The Fallen Journalists Memorial Foundation issued the following statement to mark the 20th anniversary of the deaths of Michael Kelly, David Bloom and Elizabeth Neuffer, and other journalists who died while reporting on the Iraq War.
“This April and May, we remember Michael, David, and Elizabeth around the 20th anniversary of the period in 2003 when they lost their lives while reporting on the war in Iraq, and we honor their significant legacies,” said Fallen Journalists Memorial Foundation President Barbara Cochran. “All three of them were excellent journalists who lost their lives while providing first-hand accounts from a dangerous war zone. This solemn anniversary is a reminder of the risks taken by all those who are determined to witness, investigate, and report from the frontlines of conflict. Fifteen reporters from seven countries lost their lives in the first three months of the Iraq War and 204 journalists and media workers died before the war was declared over, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.
“Journalists perform an essential public service not only in war zones, but in their reporting every day. In the face of mounting threats and danger, they provide the public with transparency and accountability, from conflict zones to natural disaster sites and everywhere in between.
“Unfortunately, these dangers associated with frontline reporting are still with us. Twenty years later, reporters are covering other wars, including in Ukraine, and losing their lives. That is why we are working to build a memorial in Washington to honor fallen journalists and educate the public about the value of the free press. Soon, this memorial will stand on the National Mall at the foot of Capitol Hill as a reminder of the watchdog role journalists play that is so essential. And we hope it will help us all remember journalists like Michael, David, and Elizabeth, and far too many others who sacrificed their lives while bringing news to the public.”
Below please find details about Michael Kelly, David Bloom, and Elizabeth Neuffer.
Michael Kelly (1957-2003) made his mark writing and editing for publications including The Atlantic Monthly, The New Yorker, The New York Times, and The Washington Post. Under his tenure as editor, The Atlantic Monthly won four National Magazine Awards. No stranger to reporting from conflict zones, Kelly covered the Persian Gulf War in 1991 and authored a book on his experiences before transitioning to political commentary. He became the first journalist killed in action during the Iraq War after his assigned unit’s Humvee came under Iraqi fire. He died on April 4, 2003.
David Bloom (1963-2003) was an award-winning journalist and longtime NBC correspondent who reported on everything from the September 11 attacks to presidential elections to the war in Bosnia. In 2003, he embedded with the U.S. Third Infantry Division in Iraq in a vehicle with television and satellite equipment so he could broadcast live reports to the American people as troops made their way to Baghdad. He became a symbol of the live-action, frontline reporting that correspondents covering this war were delivering. While covering the war in Iraq, Bloom passed away from a pulmonary embolism caused by a blood clot that formed after he spent long hours cramped in armored vehicles during his reporting. He died on April 6, 2003. [David Bloom was an alumnus of Pitzer College.]
Elizabeth Neuffer (1956-2003) rose to prominence for her coverage of war crimes, human rights abuses, and post-conflict societies. While serving as European bureau chief, she reported on the front lines of civil unrest and violence across Eastern Europe and was dispatched to Africa to cover the aftermath of the Rwandan genocide. Neuffer also worked on a war crimes project as a fellow with the Council on Foreign Relations. She lost her life in a car accident in Iraq while on assignment covering the aftermath of the invasion in 2003 for The Boston Globe. She died on May 9, 2003.