The journalists and colleagues we’ve lost to the coronavirus

A collection of obituaries on the media professionals who lost their lives to the global pandemic

May 11, 2020
Category: Business & Work

How can we understand loss on the scale we’re now experiencing?

Worldwide, more than 114,000 are dead, NBC reports. In the U.S., The New York Times reports, it’s more than 22,000 people. Those numbers will change. We’ll update them. They’ll still be hard to comprehend.

So as many of us have been taught to do, we’re gathering the stories alongside the numbers. Here, we’re collecting the published obituaries of the journalists and those employed by the media around the world who’ve died because of the coronavirus.

Please let us know who we’re missing. We’ll keep this updated.

José María Riba, who served as the head of Cannes Critic Week, died May 2. He was 68. From Variety’s remembrance

With his death, Spain and Latin America loses one of the founding fathers of an international Spanish-language arthouse sector which flowered from the turn of the century, an unflagging, perpetually smiling, convivial advisor to a new generation of Spanish-language talent which changed the face of Latin American and Spanish cinema and made of their films one of the best things that these territories had to offer.

Gil Schwartz, formerly CBS’ chief communications officer, died May 2. He was 68. From Deadline’s story:

Highly regarded by colleagues and journalists, Schwartz was a top advisor to CBS’ senior executives and a beloved mentor to the many communications executives who worked with him. He was also a gifted showman who became famous for his singing, guitar playing and comedic riffs during CBS’ annual affiliate meetings. Schwartz’s colorful and endearing personality was also on full display every December at CBS’ annual holiday press party, a can’t-miss fete that featured appearances by the company’s biggest stars and top executives as well as the serving of Gil’s signature pigs in a blanket.

Miguel Ángel García Tapia, a journalist in Mexico, died May 1. His age was not listed.

Emery Jussier Costa, a journalist in Brazil, died May 1. He was 74. From his Globo remembrance:

Emery Jussier Costa began his career as a radio communicator at the age of 17 and worked in a print newspaper in Mossoró.

Luiz Marcello de Menezes Bittencourt, a broadcaster in Brazil, died April 30. He was 68.

Ron Hutson, who covered race relations for the Boston Globe, died April 28. He was 72. From the Globe’s remembrance

Illuminating ordinary moments that might otherwise go unnoticed amid extraordinary circumstances was a hallmark of Mr. Hutson’s reporting, which was part of the Globe’s coverage of school desegregation that was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for public service in 1975.

Humayun Kabir Khokon, a journalist from Bangladesh, died April 28. He was 47.

Alison Schwartz, director of digital platforms at People Magazine, died April 28. She was 29. From People’s remembrance: 

Alison was much more than a writer. She was a ray of sunshine to her co-workers, her friends and her family, even during challenging times. She made everyone she met dissolve into giggles at her irreverent sense of humor.

Alejandro Cedillo, a journalist in Mexico, died in late April. He was 40. From Oicanadian’s remembrance:

Cedillo was 40 years of age, 20 of them dedicated to the performance of the news coverage national in the newspaper The Chronicle Today where it began in the Sports.

Martha Caballero Collí, a journalist in Mexico, died in late April. She was 43. From UnoTV’s story

Martha worked in various media, such as Quequi and Diario de Quintana Roo; She also served as director of Social Communication for Isla Mujeres.

Zafar Bhatti, a journalist in Pakistan who formerly worked for the Associated Press of Pakistan, died April 27. He was 70. From APP’s remembrance

He was admired by his colleagues in journalist community and friends for his ever-smiling personality and compassion for others.

Mahmoud Riad Abujabal, head of sports coverage at El Khamis in Egypt, died April 27. He was 42. 

Alfredo Menezes, a retired sports editor in Brazil, died April 27. He was 72. From Globo’s story:

Alfredo Menezes was a charismatic figure in the media and was considered a reference in amateur sport. For 30 years, the journalist was sports editor for the newspaper O Estado do Maranhão.

Roberto Augusto dos Santos, a journalist in Brazil, died April 25. He was 69. From Portal Marcos Santos’ story:

In a note of regret, the Union of Journalists recalled that the Amazonian was a fan of Fluminense. “Owner of a cheerful personality, he was known for his playful and outgoing way and for his companionship in the work environment”, says an excerpt from the text.

