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In memoriam Kurt Schork

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Kurt Schork (January 24, 1947 – May 24, 2000) was an American reporter and war correspondent. He was killed in an ambush while on an assignment for Reuters in Sierra Leone together with cameraman Miguel Gil Moreno de Mora of Spain, who worked for Associated Press Television. Two other Reuters journalists, South African cameraman Mark Chisholm and Greek photographer Yannis Behrakis were injured in the attack in which Schork died.

Fifty-three year old Schork and 32-year old, Miguel Gil Moreno, who was a cameraman from Associated Press Television News, were killed on May 24. 2000. in an ambush by Sierra Leone rebels while reporting on the West African nation’s civil war.

Schork had spent more than 10 years reporting on conflicts around the world, especially in the former Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq. At the auditorium of the National Building Museum in Washington D.C. on Thursday, friends, family and colleagues commemorated the full life of celebrated journalist, Kurt Schork. The daytime service was held to remember a man who – his former employers say – helped make a difference in the world with his graphic portrayal of the horror of war.

Reuters Video News cameraman Mark Chisholm and Reuters stills photographer Yannis Behrakis were also caught in the ambush.
Chisholm suffered a hand injury but attended the service with his arm in a sling. Another cameraman, Miguel Gil Moreno, who worked for Associated Press Television News, was killed in the attack.

Reuters Editor-in-chief Geert Linnebank said Schork was a modest man, with ” no self-indulgence, no exhibitionism” and no gratuitous heroism.
“Kurt the pragmatist knew that if his by-line did not gain fame with the broad public, it really did register with those of influence and power.

And, as an idealist, Kurt sensed that if his reporting of the dark forgotten places that attracted him like a magnet that that reporting could help shape events and actions too, that it would on occasion dispel lethargy and strengthen resolve, and lighten the burden of those without power or voice.”

Geert Linnebank, Reuters Editor-in-Chief At the service, Schork was praised for his sense of compassion for the people of Bosnia and other war-ravaged countries. One of the most famous incidents in his life was when he rushed to the aid of a woman wounded during an attack on a funeral in Sarajevo in August 1992.

U-S Ambassador to the United Nations, Richard Holbrooke, attended the service, as he knew Schork well from the war in Bosnia. Holbrooke was the diplomat who brokered an accord in late 1995 which helped bring about peace in the region. Holbrooke said Schork succeeded in making the difference.

He also said Schork wanted the world to know how stupid and how senseless war was.

“Kurt believed if he shone the flashlight of truth, truth in the form of facts, as Kurt presented them in his precise and sparse style, then the world would not be able to ignore indefinitely what was happening. Bosnia proved him right. His reporting was read around the world by millions who, because he wrote for a wire service, rarely if ever knew his name. His stories moved people to anger, they affected leaders and ultimately, belatedly, they helped rouse governments to action.”, said Richard Holbrooke, U-S Ambassador to the U-N Photos of Schork were enlarged and displayed around the memorial service venue – a reminder of his efforts, his great achievements and his great spirit which will be remembered.

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