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Anthony Shadid, Journalist Par Excellence

February 17, 2012

There are many reporters who convey the who, what, where, when, and why of a story.  Once that is completed they think their job is done.  Basic journalism 101.

Then there are those few in the business who rise above the basic role of a journalist, and who contextualizes the story so to make readers more engaged and informed.  Anthony Shadid was such a writer and reporter.

The 43-year-old journalist’s death, apparently the result of a severe asthma attack, occurred while he was on assignment in Syria.

His byline in The New York Times meant I was going to know something more at the end of his article than before I picked the paper up.  His curiosity and care for his area of expertise, along with his finely tuned skills as a conveyor of information made him one of our essential journalists.

Over time with Shadid’s reporting one could sense a trend line for the regional story and events he was covering.  He knew that nothing was ever static, and a continual reassessment of conditions was vital.   When Shadid imparted that knowledge to citizens of the world he helped illuminate our conversations.

The Arab Spring would have been far less clear, and less real to me had there not been Anthony Shadid talking to a wide variety of people and then crafting long articles with insight and regional definition.  He was where the action took place, saw danger himself, and still was able to write with clarity for folks like me who picked the paper off the stoop on the other side of the globe.

For all that and more a heartfelt thanks to Anthony Shadid.

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