Skip to main content
firstperson_square
firstperson_square

First Person

Death of a War Correspondent

War correspondent Marie Colvin
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

More First Person episodes:

Spies of the UAE

A look into Project Raven, a program where Americans were recruited to help the UAE hack people and organizations around the world.

The Marie Antoinette of Shoes Makes a Comeback

Filmmaker Lauren Greenfield on how Imelda Marcos engineered her second act in the Philippines.

The Other Brexit

CNN correspondent Max Foster on how Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, split from Britain's royal family.

Other Foreign Policy podcasts:

and now the hard part
and now the hard part

And Now the Hard Part

From Foreign Policy and the Brookings Institution: Each week we look at one of the world’s toughest problems and suggest a way forward—all in under 30 minutes.

Subscribe:

I Spy
I Spy

I Spy

Spies don’t talk—it’s the cardinal rule of the business. But here at Foreign Policy, we get them to open up. On I Spy, we hear from the operations people: the spies who steal secrets, who kill adversaries, who turn agents into double agents. Each episode features one spy telling the story of one operation. Want swag? Check out I Spy's merch by clicking here.

Subscribe:

Interested in sponsoring First Person? Connect with Foreign Policy’s influential, global audience. Click here to become a sponsor.

To learn more about creating a podcast with us, contact Andrew Sollinger at andrew.sollinger@foreignpolicy.com.

Loading graphics

Welcome to a world of insight.

Explore the benefits of your FP subscription.

Stay updated on the topics you care about with email alerts. Sign up below.

Choose a few newsletters that interest you.

Here are some we think you might like.

  • Morning Brief thumbnail
  • Africa Brief thumbnail
  • Latin America Brief thumbnail
  • China Brief thumbnail
  • South Asia Brief thumbnail
  • Situation Report thumbnail

Analyze the world’s biggest events.

Join in-depth conversations and interact with foreign-policy experts.

FP Live: The Future of Afghanistan

Register now

Last summer, the United States decided to end its longest war. But just days after the U.S. military withdrew from Afghanistan, Kabul fell—and the Taliban took control of the country. Aug....Show more

FP Live: Samantha Power

Register now

In her role as administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, Samantha Power is often thrust into the forefront of some of the world’s biggest crises. From working to ensu...Show more

FP Live: Reporters’ Notebooks

Want the inside scoop on Russian arms sales to Africa? Care to learn more about how Ukraine is arming itself and how Beijing views Washington’s support for Taiwan? FP subscribers are alrea...Show more

See what’s trending.

Most popular articles on FP right now.