hand, if you were Jewish and given this award, would you go up and accept it? Without taking a knee-jerk approach, you need to consider other perspectives."

Smith told me that the SPJ's board will meet in late July to discuss other issues, and that's when the subject of renaming the award -- which was first given to Thomas in 2000 -- could come up. "But if this thing escalates," Smith said, "we won't wait until then."

By David Weigel  |  June 7, 2010; 5:53 PM ET
Categories:  Media  
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