Gunnar Seijbold, a photojournalist in Sweden, died April 25. He was 65. From Svt Nyheter’s story

He always set a good example of how to behave towards people, no matter where they came from and what background you have. He was always kind to everyone.

Roberto Fernandes, a journalist in Brazil, died April 22. He was 61. From Time 24 News’ story:

He acted as a political commentator for the newspaper Bom dia Mirante and ran the Ponto Final program of Rádio Mirante AM for two decades.

Roberto Fernandes, a journalist in Brazil, died April 22. He was 61.

Robson Thiago Mesquita, a camera operator in Brazil, died April 21. His age was not listed.

José María Calleja, a journalist in Spain, died April 21. He was 64. From El Pais remembrance:

“He was a tough guy, a voice for freedom,” his friends recall.

Robert Fresco, a retired reporter who worked for Newsday, died April 20. He was 78. From Newsday’s story:

Fresco was remembered as a committed journalist whose talent for gathering and analyzing data helped inform projects ranging from disparities in property tax assessments to traffic fatalities on Long Island, and stories on race, education and the environment.

Richard Sanders, a former broadcaster with BBC Radio 4, died April 20. He was 62. From Metro’s story:

“He was never afraid to ask a hard question or hold politicians to account.”

Renan Antunes, a journalist in Brazil, died April 19. He was 71. From Gauchazh General’s story

He won one of the most prestigious journalism awards in the country, Esso de Reportagem Nacional, among other awards. He had a strong and indomitable personality. “A wild soul”, as defined by niece Edith Auler, also a professional colleague of her uncle.

Omar Salvatierra, a broadcast journalist in Ecuador, died April 17. His age was not listed. From El Universo’s remembrance: 

Omar Salvatierra was remembered as a server with high esteem and always radiating joy in his activities on local radio I99.

Brian Hood, a former evening Standard Editor in the United Kingdom, died April 15. He was 67. From the Evening Standard’s story:

The horse-racing fanatic began his career in journalism on the Clitheroe Advertiser and Blackpool Gazette. He would go on to work in Hong Kong for the South China Morning Post and the Wall Street Journal before freelancing for most of the Fleet Street papers.

Mariahé Pabón, a Venezuelan journalist based in Miami, died April 15. She was 90. From Diario Las Americas story:

In the extensive list of personalities interviewed by Pabón, the soccer player Alfredo Di Stefano and the dictator Fidel Castro stand out.

Fernando Alban, a former cameraman in Ecuador, died April 15. His age was not listed. 

José Augusto Nascimento Silva, a journalist with SBT Television in Brazil, died April 13. He was 57. 

Augusto Itúrburu, a sports reporter with El Telegrafo newspaper in Ecuador, died in mid-April. He was 40. From El Telegrafo’s remembrance

A man of fair words and fundamental gestures, such as sharing a plate of food. A coin, a ride. A good morning An attentive mind and an indelible memory.

 

In this photo taken Saturday, Nov. 12, 2016, New York Post photographer Anthony J. Causi, left, covers UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden in New York. Causi, a highly skilled and exceedingly popular sports photographer for The New York Post who covered the city’s teams for 25 years, died Sunday, April 12, 2020, from the new coronavirus. He was 48. Person next to Causi is unidentified. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Anthony Causi, a photojournalist with the New York Post, died April 12. He was 48. From Ken Davidoff’s remembrance: 

His action shots reflected his knack for being in the right place at the right time — his capturing of legendary Yankees pitcher Mariano Rivera from behind, departing the bullpen and entering a sold-out Yankee Stadium, became his most popular photo — and his portraits of some of those same athletes off the field showed off the plethora of relationships he developed. In 2017, mercurial Mets All-Star Yoenis Cespedes granted The Post access to his ranch in Vero Beach, Fla. — and dressed in cowboy gear — because of the trust he had in Causi.

