Honoring a Trail Blazer: Remembering Helen Thomas

Fearless White House correspondent paved way for fellow female journalists.
3:00 | 07/20/13

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Transcript for Honoring a Trail Blazer: Remembering Helen Thomas
presidents with her tough questions has died. She started covering the jfk administration, and continued right through president obama, sharing a birthday with him in fact. Tonight, a look back. Helen thomas covered ten presidents as far back as jfk. Right there in the oval office with lyndon johnson. Standing out in a sea of men, covering the house. She was the only female reporter to travel with nixon on a historic trip to china. But that didn't keep her from asking tough questions about watergate. Ms. Thomas, it would be improper for me to comment on the substance of any charges or indictment. Reporter: She believed asking tough questions was her duty. We are the watchdogs. Self-anointed, self-appointed, but we're there and it's very important that we be there. Reporter: Gerald ford said that she practiced a fine blend of journalism and act puncture. Why did you want to go to war the moment you stepped into the white house. I think your question, with all due respect to you as a lifelong journalist, I didn't want war. To assume I wanted war is just flat wrong, helen. Helen thomas was not intimidated by presidents. She would ask a question and ask it over again if she didn't get an answer and she felt there was no such thing as a rude question. Reporter: She was born on AUGUST 4th, 1920, WINCHESTER, Kentucky. One of nine children, the family would move to detroit. She earned her english degree in 1942 and headed to washington. Earning $24 a week to write radio copy. Her first assignment at white house, to cover the stylish first lady jackie kennedy. But she made it clear that she wasn't there to cover fashion. At the end of her career, a harsh comment on israel. Because of that, she lost her job as a columnist. But thomas said of her long career, she loved being in the white house and having an orchestra seat on history and every president standing there before her knew it. All right, helen, this is my inaugural moment here. I'm really excited. Mr. President, do you think that pakistan -- Reporter: She was off and running, no easy question for a newly elected president. Helen thomas will be buried in detroit. Her family says that a memorial service will be held in washington come october.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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