The Second Decade of the New Millennium Bloodiest for Journalists

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As we look ahead, many will remember the last ten years in prominent stories that secured the headlines as the past decade saw its share of wars, political firestorms, corruption, mass shootings, murders and tragedies. Few will remember the journalists.

Other than military personal no other profession has become more targeted than that of the press. Many would laugh, scoff, if you only knew the paparazzi style driven media. Unfortunately, the journalists that are losing their lives are dedicated members of the press, exposing corruption, drug cartels, regimes, and not a bad day for a celebrity.

In the past decade, 554 journalists have been murdered. Five of the more prominent are Washington Post Reporter Jamal Khashoggi, The British Sunday Time Reporter Marie Colvin, Mexican Journalist Javier Valdez, Freelance Journalist Kim Wall, and Freelance War correspondent James Foley.

Their stories of dedication to the fourth estate drove them to take risks, enrage world leaders, head into the heat of the battle, uncover the inner workings of the Sinaloa Cartel and its mass and widespread corruption and find stories of interest even on vacation.

Jamal Khashoggi, Washington Post Columnist and Saudi Arabian Dissent walked into a Saudi Arabian embassy in Istanbul, Turkey to secure documents so he could marry and was met with a hit squad sent from his homeland. His official date of death is listed as October 2, 2018.

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His remains were never found. Audio recordings from inside the embassy led investigators to believed he was dismembered and removed. The Saudi Arabian government, after worldwide outrage held a trial and sentenced five men to death and others to life in prison. Outrage from the Turkish government has called the verdict a sham and allows those who dispatched the death squad to remain free. Unfortunately, it is the most justice the world can expect.

The British Sunday Time Reporter Marie Colvin, brilliant, dedicated, brash and bold, found her soul and self when she was covering the unfolding wars throughout the Middle East. Born on Astoria, Queens NY, educated at Yale, she became a trailblazer. The male dominated American media allowed a few women in and squeezed out the others, so Marie moved to London, where she became celebrated. Soon specializing in Middle Eastern conflicts, the brave and daring rushed into the fight. Her first major coup became her interview with Muammar Gaddafi.

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Her coverage of the Kosovo War elevated her standing and received international recognition and awards. She was wounded while covering another conflict in Sri Lanka and wound up losing her eye. Not letting it stop her, even as the Post Traumatic Stress of war took its toll, she began to deliver shocking accounts of the Syria battles. Speaking with CNN's Anderson Cooper, Colvin gave an audio report, from Homs, Syria, via cell phone, on the coverage of the bombing raids. As she and her photographer Remi Ochlik attempted to leave for safety, on February 22, 2012, the building was bombed. They both died. Her story is just one of at least 153 journalists who lost their lives covering the Syrian conflict.

Mexican Journalist Javier Valdez, 50, an internationally recognized and award-winning reporter and publisher covering drug trafficking and organized crime in Mexico was gunned down, May 15, 2017 outside the Riodoce Newspaper office he founded, in Culiacan City, Mexico, marking the eighth journalist murdered by the cartels in 2017.

Valdez, who covered the drug trade in the hotbed Sinaloa region, home to Joaquin El Chapo Guzman, the most notorious Drug Lord since the Medellin Cartel's Pablo Escabar, was aware of the vicious, ruthless violence of the El Chapo mercenaries, and what could be the cost in continually exposing the inner workings of the drug cartels in one of the least free presses in the world.

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As Valdez arrived at the office of the Riodoce newspaper, Monday, May 15, he was ambushed as an unknown assailant fired multiple rounds striking the publisher. He died at the scene. Killings are so common within the region civilians can be seen, in the background, videotaping the scene.

Freelance Journalist Kim Wall was on holiday in Demark. A native of Sweden she was visiting family and her fiancé when she stumbled onto what she thought was a interesting story. A local inventor, Peter Madsen, built a submarine the UC3 Nautilus, he was a genius engineer who was also working on an orbital. He was local and would make for a good story for any number of the outlets Wall had been pitching. Her next gig was Hong Kong and after this short holiday, she would relocate.

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A night before she was to leave Madsen called and agreed to the sunset sail around Koge Bay. With her family, friends and fiancé waiting at her farewell party, she explained she would be back in a couple of hours. A brief trip, a dive in the deep, a few questions, two, three hours tops. The last picture the world has seen of Kim Wall was taken by a passenger on a passing boat. She is smiling, her red hair vibrant in the evening sun, making a heart shape with her hands. Days later parts of her body were found. She had met a Danish Ted Bundy and he planned to rape Ms. Wall, torture her and dismember the body, and then scuttle the submarine to wash the inside of the blood and DNA. Her date of death is listed as August 10/11, 2017,

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Freelance War correspondent James Foley, a veteran freelance war correspondent, he had been writing for the Stars and Strips and Global Post in Libya, when he was captured by Ghaddafi loyalists and held for 44 days. One year later he was captured by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIS, he would be held for two years before his death. He symbolized the barbaric treatment of the Islamic State and was the first journalist to be murdered in the caliphate. James Foley was beheaded, the final picture of Jihad John holding a knife to his neck, was publicized and printed on front pages worldwide. He died August 19, 2014.

These five stories represent only a fragment of the 554 journalists who were killed for freedom. The world owes them a debt of gratitude for their service to keeping up the story first, above all else, following it wherever it leads.