Photo from the cover of Attacks on the Press in 2011: A Worldwide Survey by CPJ
In a recent post about reporters, dress and culture (see Covering the News, But Not Much Else), I talked about Lara Logan and her near miss with death in a riot in Cairo, Egypt last year. Logan was lucky to survive, and might not have if a woman in the crowd had not come forward to protect her.

Not all reporters in dangerous situations are as lucky.

We are barely into the new year but, since the first of January, 18 journalists have been killed on the job, somewhere. Eleven of those deaths are confirmed as work-related, but seven are yet to be confirmed. Seven of the confirmed deaths occurred in Syria, with one each in Somalia, Nigeria, Thailand, Brazil and Pakistan.

I should note that these numbers do not reflect death by accident or illness, unless a “crash was caused by aggressive human action." The death of New York Times reporter Anthony Shadid, for example, is not counted among them. He died from asthma, while covering aerial attacks on the city of Homs, Syria. (See http://nyti.ms/z61XiK)

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, 904 journalists have been killed on the job worldwide in the last 20 years, and 179 are currently in prison for the crime of doing their job.

The CPJ keeps track of journalists killed on duty “as part of its mission of defending press freedom worldwide.”

Reporters and those who facilitate the gathering and delivery of news have always faced danger, often head on. In fact, in the news world, the more dangerous the assignment, the more coveted the job. Only the best (or the most dispensable) are chosen. if you can get assigned to combat anywhere, you are all but guaranteed your pick of assignments when you get back, if you get back.

In recent years, war reporting catapulted some familiar television journalists into anchor desks. At least, that was the case for Dan Rather, Peter Jennings, Wolf Blitzer and Christiane Amanpour. Then there’s Bob Woodruff of ABC News, who replaced Peter Jennings as anchor, but one month into his assignment was hit by an IED in Iraq. Fortunately, Woodruff is back on the job, but in New York.

For more on risks involved in gathering news, go to the CPJ page at 


UPDATE: March 3, 2012  See below for news of journalists killed and injured in Syria. http://wapo.st/w3GoW2



Leslie Parsley
03/02/2012 16:41

I linked to that sight and selected "all years." Some really interesting info, like 70% of them were murdered. If you average the number killed so far and if these averages continue for 20 years, the number will rise to over 2,000 - not a very happy prospect.

I used to want to be a foreign correspondent when I was much younger. After reading this, it's probably best that I decided toi become a dull ole librarian.

03/03/2012 18:42

Leslie, I was hoping you would read this post. This one's for you!
I bet you loved the film Reds. Right?
Take a look at the NYT piece on the bodies removed from Syria today, along with two severely injured journos. If I lost a leg or an eye or part of my brain on a story, I might wonder if I'd made a good choice. Of course, at that point, you have the crowd to please. All that glory and, as I said, your pick of any plum job. I'd choose restaurant critic. Cheers, p

Leslie Parsley
03/18/2012 10:32

All the restaurant critics I've ever known have been a bit obese! ; )

03/04/2012 05:00

I came across a book a few years ago The First Casualty: The War Correspondent as Hero and Myth-Maker from the Crimea to Kosovo by
Mr. Phillip Knightley. This is a great post and a reminder of what we owe to journalists to cover war zones.

03/10/2012 12:17

The first war correspondent that I recall who died in a war zone was Ernie Pyle. I visited his grave in Hawaii and remember him as being so heroic for traveling with the troops. Very few correspondents were so brave during WWII.

Leslie Parsley
03/18/2012 10:42

Oh Darlene, I'm afraid I have to disagree with you there. Not to sound cynical, because Pyle was very good at what he did and his human interest stories had a huge following, but I wonder if his death helped to enhance his fame. While Edward R. Murrow didn't travel with the troops, he was smack dab in the middle of the London Blitz. And there were many, many others who fortunately were able to survive.


Adetore Kemi
03/30/2012 03:43

I dont rili knw wat to write.All dis mishaps ar actually very scary.I luv anyfin dat deals wif communication.Anytin dat deals wif reportin.But i wonda if i wuld want to be a journalist.Piple nid to be informed n if no one wants to be a reporter,hw wuld piple get useful informations?


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