By Claire Scro
In memory of esteemed war correspondent Marie Colvin, Stony Brook University began a fundraising campaign in order to form a center for international reporting. The program currently stands as an initiative until donations reach $1 million. The campaign is led by committee leader Dean Howard Schneider of the Journalism Program, assistant professor Ilana Ozernoy and Associate Dean Marcy McGinnis.
Colvin was a Long Island native. She was born in Astoria, Queens in 1956 and graduated from Yale University in 1978. In 2001 she was named Foreign Reporter of the Year at the British Press Awards for her coverage of the Sri Lanken Civil War, where she was permanently blinded after shrapnel from a rocket-propelled grenade damaged her left eye. Colvin persisted in her work as a correspondent until her death in Homs, Syria in February 2012. She previously reported on the Arab Spring from Tunisia, Libya and Egypt.
“She represents the best of journalism,” said Schneider.
The Marie Colvin Center for International Reporting will expand Stony Brook’s Journalism Without Walls (JWW) program. The addition will further the opportunity for students to pursue robust, hard-edge training as reporters.
The JWW program began in 2008. It has transported students to China, Russia and Cuba for research and reporting experiences in politics, economics and culture. The Colvin Center’s module of courses will teach students to assimilate, understand and adapt as both war correspondents and foreign reporters.
“It’s not about being shot at,” explained Ozernoy, who was once a war correspondent herself. “It’s about being a witness to history.”
Ozernoy will lead the next group of JWW students to Kenya this winter. The decision was set in affiliation between Stony Brook University and the Tarkana Basin Institute (TBI).
“We want to hit every corner of the world that we can,” Ozernoy said.
The intention of the Marie Colvin Center for International Reporting is also to broaden the scope of interest in journalism to people outside the department. To keep the ambition of Colvin alive, everyone will be welcome to The Marie Colvin Distinguished Lecture Series to hear the personal experiences of war correspondents in a public forum.
The legacy of Marie Colvin will live on with the new center.