Huffpost UK uk
The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Charlie Beckett Headshot

Marie Colvin: What She Would Have Wanted

Posted: Updated:

Anyone who worked with or met Marie Colvin, or consumed her extraordinary output knew she was more than just a great journalist. She was also a huge personality bursting with compassion for the suffering that her reporting showed us. She was a compelling writer with an eye for the human detail and a strong sense of the urgent narrative of conflict. But she also believed passionately in the importance of what she and other journalists covering conflict were doing.

She was killed doing that job.

There was no doubt from her last reports from Homs in Syria that she thought this was as desperate a situation as any she has covered over the decades.

Perhaps she was also naive, reckless and selfish. How could she put herself at such risk for journalism? Is any story really worth a life? Does this kind of bravado encourage less experienced journalists to put themselves in the line of fire?

Colvin would be the first person to agree with all that. She would also point out that it is the civilian casualties that matter. She would also tell you to pay attention to the translaters, fixers, camera crews and citizen journalists who die trying to tell these stories.

Colvin cared about the wider mission of war reporting. She implored media organisations to invest more in this expensive and risky part of our business.

Most 'war reporters' I've met don't actually like to be given that label. They know that they are in a unique field but they don't want to be treated as 'special'. That is true. We don't want to foster a macho, gung-ho cult of the hack with a helmet. But war reporting is different and especially dangerous.

The best memorial to her would be to renew and expand our commitment to 'conflict journalism'. There have been great improvements over the last few years by media organisations in promoting safety but still every year many journalists are killed around the world. Governments and criminals kill them as well as soldiers. Let us pay tribute to Marie Colvin, but let us also support those trying to tell us the truth from the most dangerous places in the world.

Here is ITV News Bill Neely's tribute.

Here is her audio interview with Channel 4 News from Homs.

Here is the text of her final article for the Sunday Times from Homs.

A tribute by Sunday Times editor John Witherow

Polis published a report on journalism safety here.

This post was first published on Charlie's blog and can be read here.

Around the Web

Journalists Marie Colvin, Remi Ochlik killed in Syria, activists and French ...

Sunday Times journalist Marie Colvin killed by Syrian regime forces in Homs

American war reporter Marie Colvin killed in Syria

Journalists Marie Colvin and Remi Ochlik die in Syria