Lee Thornton, the first African American woman to serve as a White House correspondent for a major news network and former professor at Howard University and interim dean of the Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland, died late last month at her home in Bethesda, Maryland, of pancreatic cancer. She was 71 years old.
Thornton joined the staff at CBS News in 1974 and was assigned to the White House from 1977 to 1981. She later was the first African American host of All Things Considered on National Public Radio and was a producer for CNN.
Dr. Thornton joined the faculty at Howard University in 1983 and taught broadcast journalism there for 14 years. In 1997 she joined the faculty at the University of Maryland and remained there until her retirement from teaching in 2010.
Professor Thornton was a graduate of Michigan State University and earned a Ph.D. in radio, television, and film studies at Northwestern University.