Last Updated | 11:34 a.m. As news of Anthony Shadid’s death began to circulate Thursday night, friends, readers and admiring fellow journalists took to Twitter and other social networks to grieve mr. Shadid, a two-time Pulitzer Prize winning reporter who covered the Middle East for nearly two decades at The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe and The associated Press.
In an e-mail to The New York Times newsroom, Jill Abramson, executive editor, described him as “our brilliant and beloved colleague.”
“Anthony died as he lived — determined to bear witness to the transformation sweeping the Middle East and to testify to the suffering of people caught between government oppression and opposition forces.”
Into Friday morning, mr. Shadid’s name was among the topics trending globally on Twitter, as people shared links to his articles and video reports from the Middle East, along with their memories of him as not only a distinguished correspondent but a wonderful man and generous colleague.
Blake Hounshell, managing editor of Foreign Policy magazine, remembered mr. Shadid:
Can’t remember how many times we sat around saying, “that would be a great story for Anthony Shadid to write, or someone like him.”
— Blake Hounshell (@blakehounshell) February 17, 2012
But there was never anyone like him.
— Blake Hounshell (@blakehounshell) February 17, 2012
Nicholas Kristof, a Times Op-Ed columnist, mentioned the personal qualities that made mr. Shadid’s work so very good.
Anthony Shadid was the gold standard of journalism because of language skills, hard work, compassion & toughness. RIP.
— Nicholas Kristof (@NickKristof) February 17, 2012
What’s more, Anthony was as great a person as he was a correspondent. Indeed, his humanity forged his journalism. RIP
— Nicholas Kristof (@NickKristof) February 17, 2012
David D. Kirkpatrick, the Times Cairo Bureau Chief, wrote on Twitter about mr. Shadid’s courage in returning to Syria to report on the uprising, after he was vilified by the government for a previous reporting trip, which featured a vivid dispatch from the opposition stronghold of Hama last July.
After anthony shadid’s unauthorized trip into Syria, the Govput him on television and called him a spy. He went back again.
— David D. Kirkpatrick (@kirkpatricknyt) February 17, 2012
After he returned to Lebanon from Hama in July, mr. Shadid spoke to the PBS Newshour about reporting inside Syria.
In a Global Voices blog post titled, “Arab World Mourning Anthony Shadid“, Jillian C. York said mr. Shadid was widely respected across the Middle East and North Africa for his balanced reporting.
Ms. York shared posts on Twitter from prominent Arab entrepreneurs, philanthropists, bloggers and journalists who knew of mr. Shadid and his work. Among the tweets she shared was one from a Wall Street Journal reporter, Tamer El-Ghobashy. He spoke for the Arab-American community, describing mr. Shadid “as the most prominent Arab American of our generation and he did it without making it a brand or a mission. Great by merit alone.”
Shadid was the most elegant example of how you can be an Arab and a journalist in American media without the whiff of pander or bias.
— Tamer El-Ghobashy (@TamerELG) February 17, 2012
Bobby Gosh, writing on Time magazine’s Globalspin blog, remembered meeting mr. Shadid in Baghdad. “In an era blessed with more than its fair share of brilliant foreign correspondents, he was the best of the breed. And his death, at just 43, leaves our profession bereft.”
He described how mr. Shadid spent time one evening after dinner talking with the Time bureau’s drivers and security guards, asking about their lives and their children. a driver said that he had been more interested in why his son was studying than he was.
“But Tony’s great gift: his insatiable curiosity about — and deep empathy for — ordinary people caught up in extraordinary circumstances,” mr. Gosh writes. “His journalism was shot through with this quality, enriched by it. Yes, he interviewed heads of state and talking heads, but it was his familiarity with the lives of Iraqis, Lebanese, Egyptians, Libyans and Syrians that made him the best journalist operating in the Middle East.”
The Daily Cardinal, the student-run newspaper at the University of Wisconsin, published a photo of mr. Shadid learning his craft in the 1980s.
Writing in The New Yorker, Steve Coll, who was an editor at The Washington Post when mr. Shadid worked there, described him as the most “intrepid, empathetic, fully engaged correspondent working in the Middle East for American audiences” over the last decade. “He had many gifts and was an exceptionally graceful, easy, and generous man, but among the qualities that distinguished his work was the sheer commitment of it.”
Andy Carvin of NPR, who is on assignment in Libya, responded to news of mr. Shadid’s death on Twitter.
Just heard the awful news that Anthony Shadid died in Syria. Just devastating. He covered the Arab Spring like no one else. RIP, Anthony.
