It is a sobering day for journalism.

The day after students at the University of Kent were given an inspirational talk by Alex Crawford on reporting in conflict, Sunday Times journalist, Marie Colvin and French photographer Remi Ochlik, were killed during shelling in the city of Homs, Syria.

I left the lecture last night full of aspirations to follow in Alex Crawford's footsteps. However, the reality of war reporting has been brought home today. It takes immense bravery, courage and determination to be a foreign correspondent in a conflict zone. More than that, it takes belief and dedication to the cause, the belief that you will bring around a greater good by risking your life to tell the world what is happening.

I met Marie briefly during my work experience at the Sunday Times in January and you could feel her warmth and sense of humour within seconds of meeting her. The Assad Regime has taken the life of a brilliant journalist and Marie died trying to spread the word of the atrocities happening in Syria. The American born journalist had worked for the Sunday Times for 20 years, her career taking her all over the world to dangerous conflict zones. 

In a statement, the editor of the Sunday Times John Witherow said: "Marie was an extraordinary figure in the life of The Sunday Times, driven by a passion to cover wars in the belief that what she did mattered.

"Throughout her long career she took risks to fulfil this goal, including being badly injured in Sri Lanka. Nothing seemed to deter her. But she was much more than a war reporter. She was a woman with a tremendous joie de vivre, full of humour and mischief and surrounded by a large circle of friends, all of whom feared the consequences of her bravery."

David Cameron told the House of Commons during PMQ's: "This is a desperately sad reminder of the risks that journalists take to inform the world of what is happening and the dreadful events in Syria, and our thoughts should be with her family and her friends."

William Hague said: "Marie and Remi died bringing us the truth about what is happening to the people of Homs.

"Governments around the world have the responsibility to act upon that truth - and to redouble our efforts to stop the Assad regime's despicable campaign of terror in Syria."

The US has said her death brings home "the brutality of the regime". 

I can only hope that her death spurs on governments to resolve the situation in Syria. 

Her final report can be seen here

Her last audio report can be heard here

 

Comments

Excellent discussion last night on Radio 4's World Tonight programme - catch it on iPlayer if you're interested in the subject of citizen journalism versus the professional war reporter such as Colvin.

Sunday Times journalist, Marie Colvin, killed by shelling in Homs