Less than a year after her ouster from the White House press room, Helen Thomas is back—and in a somewhat unlikely place, too: The 90-year old Washington veteran has signed on as a columnist for the Falls Church News-Press.
For any journalist, the adjustment to a new beat can be a tough one. After all, Thomas used to write about war and peace, presidential scandal, and international intrigue. And now she’s with a local paper whose current list of latest news stories include a report about a porch fire on Wayne Road (there were no injuries) and an all-ages bingo event at the McLean Community Center (“a great way for families to spend an afternoon”). Far be it from us to criticize a journalist who has covered every president since Eisenhower, but Thomas’ first column—about national social security policy—seemed a bit out of place in the News-Press‘ mix.
Luckily, Washington City Paper is here to help. We know that focusing on local affairs can be tough in a town where so many people have their eyes on the big game. Based on our close reading of the News-Press, here’s a few ways Thomas can still be her acerbic, combative self while also focusing more closely on her new employer’s Falls Church-centric subject matter.
- The Schools Budget: On Monday, the paper reported that the city’s schools chief was expected to call for “draconian cuts in the face of larger-than-expected enrollment growth.” Where did these new student come from? Vienna? Arlington? Europe? Possible Thomas headline: “NEW PUPILS SHOULD GET THE HELL OUT OF FALLS CHURCH.”
- Famous Dave’s: Another report in the current paper informed citizens that the Famous Dave’s pit-barbecue chain was “closing in on inking a lease” to operate at the former site of the Original Pancake House in the Broaddale Shopping Center. What right does the Minnesota-based barbecue chain have to usurp the beloved breakfast joint? Possible Thomas headline: “FAMOUS DAVE’S SHOULD GET THE HELL OUT OF THE ORIGINAL PANCAKE HOUSE.”
- Healthy School Meals: A brief News-Press item announced that the Falls Church program to regulate school vending machines, mandate cafeteria salad bars, and ban fried foods from school lunches was being nominated for a national award. But what if the purveyors of less-healthy eating stage a comeback. Possible Thomas headline: “JUNK FOOD SHOULD GET THE HELL OUT OF FALLS CHURCH SCHOOLS.”
Photo by Marion S. Trikosko [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons