Anja Niedringhaus, 48, an acclaimed photographer for the Associated Press, died instantly after an Afghan policeman opened fire while they were sitting in their car in eastern Afghanistan, the AP said. Correspondent Kathy Gannon was wounded and is in stable condition in hospital.
“Anja and Kathy together have spent years in Afghanistan covering the conflict and the people there. Anja was a vibrant, dynamic journalist well-loved for her insightful photographs, her warm heart and joy for life. We are heartbroken at her loss,” said AP Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll.
Two days ago, Niedringhaus had tweeted about a tribute to another journalist, Sardar Ahmed, who was killed March 21 in the attack on the Serena Hotel.
I did not know Niedringhaus, though I am familiar with her incredible body of work. But I can imagine what kind of woman she was. Her fortitude. Her courage. Her convictions.
Just yesterday, I spoke on a panel at the University of Georgia about reporting on trauma. There was some discussion there about journalists in conflict zones. One student asked me how journalists deal with fear.
I did not have a good answer for her because the fear never goes away. It’s a matter of not dwelling on it and getting on with your work. But then, when news of tragedy comes, like today’s from Afghanistan, it’s difficult to remain composed.
Here’s to all my colleagues working at this very moment in places near and far where they are in harm’s way. They make me proud of my profession.