From a recent Q&A with Brian Lamb on C-SPAN:
LAMB: Helen Thomas has been around since the ’60s, maybe the ’50s.
LAMB: What, she just turned 87 years old?
SNOW: She’s either 86 or 87, yes.
LAMB: She went from being a UPI reporter, which meant as a wire service …
LAMB: … to being an opinionist and writing a column.
LAMB: First of all, how do you do that and stay in that same front row?
SNOW: I think what’s happened is, Helen, by virtue of longevity, has earned a place there, and the correspondents acknowledge it.
I’ve often said, if I’m 86 or 87, Iâ€™d love to be able to be sitting there, badgering the White House press secretary.
So, Helen, I think, is a special case, just because sheâ€™s been there for many years. She’s sharp. She tends to ask the similar sorts of questions all the time.
LAMB: Has the president ever called on her recently?
SNOW: Yes. In fact, he led off – not this press briefing, but the one before – with a question to Helen.