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May 3, 2024updated 07 May 2024 8:08am

Campaign for first UK memorial to journalists killed while doing their jobs

Press Gazette backs campaign for memorial to UK's fallen journalists.

By Charlotte Tobitt

A new campaign is aiming to create the UK’s first memorial to journalists killed while doing their jobs.

Press Gazette is spearheading the On the Record: The National Memorial to Journalists on the Frontline campaign along with Andrew Baud of communications agency TALA. It has been launched today (Friday 3 May) to mark World Press Freedom Day.

The aim is for a sculpture to be commissioned for and placed at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire as a place where families, colleagues and friends can reflect and remember journalists who have lost their lives on the front line.

It is intended that the memorial will be complemented by a digital database containing the stories of fallen UK-based journalists to preserve their legacy and put their experiences and achievements “on the record”.

Press Gazette editor-in-chief Dominic Ponsford said: “Journalists risk their lives every day to shine a light into some of the darkest corners of the world. This memorial should serve as a reminder of the importance of the work we all do in the news business.

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“Press Gazette is proud to be involved in this project and we look forward to collating the most comprehensive list ever compiled of UK journalists killed doing their jobs.”

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Sixteen UK journalists have been killed as a result of doing their jobs since 2000, according to Press Gazette’s tally.

They include Martin O’Hagan and Lyra McKee, both killed in Northern Ireland in 2001 and 2019 respectively, and Sunday Times foreign correspondent Marie Colvin, Sky News cameraman Mick Deane and freelance photographer Tim Hetherington, who were all killed in the Middle East between 2011 and 2013.

Press Gazette is appealing for information about UK journalists killed in the line of duty before 2000, going as far back as we can, so they can be added to the database. Please get in touch on pged@pressgazette.co.uk with any names and other information you can share.

Worldwide 128 journalists and media workers are believed to have been killed in 2023 alone, according to a tally by the International Federation of Journalists. More than 80 of those will killed in Palestine since 7 October.

The National Memorial Arboretum is the proposed location for the memorial as it contains more than 400 other memorials to armed forces, emergency services and civilian organisations to commemorate those who have served and sacrificed for the country, meaning it would be a fitting place to remember the work of our war correspondents.

Baud, who has worked closely with the Arboretum for 16 years, said: “Some time ago I received a letter from a member of the public who asked why there wasn’t a memorial to war correspondents at the Arboretum. Having worked with journalists for my whole professional life and understanding the importance of remembering those who have sacrificed their lives for the greater good, the creation of a memorial to journalists reporting from the frontline has become a personal mission for me.

“We are creating this tribute in partnership with Press Gazette and by inviting support from journalists, media organisations and colleagues and families of the fallen. Together we intend to commemorate the invaluable contributions of journalists and war correspondents, and we believe that they should be acknowledged within the tapestry of remembrance at the National Memorial Arboretum.” 

The project is being steered by media representatives and industry veterans including:

  • Former BBC News defence correspondent Caroline Wyatt
  • Ex-Sun defence editor Tom Newton Dunn
  • Richard Sambrook, emeritus professor at Cardiff University’s Centre for Journalism and a former director of global news at the BBC
  • Jon Williams, executive director of the Rory Peck Trust and a former BBC world editor and RTE News managing director
  • James Jordan, news director for Europe and Africa at the Associated Press
  • Simon Bucks, ex-chief executive of the British Forces Broadcasting Service
  • Jason Keen, a former deputy editor of The Andrew Marr Show on BBC One
  • Kaija Larke, former defence reporter for Forces TV
  • Chris Webb, former head of news and acting director of media and communication at the Metropolitan Police and head of communications for the UK Police Memorial
  • Phil Bloomfield, founder of Bloom Communications

The organisers are now seeking a wide range of partners to assist with all aspects of the project including fundraising, memorial design, database research, and curating the stories of individual journalists.

Media organisations, potential partners and individuals wishing to contribute to the development of ‘On The Record’ should contact Andrew Baud on info@ontherecordmemorial.co.uk or visit https://ontherecordmemorial.co.uk/.

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Email pged@pressgazette.co.uk to point out mistakes, provide story tips or send in a letter for publication on our "Letters Page" blog

Select and enter your email address Weekly insight into the big strategic issues affecting the future of the news industry. Essential reading for media leaders every Thursday. Your morning brew of news about the world of news from Press Gazette and elsewhere in the media. Sent at around 10am UK time. Our weekly does of strategic insight about the future of news media aimed at US readers. A fortnightly update from the front-line of news and advertising. Aimed at marketers and those involved in the advertising industry.
  • Business owner/co-owner
  • CEO
  • COO
  • CFO
  • CTO
  • Chairperson
  • Non-Exec Director
  • Other C-Suite
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  • Senior Executive/SVP or Corporate VP or equivalent
  • Director or equivalent
  • Group or Senior Manager
  • Head of Department/Function
  • Manager
  • Non-manager
  • Retired
  • Other
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
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