Theodore Gaffney, a photojournalist, died April 12. He was 92. From Ian Shapira’s Washington Post remembrance:

In the spring of 1961, Jet magazine asked Theodore Gaffney, a Washington freelance photographer, to travel with the Freedom Riders, a group of activists from across the country who planned to challenge segregation in the South by riding Greyhound and Trailways buses…Gaffney, who died Easter Sunday of the coronavirus at age 92, eagerly signed up. He found himself risking his life and documenting one of the most tumultuous 48 hours in civil rights history.

Michael W.R. Davis, author, historian and American journalist, died April 11. He was 88. From Meredith Spelbring’s remembrance for the Detroit Free Press:

He was assistant bureau chief of Business Week in Detroit and contributed to numerous magazines and newspapers. In college he flew airplanes. In late life he loved driving Model T’s around the Piquette Plant’s parking lot.

Hannes Schopf, who served as general secretary and press spokesman for the Association of Austrian Newspapers and an editor before retirement, died April 10. He was 72. From BauernZeitung’s remembrance:

In his column “Packed by the head”, he always delivered a succinct formulation of many relevant analyzes. After retiring in 2012, Schopf continued to volunteer for the media industry as a board member of the Concordia press club, as an ombudsman for the Austrian Press Council and as chairman of the journalism promotion commission.

Roberto Roman, a sports broadcaster in Ecuador, died April 9. His age was not listed. From El Comercio’s remembrance:

Roman is remembered for the sports program outside the field. He worked on Radio Atalaya, Radio Caravana and other stations. He also worked in the written press and on television.

Luis Alberto Flores, a sports broadcaster with Radio la Red in Ecuador, died April 8. His age was not listed. 

Firas Zaghez, a photojournalist in Algeria, died April 8. His age was not listed.

Mohamed Baghdad, a retired journalist in Algeria, died April 8. He was 79. From ObservAlgerie’s story

He was a journalist for the daily El Moudjahid, where he held the post of head of the cultural department between 1970 and 1990.

Kumiko Okae, an actress and TV host in Japan, died April 6. She was 63. 

Omar Paredes, a driver for journalists with Expreso newspaper in Ecuador, died on April 6. His age was not listed. From Expreso’s remembrance:

He did his job with equal dedication and passion for the two newspapers, but he had EXTRA ‘tattooed’ on his heart, very close to love for his children and a shield of Barcelona.

Brahm Kanchibotla, U.S. correspondent for United News of India, died April 5. He was 66. From the Livemint story about his death:

During his 28-year career in the US, he had worked for 11 years as a content editor for Merger Markets, a financial publication, and also did a stint with News India-Times weekly newspaper. He had emigrated to the U.S. in 1992 after having worked for several publications in India.

Anick Jesdanun, the Associated Press’ deputy technology editor, died April 2. He was 51. From Ted Anthony’s remembrance

For more than two decades, Jesdanun helped generations of readers understand the emerging internet and its impact on the world. And while his work may have been about screens and computers and virtual networks, Jesdanun’s large life was about the world and exploring all of the corners of it that he could, virtual and physical alike.

Ricardo Gutierrez Aparicio, a journalist in Peru, died April 1. His age was not listed.

Stuart Goodman, a photo editor who worked for several newspapers in the United Kingdom, died March 2. He was 72. From the Evening Standard’s remembrance:

Goodman had worked as a photographer, night picture editor and picture desk assistant at titles including the Swansea Evening Post, The Guardian, The Independent and Daily Mail.

After the Standard, he moved to Norfolk, where he taught A Level photography until his retirement in 2010.

Anastasia Petrova, editor, Business Interest in Russia, died March 31. She was 36. Yury Kuroptev and Robert Coalson wrote about Petrova for Radio Free Europe, describing her as a “writer, painter, and single mother of two sons,” and the daughter of a prominent local journalist. From that piece:

“Nastya was a hereditary journalist,” said Svetlana Danilova, editor of the Business Interest website. “She inherited all the best qualities from her mother — including determination in pursuit of her goals. She was a smart, bright person. Nastya always won. She had the deceptive appearance of a Renaissance noblewoman, but was hard steel inside. It seemed as if everything came easily to her and that there was almost nothing she couldn’t do.

René Rodríguez Soriano, a journalist from the Dominican Republic who lived in the U.S., died March 31. His age was not listed. From Diario Libre’s story:

He settled in the United States in 1998, from where he developed an intense work of dissemination and promotion of Ibero-American literature.

