Falls Church News-Press
Delegates at this week’s Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) convention in New Orleans voted 85-71 to uphold the national board’s decision to retire the Helen Thomas Award. The SPJ move was in reaction to Thomas telling an interviewer that Israelis should get out of the Palestinian territories and go to Germany, Poland or the U.S. Peter Sussman, author of a resolution favoring reinstatement of Thomas’ name, contends SPJ officials improperly used its code of ethics to make the decision. The code, he says, “is not for policing personal opinions of members or honorees.” Falls Church News-Press owner Nicholas Benton, who hired Thomas to write a weekly national affairs column in January, blasted SPJ’s decision, saying that “a basic tenet of journalism is that a firewall exists between the journalistic profession and pressure from special interest groups of any kind. Anyone who does not recognize that is not a journalist.” || From March 2011: SPJ beset by internal strife over Helen Thomas snub.