Shadid tributes: 'His success was the result of grueling work'

New York Times foreign correspondent Anthony Shadid was honored by colleagues at The Times, The Washington Post and elsewhere after his sudden death on Thursday while on assignment in Syria. Select tributes are below. || Related: Shadid honored on front pages of college paper, former papers, New York Times | Storify of reaction to Shadid’s death | The brilliance of Anthony Shadid’s writing

His success was the result of grueling work. He spent his days reporting and his evenings writing. While I threw dinner parties, he’d be up in his room, typing away. His downtime would usually come around 3 a.m., after both of us had filed our stories. We’d pour healthy tumblers of single-malt Scotch, light up Marlboros and watch television. DVDs of “Sex and the City” were our favorite. The girls transported us to a world without car bombs and kidnappings. A colleague once brought a season of “The Sopranos.” We watched with morbid fascination for a while before concluding that it was simply too dark for our grim life in Baghdad.

—Rajiv Chandrasekaran, in an extraordinary remembrance in The Washington Post. This piece also carries tributes from Omar Fekeiki, David Hoffman, Phil Bennett (“I know you might fire me,” Bennett remembers Shadid saying when he ordered him out of Baghdad at the beginning of the Iraq War. “But I’m not leaving. I’ve been preparing for this my entire career"), Len Downie, Steve Fainaru, and others.

• Craig Kannally compiles a Storify of Shadid tributes, mostly on Twitter, from Times colleagues and other journalists who knew or just admired Shadid. Jeff Sonderman and Steve Myers compiled tributes as well.

Journalists recognize each other’s signatures and tricks. One of Anthony’s was to frame a story around the proprietor of a single café, bookstore or university department. It’s not easy to bring a passive character and setting of that sort to life but Anthony did it again and again. Reading the whole body of his work was like reading a linked series of stories about a world of (usually) men bathed in cigarette smoke, hyped up on coffee, and ready to talk about why the world is the way it is. Like a great short story writer, Shadid’s use of these characters was neither too heavy nor too light; he let them breathe and speak, and they allowed the reader to join in, to slip inside worlds and ways of thinking normally closed off. Steve Coll in The New Yorker

• Quil Lawrence remembers drinking with, grilling with, and learning from Shadid.

• Melissa Bell at the Post compiles some of Shadid's writing at the paper, including his Pulitzer entries. There is also a collection of his appearances and stories about him on NPR. The Times collects some of Shadid's video reporting, and here are some excerpts from his writing there.

• A photo gallery of Shadid at work (you have to watch an ad first, geez)

• Thomas Friedman apparently commented on Rick Gladstone's story about Shadid's death:

Anthony Shadid was one of the finest reporters I have ever seen operate in the Middle East and that I ever had the pleasure to work with and read. This is a terrible loss to his family, friends, colleagues and readers of the New York Times. My deepest condolences to his family. Anthony will truly be missed. Thomas L. Friedman

• Hundreds of comments on this Times Facebook post.

• Erik Wemple remembers Shadid, the storyteller. A 2003 story by Shadid, Wemple writes, "told me more about life in Iraq than everything I’d read." Admiring how Shadid got away from his Iraqi minder to interview a woman whose son had gone off to fight, Wemple interviewed Shadid, who was more than happy to talk about his craft, for Washington City Paper.

Shadid says that his minder looked the other way on each of the two outings when he secured clean interviews with Iraqis. In one instance, he told the minder that he was off to visit a friend that he'd met during a previous Baghdad tour of duty. The minder didn't appear to mind, recalls Shadid. "It may have been a little dodgy, and there were some questions later," he says. "But we have a good relationship....He has a job to do, and I have a job to do....There's mutual respect and a certain friendliness in that kind of environment."

This post will be updated.

  • Andrew Beaujon

    Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at and managing editor of Washington City Paper. He's the author of the 2006 book "Body Piercing Saved My Life," about Christian rock and evangelical Christian culture.


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