The Stony Brook University School of Journalism has launched a campaign to establish a Center for International Reporting in honor of Marie Colvin, the legendary correspondent and native Long Islander, who was killed in a rocket attack in February while reporting on Syrian violence in the city of Homs.
Plans for the Marie Colvin Center for International Reporting include expanding the journalism school’s current curriculum to include foreign reporting classes with lectures by experienced correspondents, providing overseas travel fellowships for journalism students and establishing a journalist-in-residence fellowship, inviting outstanding foreign correspondents to Stony Brook for a semester of scholarship, writing and teaching.
“We want the Stony Brook School of Journalism to be known for its expansiveness, inclusiveness,” said Associate Dean Marcy McGinnis. She said the center will help teach students how to report international news accurately and fairly.
“International reporting is extremely important to democracy,” McGinnis said. “It’s such a big and important area of news coverage.”
Colvin, 56, who worked for The Sunday Times of London at the time of her death, grew up in East Norwich and attended Oyster Bay High School. She covered war zones in Iraq, Libya, Zimbabwe, Chechnya, Kosovo and others. The heroic journalist wore a trademark black patch, after losing her left eye in 2001 to shrapnel from an attack by a Sri Lankan soldier.
"The need for front line, objective reporting has never been more compelling," Colvin said in a speech in London in 2010. "We must remember how important it is that news organizations continue to invest in sending us out at great cost, both financial and emotional, to cover stories."
The mission of the new center includes commemorating Colvin’s legacy by raising awareness about the need for energetic, accurate and courageous international coverage, a goal that is very much in line with the ideals of the existing journalism school.
Ilana Ozernoy, assistant professor at the Stony Brook University School of Journalism and former foreign correspondent for U.S. News & World Report, said, "I met Marie during the war in Iraq…I was only 25 at the time, and I remember being in complete awe of Marie Colvin. She was an indefatigable reporter, a courageous woman; larger-than-life. We will create this center to honor how Marie lived her extraordinary life: as an inspiration to young journalists, and to young women in particular."
“The center will help journalism students mentally prepare for reporting abroad. A lot of students express interest in going overseas…and having teachers by them,” she said. “It’s a shame not to give every student the opportunity.”
The Colvin family has endorsed the new center with a donation from the Marie Colvin Memorial Fund.
"Marie was always a generous colleague and mentor to younger journalists, and I know she would be extremely proud of the Center," said Cathleen Colvin, Marie's sister. "It reflects the way Marie herself developed as a journalist and a writer — on the job experience coupled with advice and support from experienced journalists."