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Remembering Lee Thornton, Who Broke Barriers In Journalism

Lee Thornton.
University of Maryland / Philip Merrill College of Journalism
Lee Thornton.

The news media has lost another trailblazer.

Two months after the death of Helen Thomas, another woman who broke important barriers in Washington's press corps has passed away.

Lee Thornton, the first African-American woman to cover the White House for a major news network (CBS) and the first black host of All Things Considered, died last Wednesday. The University of Maryland, where Thornton was a professor and former interim dean of the journalism school, reports she was 71.

TV Newser recaps Thornton's career:

-- 1974. Joins CBS.

-- 1977. Named that network's White House correspondent.

-- 1982. Joins NPR. Hosts All Things Considered's weekend edition.

-- 1992. Moves to CNN.

-- 1997. Joins the faculty at Maryland's Philip Merrill College of Journalism.

-- 2008-09. Is the journalism school's interim dean.

-- 2011. Now retired, she returns to be Maryland's interim associate provost for equity and diversity and is named the university's "woman of the year."

Lucy Dalglish, dean of the Merrill College, says of Thornton that she "was a journalism and communications scholar. She was a broadcast journalist. She excelled at both. And she could move back and forth in those fields seamlessly and be spectacularly good at both things."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.

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