Flora Lewis

freelancer, United States.

Flora Lewis (1918-2002) covered the Navy and State Departments for the Associated Press during World War II. Post-World War Europe then became Lewis’s beat. She worked as a stringer for Time, The London Observer, The Economist of London, France-Soir and The New York Times magazine.

Lewis’ career began at the Associated Press in New York in 1943, but she soon transferred to Washington to cover the Navy and State Department during World War II. She moved to AP’s London bureau in 1945 – two days before V-J Day.

In 1956, Lewis joined The Washington Post to cover Eastern Europe. When a leader of Poland’s socialist party managed to escape to London, Lewis went to interview him before going to hospital to have a baby.

She stayed with The Washington Post until 1965, and moved to Paris and began her own syndicated foreign affairs column in 1967, writing about hot spots such as Vietnam, the Middle East and the United States. The column kept her on the move for years, taking her to Vietnam five times in five years, to the Middle East to cover the Six Day War and to Chicago and Miami during the 1968 political conventions.

In 1972, Lewis became chief of The New York Times Paris bureau. Four years later she was given the additional title of European diplomatic correspondent. In 1980, she became only the third Times correspondent to write the foreign affairs column. Lewis then joined The New York Times Syndicate in 1991, and wrote a weekly column through April 2002. She lived in Paris until her death in June 2002.

Lewis received numerous honors: in 1981, the Legion of Honor Cross of the Chevalier from the French government; in 1985, the Fourth Estate Award from the National Press Club for “a lifetime of contributions to American journalism”; and in 1999, the Lifetime Recognition Award from the Overseas Press Club of America.

Lewis graduated from UCLA and the Columbia University School of Journalism.

Flora Lewis is the ninth IWMF Lifetime Achievement Award winner from the United States, following Peggy Peterman (1999), Bonnie Angelo (1998), Nancy Woodhull (1997), Meg Greenfield (1996), Helen Thomas (1995), Katharine Graham (1994), Nan Robertson (1993) and Barbara Walters (1992). Colleen “Koky” Dishon (2001), Mary McGrory(2002), Belva Davis (2004), Molly Ivins (2005) and Edith Lederer (2008) won the award after her.

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