Count me among the many journalists who are saddened today by the death of New York Times reporter Anthony Shadid.
I met him once, and I regret that I didn’t have my copy of his book “Night Draws Near” to thrust in front of him and tell him how much I admired him. I’d love to have that today, even if it would’ve been bad form to ask for an autograph at a dinner party in Baghdad.
I lived in Washington, D.C. as a newspaper intern when the Iraq war started and I looked forward to Shadid’s front-page stories from Baghdad’s streets every day. He had a distinct voice that brought you into the living rooms of Iraqi civilians as they struggled to survive the American bombardment and their disintegrating state.
No one else was writing stories like Shadid. His stories were rich and full of life where others early in the war felt hollow. He set the bar for the journalists who today take us inside the homes of real people living in tumultuous times across the Middle East.
I’ll leave you with parting thoughts from NPR’s Quil Lawrence, who also knew Shadid well: “With no hyperbole, I feel almost as much sadness for the world that it is deprived of such an intrepid storyteller, faithful reporter and enthusiast for America and for the Arab world. I wonder who can ever take his place.”