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SPJ's executive committee recommended the society "retire" the Helen Thomas award. (Credit: YouTube, Associated Press0

The Society of Professional Journalists’ executive committee recommended that the SPJ “retire” its Helen Thomas award.

The SPJ explained in a news release that the committee’s “recommendation, which will be sent to the full board of directors within the next 10 days for a vote, states that the award will be retired with Thomas’ name attached.”

The award will no longer be given, but Thomas’ name will be attached to the past award, if the board of directors accepts the committee’s recommendation.

“While we support Helen Thomas’ right to speak her opinion, we condemn her statements in December as offensive and inappropriate,” the executive committee reportedly stated.  As iMediaEthics wrote in December, Thomas made controversial comments about Zionists and as a result, Wayne State Univ. also ended its award in Thomas’ name.  She stated:

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“We are owned by propagandists against the Arabs. There’s no question about that. Congress, the White House, and Hollywood, Wall Street, are owned by the Zionists. No question in my opinion. They put their money where their mouth is…We’re being pushed into a wrong direction in every way.”

According to the SPJ bylaws, the executive committee is made up of “the officers, the immediate past president and two directors chosen annually by the board of directors.”

UPDATE: 1/16/2011 8:58 AM EST: The SPJ’s board of directors “Voted to retire” the award Jan. 14.

UPDATE: 1/17/2011 11:01 AM EST: Corrected the above update to say Jan. 14 (not Dec. 14). Thanks to former SPJ ethics committee chair Andy Schotz for pointing out our typo.

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SPJ Exec Committee Recommends Ending Helen Thomas Award

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