— Andy Carvin (@acarvin) February 17, 2012
Another NPR journalist, Quil Lawrence, who said he first met mr. Shadid in Afghanistan in the winter of 2001, also shared their memories in a blog post. “The year after we met in Afghanistan, I saw Anthony in Washington, D.C. — he was just back from a stint in Israel and the Palestinian territories. I asked him how it went, and he replied with unfeigned nonchalance, “not that good. I got shot.”
On Twitter, news of mr. Shadid’s death prompted a wave of response from readers and friends.
Anthony Shadid was a journalist without peer, the best of our generation. Courage. Kindness. Compassion. This loss is immeasurable.
— Naomi Klein (@NaomiAKlein) February 17, 2012
Martin Baron, the editor of The Boston Globe, said mr. Shadid was a “model” reporter. as a correspondent for the newspaper in 2002, mr. Shadid was shot in the shoulder while reporting in Ramallah, in the West Bank.
Anthony Shadid was a model for every journalist and a tremendous human being. What a profound loss.
— Marty Baron (@GlobeMartyBaron) February 17, 2012
Rania Zabaneh, an Al Jazeera producer in the West Bank, also hailed mr. Shadid’s work in the region.
What’s wrong with the world! no good news anymore? #AnthonyShadid insight, humanity and work will be very much missed: nyti.ms/w4bxOT
— Rania Zabaneh (@RZabaneh) February 17, 2012
Amy Sullivan, a former TIME writer and editor, said mr. Shadid’s journalistic repertoire had no weakness.
There are great reporters and there are great writers. And then there are the rare few who inspire awe by being both. pulitzer.org/archives/6809
— Amy Sullivan (@sullivanamy) February 17, 2012
Media personalities like Arianna Huffington and Anderson Cooper offered their condolences.
Awful news. Condolences to Anthony Shadid’s family, friends and co-workers. nytimes.com/2012/02/17/wor…
— Arianna Huffington (@ariannahuff) February 17, 2012
Nytimes reporter anthony shadid has died. Such a brave and smart reporter. a terrible loss. my thoughts are with his family and friends
— Anderson Cooper (@andersoncooper) February 17, 2012
Susan E. Rice, the United States ambassador to the United Nations, mourned the loss, as well.
Heartbroken by the loss of the NYT’s Anthony Shadid in Syria. One of the world’s bravest and best journalists.
— Susan Rice (@AmbassadorRice) February 17, 2012
Ethan Klapper, an online editor for The National Journal, remembered his time as an intern at the Washington Post when mr. Shadid’s second Pulitzer Prize was announced.
Remember interning at WaPo when Shadid won Pulitzer in 2010. He was home in Boston with a newborn and editors piped him in on speakerphone.
— Ethan Klapper (@ethanklapper) February 17, 2012
Peter S. Goodman, executive business editor at The Huffington Post and a former correspondent for The New York Times and The Washington Post, said readers across the world would feel the effects of mr. Shadid’s absence.
Rarely does a journalist die and the world is different, but without shadid we will know less, and settle for less nuanced, less human truth
— Peter S. Goodman (@petersgoodman) February 17, 2012
Newspaper ppl often discover that when we’re away, they can put out paper just fine. But not this time, not without shadid. Great void
— Peter S. Goodman (@petersgoodman) February 17, 2012
Don Van Natta Jr., a former New York Times investigative reporter, now with ESPN, said mr. Shadid’s byline alone was synonymous with the very best of journalism.
“by Anthony Shadid” was a beacon of humanity and truth.
— Don Van Natta Jr. (@DVNJr) February 17, 2012
Then, there was this Twitter from Syria, that Ms. York included in her Global voices piece.
Ms. York also included this Twitter post from a blogger in Syria who wrote in his stream how much he respected mr. Shadid’s reporting.
I really don’t know what to say. thank you @anthonyshadid.
— BSyria (@BSyria) February 17, 2012
Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Anthony Shadid, who distinguished himself with amazing coverage from the fighting in the Persian Gulf for over a decade for the Washington Post and new York Times, succumbed to a fatal asthma attack on Thursday at the age of 43. Shadid suffered the attack while covering an insurrection against the Syrian government. it was a sad and somewhat ironic end for a man who so often put himself directly in the face of danger for a deeper version of the story in a very dangerous part of the world.
Shadid was shot during a demonstration in 2002, and he was one of several Times reporters detained in 2011 by forces loyal to Libyan dictator Moammar Gaddafi. He survived those dramas with extreme distinction, and his coverage was a beacon for those who wish to get to the very heart of a story, no matter the circumstances.
In his rare off-times, Shadid had a very interesting passion — he was obsessed with the Green Bay Packers. in a recounting for the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel in 2011, Shadid explained how he came to love the team, to the point where he racked up outlandish telephone bills, using a satellite phone to pick up Packers games by radio.
