An ode to Anthony Shadid,

 University of Wisconsin – Madison graduate,

two-time Pulitzer-winning reporter,

  and one of the best of our era.

 We’re all immensely poorer for his death in Syria last Thursday.

It’s hard to believe he died in that country and wasn’t killed by Bashar al-Assad’s forces or shabeeha militia. Anthony gave forthright, honest reporting from the heart of the horrors of Syria over the last year, all of which make the Assad regime look like monstrously inhumane despots they are.

Instead, he died due to complications from asthma from a horse allergy, his father noting “he’s more allergic to them than anything else.” It was too dangerous to drive to the Syrian border. He’d previously crossed on his own recently – via motorcycle, sans passport, through a stretch of desert at the Lebanon border.

Round-up of obituaries:

His most recent employer, The New York Times:

Anthony Shadid, Reporter in the Middle East, Dies at 43

They nominated him for a Pulitzer again this year,

 this was part of their citation:

“Steeped in Arab political history but also in its culture, Shadid recognized early on that along with the despots, old habits of fear, passivity and despair were being toppled. He brought a poet’s voice, a deep empathy for the ordinary person and an unmatched authority to his passionate dispatches.”

They also aggregated online tributes, in their “From Readers and Colleagues, an Outpouring of Respect for Anthony Shadid

 From The Washington Post, where we worked during the U.S.’s invasion & occupation of Iraq, Rajiv Chandrasekaran’s “Anthony Shadid, the ‘most gifted foreign correspondent in a generation’

 Their photo gallery, including when Anthony was shot by a sniper while reporting in Ramallah {in the West Bank} in 2002.

And a number of colleagues at the WaPorecall Shadid as an extraordinary reporter, kind friend.”

From his college newspaper, The Daily Cardinal, which always honored his status as an alumnus.  {And is the office he’s pictured in above.}

“He first appeared in the doorway of The Daily Cardinal office on a summer day in the late ’80s carrying an army rucksack nearly as tall as him. He told the editor he had just moved up from Oklahoma to attend UW-Madison and to write for The Daily Cardinal.

He had just gotten off the bus. He hadn’t found an apartment yet. Everything he owned was on his back. But, he was ready for his first assignment.”

Wisconsin State Journal assistant city editor Mark Pitsch remembers Anthony Shadid.

Now a reporter for ESPN, Andy Katz reflects on he & Anthony’s time together at The Daily Cardinal.

Anthony Shadid also worked at The Boston Globe for two years before joining the Washington Post. A number of colleagues also wrote touching remembrances:

James F. Smith

Bryan Marquard

And the paper’s editorial, “Shadid: Bearing witness where others wouldn’t

Rania Abouzeid’s “The Journalist as Hero: An Appreciation of Anthony Shadid (1968–2012),”  for Time from Beirut

NPR’s Quil Lawrence recalls Anthony as an “Intrepid Storyteller” during their decade in the Middle East together.

Mother Jones: “Interrogating the NY Times’ Anthony Shadid,” a recent interview

Thanassis Cambanis reflects on “The Things That Anthony Shadid Taught Me” for The Atlantic

A round-up of New Yorker writers,

 Steve Coll Jon Lee Anderson ,  and Dexter Filkins.

Somewhat lighter, Anthony’s ode to the great Green Bay Packers, the only publicly owned team in the NFL: “Distance only makes devotion stronger..” The agony of following a team from across the world, through wars and anything else…

Christian Science Monitor’s “Anthony Shadid: Quite Simply The Best”:

“The quality and depth of his reporting from across the region, particularly Iraq, was peerless, leaving the rest of us regional foreign correspondents stumbling in his wake in rueful admiration of his bravery, modesty, and innate talent … .

Reading Anthony’s work, one sensed that he had an ability to shut himself off from the pressures of deadlines and the demands for instant analysis to take the time and thought to patiently locate, extract, and expose the soul of a story.

He did this with unforgettable and moving portraits of individual people attempting to cope with the rigors and fears of life in post-2003 Iraq. These elegantly written and nuanced reports, which became his trademark, offered a far more compelling and powerful insight into the realities of Iraq than the pedestrian daily accounts of the ebb and flow of the conflict.

His two Pulitzer Prizes for International Reporting, awarded in 2004 and 2010, were justly deserved.”

Another Madison, Wisconsin newspaper, The Capital Times, mourns the loss:

“What Shadid saw firsthand he communicated with a poet’s voice. And the power of that voice helped Americans to recognize and respond more wisely to developments in the region — especially the Arab Spring.

“The idealism of the revolts in Egypt and Tunisia, where the power of the street revealed the frailty of authority, revived an Arab world anticipating change,” wrote Shadid, who returned repeatedly to the region to tell its story.

Shadid once said: “I don’t think there’s any story worth dying for, but I do think there are stories worth taking risks for.”

This winter, he took the risk of entering Syria to tell the story of the popular uprising against the Assad regime, and of that regime’s brutal response to that uprising. He wanted to write the next great chapter in the history of the Arab Spring.

That task will now fall to others.

We hope that those who are moved by the story of Shadid’s death will help to support the journalism internship program to which he lent his name and support: The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee’s Anthony Shadid Internship Program:”

American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee

1732 Wisconsin Ave. NW

Washington, DC 20007


Foolish to not let Anthony Shadid speak for himself as his own eloquent legacy:

His articles from 2003 that won him the 2004 Pulitzer,

 particularly this – “The Boy Who Was Like A Flower,” from March 31, 2003 – pointed out to me by Liz DiNovella, now at The Progressive in Madison.

Articles from 2009 that win him the Pulitzer in 2010.

Selections from his own site at, including coverage of Syria for Frontline, “In Assad’s Syria, There Is No Imagination

Echoing my previous post, an excerpt from his newest book House Of Stone, now to be released February 29th, 2012.

And some audio interviews:

 a talk at the UW – Madison from December 2, 2010 about journalism ethics, recorded & posted by Molly Stentz of WORT.

an interview on Fresh Air from December 21, 2011 about his war reporting.

Radio Open Source’s “Anthony Shadid: An immeasurable loss

an interview with The Progressive magazine, about what he’d seen in the Iraq War.

Finally, some excerpts of footage via The New York Times of his war reporting.

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