Mark Eckert, business executive, Mahoning Matters, Youngstown, Ohio, died of the coronavirus, according to a March 30 story from editor Mark Sweetwood. Eckert’s age wasn’t listed. On April 13, Sweetwood wrote about a project Eckert worked on before his death to honor people in town who make a difference. 

On Friday before he was hospitalized, Mark broke the news: Eastwood Mall was going to partner with us to launch Difference Makers.

Then we lost Mark. We were still deep in our grief when the folks at Eastwood Mall asked if they could dedicate the series to Mark. So each week you’ll see this editor’s note: ‘Difference Makers articles share stories of the local heroes making a difference during the extraordinary times of the COVID-19 pandemic. This section is made possible by Eastwood Mall and named in honor of Mark Eckert, who made a difference in the Mahoning Valley.’

A Hai Swapan, a photojournalist with Daily Manabzamin in Bangladesh, died March 30. His age wasn’t reported. From United News of Bangladesh’s report:

He was suffering from kidney disease and was scheduled to go to India soon for kidney replacement.

Ángel Sánchez, previously a reporter in Ecuador, died March 30. He was 56. 

Manuel Adolfo Varas, a sports broadcaster for Radio Caravana in Ecuador, died March 30. He was 76. From El Universo’s remembrance:

His colleagues remembered him for his cheerful spirit…

Maria Mercader, a journalist with the CBS News in the U.S., died of the coronavirus, CBS News reported on March 29. She was 54. From that remembrance: 

Maria got her start at CBS News in 1987, in the CBS Page Program. In her years working on the CBS News foreign and national desks, Maria helped produce many of the biggest stories, including the death of Princess Diana and the 9/11 attacks. She won a Business Emmy in 2004 for her work on a “CBS Sunday Morning” report on computer spam.

Zororo Makamba, a broadcast journalist in Zimbabwe died of the coronavirus, the BBC reported March 29. He was 30 and Zimbabwe’s first coronavirus death. From Sam Roberts’ New York Times obituary about Makamba:

Mr. Makamba was best known for his online commentary and his appearances on talk shows and current affairs programs, discussing climate change and other political and social issues. Writing in The Herald, the state-owned daily newspaper, Leroy Dzenga described Mr. Makamba as “a passionate, eloquent patriot who understood the role of lucid communication in nation-building.”

On Twitter, Mr. Makamba described himself this way: “I hold the pen and my story is still being written.”

Lauro Freitas Filho, an editor with the newspaper Monitor Mercantil, died March 28. He was 61.

Henri Tincq, a journalist in France, died March 28. He was 74. From the Teller Report:

The president Emmanuel Macron paid tribute this Tuesday in a statement to “one of the best connoisseurs of Catholicism and one of the finest observers of the Vatican.”

Laila Tarzaim, a journalist in Morocco, died March 27. She was 38.  

Dominique Aliziou, a journalist in Togo, died March 27. He was Togo’s first coronavirus death. From Republic of Togo’s announcement

Sympathetic, easy to contact, Dominique Aliziou was a confirmed journalist at the head of a newspaper whose quality had made it one of the flagship titles in Togo

Víctor Hugo Peña, news coordinator of Ecuavisa in Ecuador, died March 27. From a story from Infocancha:

He was Ecuavisa News Coordinator, although he had previously worked as a reporter in the Sports section, where he commanded the edition of the ESTADIO portal www.estadio.ec , in addition, he was Head of the Press Department of the tournaments of ATP Challengers who organized in the country in cities such as Quito, Salinas, Cuenca and Manta, as well as those developed in Naples and Miami, began their work on Radio CRE Satelital a little over a decade ago.

Olmedo Méndez Tacur, a reporter at Radio Universal de Guayaquil in Ecuador, died March 25. His age was not listed. 

Alan Finder, a retired reporter and editor at The New York Times who still worked part time, died on March 24. He was 72. From Sam Roberts’ remembrance

In an often frenetic profession, he found the time to mentor colleagues, maintained a sardonic — but never cynical — sense of humor, and managed to vitalize what in lesser hands might have been benumbing explications of why property tax assessments, revisions of the City Charter and affirmative action goals in granting municipal contracts were relevant to average readers.