I realized it had become a problem in Baghdad. 2003 wasn’t even that great of a season, at least early on. (The glories of Brett Favre on Monday night in Oakland and Al Harris’ pick in overtime in the playoffs against Seattle awaited, as did the post-traumatic stress I still bear from fourth-and-26 in Philadelphia.)
For a fan, though, loyalty is never about wins and losses. It’s about being there, and from thousands of miles away I managed to be, by way of a breathtakingly expensive satellite phone that brought me the radio broadcast.
“You’re not going to believe the phone bill,” my bureau chief, as alarmed as he was unknowing, declared to me right around the time the Packers had a 4-4 record.
I looked at him, shaking my head in insincere sympathy.
“can they tell which computer ran up the bill?” I asked.
Perhaps his love for the Packers gave Shadid, a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a sense of home away from home. whatever the reason, as he told it himself, he took his football team with him wherever he went.
I’ve worked as a foreign correspondent for 15 years, and I feel like the Packers were there on every assignment, from Cairo to Islamabad. on my way back from Egypt, after landing at JFK in new York, I listened in disbelief to the radio in the taxi as Terrell Owens snagged the game-winning pass with three seconds left. Three. in a brutal winter in Kabul, I logged on to the slowest Internet connection in the history of the Afghan capital to see that we had lost to the St. Louis Rams, 45-17. Next to a wood-burning stove, still in my sleeping bag, I asked myself whether Favre really could have thrown six picks. Six.
In 1995, Shadid would spend a few hundred dollars to stay at whatever five-star hotels had the kind of transmissions that would beam the Packers to him. when he won his first Pulitzer, his Washington Post bureau chief gave him tickets to a Redskins contest. his response? “Forget the Pulitzer! I’m going to the game!”
Shadid, as he put it, “dragged” his wife and two children to Lambeau Field in December of 2010 for a Packers-49ers game. his family didn’t lock in, but the journalist remembered the scene as only a journalist of his kind could.
I then sat by myself, basking in frigid temperatures, gazing at the occasional flurry and sipping the tastiest beer ever, as time seemed to slow, just a little.
In the end, Shadid seemed to see his Packers fandom as he saw his work and art. it was better to take the hard way if necessary — perhaps the difficulty even added to the experience when the game (or the story) finally came through.
It’s not so hard to watch the game these days abroad, as long as you set your alarm for the occasional 3 a.m. you can actually stream them on the Internet from anywhere in the world. I even have a satellite dish that offers ESPN and Fox Sports. but I guess I feel a little less worthy as a fan. Without all the effort, losses don’t hurt as much. Wins are not as jubilant. it all feels a little more ordinary.
One senses that watching a game with Anthony Shadid would have been anything but “ordinary.” when a person spends his life searching down the marrow for every possible experience … well, life is made more extraordinary in the presence of such people. we can only hope to echo such legacies through time, in their honor.
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Well, it has been labeled the Arab Spring, and we’ve seen protests in Morocco, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt, Palestine, Jordan, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and Bharain. In fact we also saw the starting of a few uprisings in China, but their media squashed that from worldview. it appears that the Arab Spring was springing up all over the place almost in a cluster munitions pattern. Many think that it is over now, but I highly doubt that and I believe we will not only have an Arab spring but also an Arab summer.
It’s as if these areas of civil unrest have spread near and far. We’ve seen Muslims and Christians having it out in Egypt Nigeria, Uganda, and the Sudan. and yes the ongoing problems in Iraq. Many believe that Iran will have a re-occurrence of their near overthrow very soon, and as I read the tea leaves I would agree.
The protests and demands of Arab Governments are not over, it’s just beginning actually. let me explain what I mean. the rapid inflation in many Middle Eastern nations is very hard on the poor, and they need to buy food and the food prices have increased drastically. In many of these nations, they are basically oil Republics so to speak, and the government works to take care of the poor and there is a big separation of classes. Indeed, they don’t have the benefits of a strong middle class as we do here in the USA.
Indeed, there was a very interesting article recently in the New York Times titled; Promise of Arab Uprisings Is Threatened by Divisions, by Anthony Shadid and David Kirkpatrick, which stated; From Egypt to Syria, tensions over religion and clans have threatened uprisings that once seemed to promise a new sense of national identity built on the idea of citizenship.
Top that up with massive job losses due to the disruptions causing local supply chain chaos, along with the prospect of increased food costs and global shortages as well. Wheat prices and scarcity is going to be a huge issue in Egypt and the rest of North Africa as well. Remember they say that the stability of a society and civilization is only three meals away. When people go without food for more than a day everything breaks down. So no one should be surprised this summer as more and more of these tensions and issues come to a head. Indeed I hope you will please consider all this and think on it.