The profession is routinely denigrated by critics or those with political agendas, so it is easy to forget that journalism is an often thankless, endlessly difficult and, at times, life-threatening occupation. Marie Colvin reminded the world of that.

The 56-year-old foreign correspondent was killed recently in Homs, Syria, the victim of rocket attacks that also claimed the life of French photojournalist Remi Ochlik. They were the sixth and seventh journalists killed in Syria since November (an eighth died Feb. 24). With Homs surrounded, they may well be buried there.

While the extent of the government shelling is not fully known, its human toll has been felt worldwide because of the reporting Colvin did right up until her death.

The Oyster Bay, N.Y., native shared the grievous conditions inside Homs — a city being pounded by its own government as Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad seeks to quell a popular uprising. Colvin reported about — and from — a cellar known as the widow’s basement, where women and children huddled, wept and prayed. The night before her own death, she shared a story about a baby who slowly died of his wounds.

Colvin believed it is the journalist’s duty to provide such unvarnished, unflinching accounts of the realities of war. A longtime reporter for the Sunday Times of London, she shied away from nothing. Baghdad in 1991; Kosovo in the late 1990s; East Timor in 1999; Sri Lanka, where she lost an eye to shrapnel, in 2001. She told the victims’ stories, with special attention paid to women and children.

A fearless correspondent, Colvin brought honor to her profession. Throughout her life and even in death, she brought attention to the humanitarian crisis that is, always, war.

— The Democrat and Chronicle, Rochester, N.Y., Feb. 27

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