A LARGE photograph on The Scotsman’s front page and a column by Anne Johnstone in The Herald are among several lavish tributes paid by the Scottish Press today to Marie Colvin, the Sunday Times foreign correspondent who died yesterday following a reported bombardment, by government forces, of the makeshift media centre she was operating out of in the Syrian city of Homs.
Begins Johnstone: “Journalism will kill you but it will keep you alive while you’re at it, said one Horace Greeley, 19th century founding editor of The New York Tribune.”
Overleaf, there is an obituary by the paper’s foreign editor, David Pratt.
The Scotsman, meanwhile, devotes a full two pages to Colvin’s death, including a news story by Martyn McAlughlin, who begins: “Marie Colvin died after defying an order from her editor to leave the besieged Syrian city of Homs because she wanted to finish ‘one more story’, the journalist’s mother said.”
The Sunday Times’ sister title, The Scottish Sun, also devotes two pages to her death, describing Colvin as a ‘war reporting legend’.
Meanwhile, in today’s Courier, Christopher Thomson – deputy chair at publishers, DC Thomson – describes Colvin as “a true heroine of our industry”.
Says Thomson: “Marie was the most fearless person I ever met. She was, unknown to many, a true friend to all of us.
“She represented something admirable that we in journalism can all recognise and try to emulate – dispassionately telling the truth and somehow by doing that, in her case in the most ghastly circumstances, protecting the rest of us from tyranny.
“I recall her telling me that she had organised a taxi to take her from Turkey to Kurdish Iraq, dressed as the wife of a local man, to bring out the truth of the massacre of the Kurds in Iraq.
“More recently, she had tried to broker a deal between the UN Secretary General and the Sri Lankan government to prevent any killing when the Tamils laid down their arms. Regrettably, to no avail.”
And in the Scottish Daily Mail, Ian Birrell writes: “This roll-call of reporters [David Blundy, Tim Hetherington, Terry Lloyd, and at least 48 other journalists killed worldwide last year] slain for doing their job should be remembered amid the current furore over the future of the Press – not least since Marie Colvin was funded on her foreign news-gathering by the much-maligned Rupert Murdoch.
“Reporting from the world’s most dangerous places does not come cheap with all those flights, fixers, flak jackets and satellite phones.
“Sometimes journalists have gone too far in pursuit of trivia and tittle-tattle. But sometimes they go much further in pursuit of the biggest stories on the planet, taking the most extreme risks. This should be remembered by all those politicians who yesterday paid such fulsome tributes to Colvin’s courage from the sanctity of Westminster.”