New York Times Correspondent Anthony Shadid Passes Away in Syria

Posted on February 18, 2012 in GlobeScope

By P. V. Swati:

On Thursday, 16th of February, the American news fraternity lost its one of the most precious asset as the New York Times correspondent Anthony Shadid passed away. Shadid, who emerged as the most prominent journalist to capture the untold stories of the uprisings in Middle East from Libya to Iraq, now died at in eastern Syria after slipping into the country to report on the uprising against its president. On the day of his death Shadid was on the way to crossing the Syrian border on foot behind as herd of horses as a cover. The cause of death so far as stated by the Times photographer Tyler Hicks who was with him at that moment was an acute asthma attack Shadid had due an allergic reaction caused by proximity to horses. It took a couple of hours to get him to a hospital in Turkey. But, by then he stopped breathing.

Born on 26th September, 1968 in Oklahoma City, Shadid was of a Lebanese descent, he was a 1990 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He was married to Nada Bakri and had two children.

To trace his career, from 2003 to 2009 he was a staff writer for The Washington Post where he was an Islamic affairs correspondent based in the Middle East. Before The Washington Post, Shadid worked as Middle East correspondent for the Associated Press based in Cairo and as news editor of the AP bureau in Los Angeles. He spent two years covering diplomacy and the State Department for The Boston Globe before joining the Post’s foreign desk.

In 2002, he was shot in the shoulder in Ramallah while reporting for the Boston Globe in the West Bank. On 16 March, 2011, Shadid and three colleagues were reported missing in Eastern Libya, having gone there to report on the uprising against the dictatorship of Col. Muammar Al-Ghaddafi. On 18 March 2011, The New York Times reported that Libya agreed to free him and three colleagues: Stephen Farrell, Lynsey Addario and Tyler Hicks. The Libyan government released the four journalists on 21 March 2011.

Anthony Shadid won the Pulitzer Prize twice for International Reporting, in 2004 and 2010, for his coverage of the Iraq War. His experiences in Iraq were the subject for his 2005 book Night Draws Near, an empathetic look at how the war has impacted the Iraqi people beyond the clichés of liberation and insurgency. Night Draws Near won the Ridenhour Book Prize for 2006. He has also won the 2004 Michael Kelly Award, as well as awards from the Overseas Press Club and the American Society of Newspaper Editors. Shadid is also the recipient of the honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the American University of Beirut in 2011. He won the George Polk Award for Foreign Reporting for 2003 and posthumously for 2011.

The glimpse at his career clearly reflects his credibility as a journalist and the significance of his work. He had the extraordinary ability to capture, at personal peril, the voices and emotions of the people in times of such crisis. His coverage of the Middle East, from Iraq, Lebanon, and Libya and beyond was distinguished.

Though Shadid’s father, Buddy Shadid specified that his son had asthma all his life and was medication, and Hicks who was with Shadid during the time of death also confirm that it was an asthma attack, there have been various speculations indicating an external attack. Thus, the cause of death is still not certain yet. But, whatever may be the cause Anthony Shadid died at the age of 43, the American journalism is deprived of its most gifted foreign correspondent in a generation.