AirTalk for February 17, 2012

Renowned foreign correspondent Anthony Shadid dead at 43

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Steven Senne/AP

Anthony Shadid succombed to a fatal asthma attack while reporting in Syria.

The world of journalism suffered a terrible loss yesterday. Anthony Shadid, one of the most respected journalists of his generation, died of an asthma attack while working in Syria.

"AirTalk" listeners would know Shadid's work well. He has been a guest many times over the years – quite a lot during the start of the so-called Arab spring a year ago. His most recent posting was the Beirut bureau of The New York Times. He worked for The Washington Post for many years before that. One of his former editors at The Post, Phil Bennett, characterized Shadid's impact: "He changed the way we saw Iraq, Egypt, Syria over the last, crucial decade ... There is no one to replace him."

Martin Baron, who worked with Shadid at The Boston Globe, described why he was beloved by so many: "He had such a profound and sophisticated understanding of the region ... More than anything, his effort to connect foreign coverage with real people on the ground, and to understand their lives, is what made his work so special. It wasn't just a matter of diplomacy: it was a matter of people and how their lives were so dramatically affected by world events," Baron told The New York Times.

Shadid met near-fatal risk a number of times while covering conflict in the Middle East. In 2002 covering demonstrations in the West Bank, Shadid was shot in the shoulder. In Libya last year, Shadid and his colleagues were kidnapped for six days and beaten by their captors. Most recently, Syrian authorities dubbed him a spy and reportedly his family was being followed by Syrian agents in Lebanon.

Shadid was born in Oklahoma City to Lebanese-American parents. He studied political science and journalism at the University of Wisconsin. He worked for The Associated Press, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post and The New York Times, but also contributed to myriad other news outlets including KPCC.

WEIGH IN:

What will you remember about Shadid?

Guest:

Borzou Daragahi, Cairo-based correspondent for the Financial Times


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