First Person

Death of a War Correspondent

War correspondent Marie Colvin
War correspondent Marie Colvin in Peeblesshire, Scotland, on Aug. 20, 2011. Writer Pictures via AP Images

Journalist Marie Colvin documented the horrors of war until one of them took her life.

The American journalist Marie Colvin, who was killed while covering the conflict in Syria in 2012, was one of the preeminent war correspondents of her time.

Writing for the British Sunday Times, Colvin often sought out the most dangerous places where the worst violence was taking place. She covered East Timor, Chechnya, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the Arab Spring. She often said that she wrote about those places so that Western governments couldn’t say they didn’t know about the terrible things happening there.

But Colvin regularly paid a price for her work. She lost an eye during Sri Lanka’s civil war and suffered from recurring PTSD. She had many lovers, and two husbands, but her personal life was tempestuous.

Colvin’s life is the subject of a book by Lindsey Hilsum, herself a foreign correspondent for Channel 4 news in Britain. She and Colvin covered some of the same conflicts and became close friends. The book is called In Extremis: The Life and Death of the War Correspondent Marie Colvin. Hilsum is our guest on First Person. The interview was first aired in December 2018.

About First Person:  Each week on First Person, we conduct a narrative-driven conversation with one person whose experience illuminates something timely and important about our world. Our guests tend to be people who have participated directly in events, either as protagonists or eyewitnesses. We get them to tell their story, not just offer analysis. First Person is hosted by FP deputy editor Sarah Wildman. Sarah is an award-winning journalist whose stories have appeared in the New York TimesSlate, Vox and the New Yorker online. She is the author of Paper Love: Searching for the Girl My Grandfather Left Behind.  See All Episodes

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