It is easy to take information for granted these days. A few keystrokes and clicks give us the world. But knowledge carries a price tag, even if we don’t see it.
This week, we paid for our knowledge. Marie Colvin ’78, of England’s Sunday Times, and French photographer Remi Ochlik were killed by a rocket yesterday in the besieged city of Homs, in Syria. Anthony Shadid of the New York Times died in Syria Thursday, apparently after an asthma attack. They had all snuck in to report on violence the Syrian government is trying to hide.
Colvin, Ochlik and Shadid were known for their compassion, their honesty and their storytelling. But what most distinguished them — and what ultimately killed them — was their drive. Ochlik paid his own way after Paris Match magazine decided the situation was too dangerous to send him. Colvin was on her way out of the country but returned because she knew the offensive was not over. Shadid shrugged off a first asthma attack so he could keep reporting. All knew they might die on the job but decided that the truth was worth that sacrifice.
Their readers must take up that drive. We may not venture into war zones, but we aspire to the same dedication to the pursuit of truth that Colvin, Ochlik and Shadid took to Syria and to other assignments across the world.