When Cooper pressed her on the propriety of publishing such graphic accounts, she was insistent: Media outlets must disseminate stories from war zones.
“That baby,” she said, “probably will move more people to think, ‘What is going on and why is no one stopping this murder in Homs that is happening every day?’”
Ms. Colvin was covering the ongoing armed insurrection in Syria for the Sunday Times of London, which announced her death. She died along with a French photographer, Remi Ochlik, 28, in what Sunday Times editor John Witherow described as a “devastating bombardment by the Syrian army.” At least two other journalists were wounded in the attack, which struck an improvised news media office.
The news came less than a week after Anthony Shadid, a former Washington Post correspondent, died of an apparent asthma attack while on assignment in Syria for the New York Times. At least five other journalists have been killed in the country since November, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, a nonprofit organization that promotes freedom of the press.
Ms. Colvin grew up in New York and was deeply influenced by a writing class she took at Yale University with John Hersey, author of a landmark account of the 1945 atomic bombing of Hiroshima in Japan. His writings, along with those of war correspondent Martha Gellhorn, drew her to journalism.
In her 26-year career with the Sunday Times, Ms. Colvin reported from conflict zones on three continents. She eschewed news conferences and repeatedly risked her life to cover wars from the perspective of ordinary people, particularly women and children. In 1999, she was reportedly one of three journalists — all women — to remain in East Timor to cover the more than 1,000 refugees in a U.N. compound that was under attack by militias.
Some observers credited her reportage with saving the refugees. The United Nations had decided at one point to remove its peacekeepers, but Ms. Colvin’s reports made that position politically unsustainable.
“Craters. Burned houses. Mutilated bodies. Women weeping for children and husbands. Men for their wives, mothers, children,” she said in 2010 in London at a tribute to journalists killed on assignment. “Our mission is to report these horrors of war with accuracy and without prejudice.”
In her final dispatch, published Feb. 19 in the Sunday Times, Ms. Colvin described such horrors as she witnessed them in Homs.