ZC4U0886 Lee Thornton

Dr. Lee Thornton by John Consoli.

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Former Philip Merrill College of Journalism Acting Dean and Eaton Broadcast Chair Dr. Lee Thornton was  inducted posthumously into the National Association of Black Journalist’s (NABJ) Hall of Fame Jan. 16 during a gala at the Newseum.

Dr. Thornton passed away Sept. 25, 2013 after a brief illness.

Thornton was one of eight journalists inducted into the Hall of Fame that evening.

Here’s what the NABJ website had to say about her:

Dr. Lee Thornton received a master’s degree in rhetoric and public address from Michigan State University in 1968 and a doctorate in radio, television and film studies from Northwestern University in 1973. She joined CBS News in 1974 and, from 1977 to 1981, covered the Carter White House. In 1977, Lee Thornton became the first black woman to cover the White House regularly for CBS. She worked for the CBS affiliate in Detroit before joining National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered” program in 1982 as a weekend host. Two years later, she became a Washington-based reporter, producer and news anchor for the American Business Network, a cable news network run by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Dr. Thornton began teaching journalism at Howard University in the 1980s and took a sabbatical in the early 1990s to produce public affairs shows at CNN. In 1997, she joined the University of Maryland’s College of Journalism as the first holder of the Richard Eaton Chair in Broadcast Journalism. She created, wrote, produced and hosted “Front and Center,” a show that aired on the school’s cable station, UMTV. She was interim dean of the journalism school in 2008-09 and later served as interim associate provost for equity and diversity at the university. After retiring in 2011, she returned to work at the graduate school’s ombuds office. Dr. Thornton passed away in 2013. A video tribute was also shown during the event to honor all the inductees.

Here’s the tribute video produced by NABJ for Dr. Thornton:

The NABJ’s national headquarters are based at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland.