Journalist Group Kills Award Named for Helen Thomas

SPJ's lifetime achievement award is going away
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 18, 2011 6:25 PM CST
A May 27, 2010, file photo, of Helen Thomas.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

(Newser) – This one has to sting: The Society of Professional Journalists is killing its Helen Thomas Lifetime Achievement Award because of the controversy over her infamous advice that Jews in Palestine should "go home," followed up by her accusation that "Zionists" own Congress and the White House. It follows a similar action by her alma mater Wayne State, notes Mediaite.

SPJ says it's not backtracking on its support of freedom of speech. "However, the controversy surrounding this award has overshadowed the reason it exists," says a statement. "To continue offering the award would reignite the controversy each year and take away from its purpose: honoring a lifetime of work in journalism. No individual worthy of such honor should have to face this controversy. No honoree should have to decide if the possible backlash is worth being recognized for his or her contribution to journalism."

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