Marie Colvin was honoured by her colleagues last night as she was awarded a special award at the inaugural British Journalism Awards.
Judges unanimously agreed that Colvin deserved the award for doing “more than any other to inspire journalists, young and old”.
Sunday Times foreign editor Sean Ryan and Paul Conroy, the photographer who was with Colvin in the besieged Syrian city of Homs when she was killed in February, accepted the award on her behalf.
"Marie used to say that no story was worth dying for," said Ryan. "Yet she risked her life again and again to bring home the truth about what happens in wars.
“She thought the atrocities of brutal regimes should not go unreported. She talked about the importance of bearing witness to the victims’ suffering. She believed that reporting sometimes makes a difference.
“At The Sunday Times we miss Marie every day. She’s remembered particularly fondly.”
He added: “She wouldn’t have wanted us to be gloomy on her account tonight. She had a terrific joie de vivre and she loved awards ceremonies – especially when she won.”
Ryan’s speech was followed by a tribute from Colvin’s “firm friend” Conroy, who had known her for nine years.
Conroy worked extensively with Colvin in that time and said he had “never worked with anyone who put in as much work as she did”.
“This February we went into Syria," he told the audience. "It was hard going getting in. But Marie never flinched. She went in and Marie made that story, as she did many other stories. She was killed doing exactly what she did."
Speaking to Press Gazette afterwards, he described the morning on which she died.
“We woke up at about 6.30am that morning and went into the living room. At 7–7.15am the shelling started and we heard two live explosions close by. A few minutes later there were another few explosions.
“There were another three big explosions in the building we were in and then the fourth landed on our door step. I was about two metres away behind the door but Marie and Remi [Ochlick, the French journalist who died alongside her] took a direct hit. By 7.30am it was all over.”
Representing the views of the judges, Society of Editors executive director Bob Satchwell said: “Ask any student who made them first think of journalism and one name shines out along with that black eye patch.
“Over her 25-year career at The Sunday Times Marie Colvin repeatedly risked personal danger to shine a light into some of the world’s darkest places. Proving a voice for the voiceless and exposing the plight of the innocent victims or war.”