“How do I keep my craft alive in a world that doesn’t value it? I feel like I am the last reporter in the YouTube world.” – Marie Colvin
Marie Colvin was a Long Island native and acclaimed war correspondent, tragically killed in Syria on February 22, 2012, while covering the conflict for The Sunday Times of London. She was known for her moving accounts of innocent civilians caught in the tide of war, and for her courage, tenacity and indefatigable commitment to truth-seeking.
Colvin’s career spanned 30 years and took her to conflict zones around the globe, including East Timor, Zimbabwe, Libya, Tunisia, Chechnya, Kosovo, Iraq and Sri Lanka.
“The need for front line, objective reporting has never been more compelling,” Marie Colvin said in a 2010 speech. “We must remember how important it is that news organizations continue to invest in sending us out at great cost, both financial and emotional, to cover stories.”
Energetic, passionate and wry, Colvin dedicated her life to giving voice to the voiceless. She was a two-time recipient of the British Foreign Correspondent Reporter of the Year Award, the recipient of the Foreign Press Association’s Journalist of the Year award, and the International Women’s Media Foundation award for Courage in Journalism for her coverage of Kosovo and Chechnya.
Colvin made international headlines in 1999 after refusing to evacuate a United Nations compound under attack by Indonesian-backed forces in East Timor. She stayed as other journalists fled. The stand-off brought attention to the plight of 1,500 women and children, who as a result were eventually evacuated to safety.
“In an age of 24/7 rolling news, blogs and twitters, we are on constant call wherever we are,” she said. “But war reporting is still essentially the same – someone has to go there and see what is happening. You can’t get that information without going to places where people are being shot and others are shooting at you.”
In later years, she was recognizable by a trademark black eye patch, which she wore after losing her left eye to shrapnel from a grenade fired by the Sri Lankan army. Her life was marked by many such stories – from her access to Muammar Qaddafi and Yasser Arafat to an escape from Chechnya across an icy, 12,000-foot mountain range – adding up to an astounding body of work and a singular legacy.
The Stony Brook School of Journalism will establish the Marie Colvin Center for International Reporting in the same spirit with which Colvin lived her extraordinary life—as an inspiration to young journalists and to young women in particular.