SPJ 2020 Journalism Conference • Sept. 12-13, 2020



Thomas’s key strokes

By Billy O'Keefe

WHITNEY BLAIR WYCKOFF / The Working Press
W: White House press corps veteran Helen Thomas’s Olivetti Lettera 32 portable manual typewriter is up for auction. She used the typewriter while she covered presidential administrations in the 1970s and ’80s, including for President Nixon’s 1972 visit to China.

Helen Thomas. (SPJ submitted photo)

Helen Thomas. (SPJ submitted photo)

$: $15,000 to $20,000 is what auction organizers are hoping to raise. They’re not sure how much they’ll get for the typewriter.
S: Sigma Delta Chi Foundation of Washington, D.C., gets the money for a scholarship fund that benefits students attending college in the Washington area.
B: Bidding started Thursday and ends Sept. 18. To bid, visit the Sigma Delta Chi Web site, www.sdxdc.org.
U: United Press International is where Thomas spent about 40 years covering the White House. She is now a columnist for Hearst Newspapers.
I: “I hope the typewriter will be an inspiration to future journalists, although I grant it has become an obsolete form of communication,” Thomas said, according to the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation of Washington, D.C., Web site.
T: Thomas “takes the public responsibility of the press really seriously,” said Terry Michael, director of the Washington Center for Politics & Journalism, for which Thomas is on the advisory board.
Helen Thomas’ Olivetti Lettera 32 portable manual, which is being auctioned by SPJ. The online auction will be conducted through Sept. 18. Visit www.sdxdc.org to fill out and submit your bid form.




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