REPORTERS ON THE JOB..
THE DANGERS OF REPORTING were brought home with the tragic deaths of two international news correspondents killed in the line of duty late Wednesday. Reuters correspondent Kurt Schork, an American, and Associated Press cameraman Miguel Gil Moreno, from Spain, died in an ambush while reporting on the war in Sierra Leone.
Their deaths were a senseless loss to the world that needs news from places like Sierra Leone, Chechnya, and Bosnia - where these men dared travel to shed light on distant events.
We know, too, how dangerous these situations are. Our own Africa correspondent, Corinna Schuler, narrowly escaped death in Freetown, Sierra Leone's capital, just two weeks ago, when a kind bystander paid $75 to a rebel to spare her life. And Sander Thoenes, who wrote for the Monitor from Indonesia, was killed in East Timor last September.
We are indebted to these journalists and others like them who teach us about the people who live in these dangerous places - people who are striving for the kinds of freedoms we have.
Mr. Schork, a Rhodes scholar who also was a regular contributor on Monitor Radio during the Bosnian war, was a respected and admired colleague. He knew the risks of his job, but was undeterred.
Schork covered a mass funeral for Bosnian Muslims in Sarajevo with then-Monitor correspondent Jonathan Landay in the early '90s. As mourners arrived, Serbs fired mortars at them. Schork saw a woman get hit, and jumped up to drag her to safety and helped get her to a hospital.
"He believed in trying to help people in desperate places by bringing their plight to the attention of the world," Jonathan says. "He found great satisfaction in that, and there was no better war correspondent that I know."
"Kurt felt compelled to risk his own life when he saw others suffering badly," adds David Rohde, who also reported from Bosnia for the Monitor. "He was the best foreign correspondent in the group. He had an amazing ability to get to the right story. Yet he was very self-deprecating."