Abdollah Zavieh, a journalist in Iran, died March 24. His age was not listed. 

José María Candela, a sports journalist in Spain, died March 20. He was 59. From RTVE’s remembrance

Candela, self-proclaimed radio and sports lover, was  an emblematic editor of  RNE  and part  of the team of the ‘Radiogaceta de los Deportes’ program . This benchmark of Spanish sports journalism  began at RTVE in 1985 , where a large part of his career, for 20 years, was devoted to following the information of the football team of his loves Atlético de Madrid.

Tomás Díaz-Valdés, a sports journalist in Spain, died March 20. He was 77. From El País remembrance:

Díaz-Valdés was the first journalist to take motorcycle racing to the pages of a newspaper, the newspaper As. And there he continued, for many years, as a promoter of the motor section, giving opportunities to other journalists and creating a quarry.

Larry Edgeworth, an NBC News employee, died March 19. He was 61. From Erik Ortiz’ story on Edgeworth, who worked in the equipment room at NBC’s headquarters and, before that, spent 25 years as an audio technician: 

“Larry was a gentle bear of a man, the heart and soul of our extended NBC family,” Andrea Mitchell, NBC News’ chief foreign affairs correspondent, said. “I was always cheered and reassured knowing he was on the team in the field. He always had my back whether here in the U.S. or in the most dangerous situations around the world.”

Jean-Michel Denis, a journalist in France, died March 16. He was 70. From Paris Match’s story:

Jean-Michel had become the image of the foreign journalist. He knew how to come back each time, full of energy with new angles to offer to the newsrooms for which he collaborated.

Paul Tobar, a journalist in Ecuador, died of the coronavirus. The date of his death and his age weren’t listed. 

Carlos Loor, a journalist in Ecuador, died of the coronavirus. The date of his death and his age weren’t listed.

Rosendo Escobar Cardenas,  a journalist in Ecuador, died of the coronavirus. The date of his death and his age weren’t listed. 

Carlos Pinzón, a journalist from Colombia, died. The date was not listed. He was 92. 

Raffaele Masto, a journalist in Italy, died. The date was not listed. He was 66. From La Repubblica’s story:

Thanks to his great curiosity, the listeners of Radio Popolare and his colleagues have known that part of the world in years when no one really talked about it.

Paolo Micai, a journalist and cameraman in Italy, died in March, He was 60. From TGCom 24’s story:

In the last month he had narrated the drama of Covid-19 in the front line, accompanying with his images the stories of journalists from the cities and countries most affected by the pandemic.

Adam Alsing, a radio and television journalist in Sweden, died. The date was not listed. He was 51. From Aftonbladet’s story:

Adam Alsing started his career in the early 90’s in TV4 and later got his own talk show in TV3. He then went to Channel 5 and led programs such as “Big Brother”.

Azucena Romaní Tafur, a journalist in Peru, died. The date and her age were not listed.

Gulshan Ewing, a retired Indian journalist and editor, died. The date was not listed. She was 92. From the BBC’s remembrance: 

Ewing, who edited two of India’s most popular publications – women’s magazine Eve’s Weekly and film magazine Star & Style – from 1966 to 1989 was a celebrated editor, and a celebrity in her own right.

Stefano Montomoli, an Italian journalist, died. He was 69. From Radio Siena’s story

He was a voice that everyone knew and appreciated.

This article was originally published on April 13, 2020, and has been updated. Lisa Clifford with International News Safety Institute contributed to this report. Reporting by the Press Emblem Campaign also helped build this list.

Kristen Hare covers the transformation of local news for Poynter.org and writes a weekly newsletter on the transformation of local news. Want to be part of the conversation? You can subscribe here. Kristen can be reached at khare@poynter.org or on Twitter at @kristenhare.

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  • Wow. This list of once beating heart journalists punched me in the gut…I think because I’m a former TV News journalist who still can’t separate herself from “the family.” This news is painful. This news is personal. I will take a moment each day at noon to remember and pray for journalists around the world as COVID-19 unmasks the frailties of this thing we call life.