Hearing of the death in Libya of journalist Tim Hetherington, co-director of the Film "Restrepo", stopped my brain. While the news of the death of any journalist seems to make me pause, regardless of who it is, today's news carried a particular weight for me. --
"Hetherington was killed [today] when a mortar struck near where he was working, Vanity Fair and Panos Pictures (via CNN) say," reports NPR.
Two years ago I was working as a Sundance producer for Park City’s KPCW radio station. One of my primary responsibilities was booking interviews for all of our various radio shows surrounding the festival.
When I confirmed Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger as my first interviews to kick off our whole coverage, I was ecstatic. I was happy to get them for the show, but for my own selfish reasons I was even more excited to get to chat with two people whose work served as an inspiration for a photographer searching for a way in the journalism world.
On the two occasions that I spoke with Tim throughout the days at Sundance I asked him, “How did you excel in your career? I want to do what you do.” Both times he smiled and said, “hard work.” Standing next to him, I felt like a nobody, but he treated me like I deserved his time.
Seeing the rise of his work and the attention it received over the past year made me so excited. “He is showing it can be done,” I thought many times.
Hearing the news today made me very sad. Yet, it also made me thankful - that a person like him existed and shared with us what he did. To see his work and know his character confirms that while he may not physically be here anymore, he will still be here in other ways, and in those ways he can still make all our lives better.