In Pursuit of News: Remembering Anja Niedringhaus

In Pursuit of News: Remembering Anja Niedringhaus

Anja Niedringhaus, Pulitzer Prize winning photojournalist, was killed and her colleague Kathy Gannon wounded on April 4th when an Afghan police officer opened fire on their car.The journalists were traveling with election workers in eastern Khost province in a convoy that was protected by Afghan soldiers and police officers, according to the AP. "What the world knows about Iraq, they largely know because of her pictures and the pictures by the photographers she raised and beat into shape," said AP photographer David Guttenfelder.


According to the Washington Post, In the past month, Afghanistan’s Taliban has killed at least 25 people in Kabul, including policemen, election officials and foreigners. A Swedish journalist was shot dead in the Afghan capital last month, while a local man who worked for Agence France-Presse and his family were killed in an attack on a luxury hotel. Over the past decade, journalists have not often been targeted in Afghanistan, but that appears to be changing.

Niedringhaus is the 32nd AP staffer to die in pursuit of the news since AP was founded in 1846.

If you're unfamiliar with Niedringhaus's work please take a moment and view one or all of the online photo galleries:

The New Yorker 

Washington Post 

NBC News



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Sean Shimmel's picture

How eerily sad... so few comments.

1. No mention so far of the impetus of the shooting. Mistaken identity? Brazen assassination?

2. No mention of of the "sexiness" of gear or technique. Boredom in the attention deficit economy?

I heard reports that it was a tragic mistake by a policeman who thought it was a car carrying insurgents, as the officer had just come back from a tour under mortar fire on the border, was on edge and hadn't been notified that the car was checking in. He surrended immediately after. I don't know if that's true or not and was a consequence of his realisation that it was a terrible error. I'd like to think it was. There's little more chilling than the deliberate targetting of journalists.

Its frightening that more journalists are dying now out there, both local and international, famous and only regionally known, than seemingly any time in our history. There seems to be a shift in thought amongst repressive governments and terrorists alike that they are now 'fair game'. Terrorists / freedom fighters (pick according to personal moral shading as per group) in past decades operating to a notion of liberation (IRA, PLA, etc.) were largely hands off when it came to journalists, as they wanted their presence reporting, both to magnify their achievements and to keep the struggle in the public eye. WIth the grueling ongoing conflicts with these nihilistic creeds its different, they're targets guarenteed to shock. Couple that with certain governments concluding that in todays faster paced, more chaotic and shallower media world there's less lasting impact from offing a journalist, more to gain and less to lose, they become targets of accidental shootings and disappearings far more often.

We as a people cannot afford to begin to view this as normal. We need to feel outrage for every journalist that falls in the line. Anja Niedringhaus was a tremendous photographer whose work bit deep. Kathy Gannon, surviving through luck, should not be forgotten either. 1052 journalists have been killed since 1992, that's roughly equal to a quarter of US soldiers killed in Iraq. Go here for more information:

A wonderful photographer and contributor to great photojournalism. Please look at these links to her work. May she rest in peace.

I wonder if sometimes that the world has become so well documented and so well informed that we simply feign ignorance and choose not to hear more so that we are not confronted with uncomfortable realities. Realities like, there may not be a "good, clean, quick" answer. The mark of a truly talented photojournalist - and a successful photograph - is when you can see an entire narrative in a picture, not just another bleak, bombed-out city block. Those pictures take access, and being there, and exposure, and Anja is another to pay the ultimate price to gain that.

When I see topic like this, it's hardly apathy, or the willingness to not see the reality in what these people do. It's just the overall hatred and utter nausea that comes with reading another story about a lost life, a person taken, another family member gone by this evilness that is slowly creeping it's way out of the dirt slums of it's origin, and into the everyday lives of people in....... more civilized parts of the world.

As a person that lost someone on 9/11... The very morning this whole thing escalated into what we know as 'life' now.. What more can be said about another person dying trying to tell the stories of people that.. in large part, don't want it told. She was a talent to be sure, but was it worth it?