90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Here and Now with Robin Young
Public radio's live
midday news program
With sponsorship from
Mathworks - Accelerating the pace of engineering and science
Accelerating the pace
of engineering and science
Wednesday, August 20, 2014

James Foley Remembered For His ‘Extraordinary Courage’

American freelance journalist James Foley is pictured in November 2012 while covering the civil war in Aleppo, Syria. (Nicole Tung/freejamesfoley.org via AP)

American freelance journalist James Foley is pictured in November 2012 while covering the civil war in Aleppo, Syria. (Nicole Tung/freejamesfoley.org via AP)

U.S. officials have confirmed the authenticity of a grisly video showing the beheading of American journalist James Foley, by the Sunni militant group the Islamic State, also called ISIS or ISIL. Foley, 40, went missing in northern Syria in November 2012 while freelancing for Boston-based GlobalPost and Agence France-Press (AFP).

Philip Balboni, CEO of GlobalPost, talked to Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson about Foley’s work, and the video.

Interview Highlights: Philip Balboni

Have you seen the video?

“Unfortunately I have. And it’s as horrible as anything could possibly be. To anyone who’s listening to your program, I urge them not to look at it. I don’t think it does anything but further the Islamic State’s propaganda goals.

“What I can say is that having watched it, that Jim Foley’s courage, his bravery in putting himself into harm’s way in three countries now — Afghanistan, Libya and Syria — came through right to the end. He never flinched. He faced his death with extraordinary courage. I’m in awe of this man.”

Tell us more about the work that he did for GlobalPost

“He was both a print and video reporter. Jim was good in both. I think he had a particular love of photography and video, and did a lot of that, did some extraordinary reporting for us from the front lines. He loved to tell the stories of the people of these countries. He became deeply involved in the conflict that he was covering, to the degree that it imposed suffering on people there. I know that’s what drew him back to Syria, that he could see that this was an extraordinary story of people rising up against a repression. Of course, you know the war in Syria has moved on to a whole different stage, and I think this speaks to where we are now, to why Jim came to this horrific end and to what we need to do as a country, what our government needs to do to combat the spread of this militant, really evil force that has expanded too far.”

It also speaks to what a dangerous world it has become for journalists in war zones

“Indeed. I mean, it’s difficult to keep up with, and one thing that I hope that people can take away from this is that — you know, it’s not egotism, it’s not anything but a genuine, passionate desire to be out there and telling stories. At least that’s what Jim represented. And you know, I think his courage is a shining example to journalists everywhere, both those who are conflict reporters and to others who remain behind on whatever home front, is that what we do is important and that there’s great danger in the world and it needs to be addressed.”

Guest

  • Philip Balboni, CEO of GlobalPost. James Foley was on a freelance assignment for GlobalPost when he was abducted in Syria, in November 2012.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • Dave

    Drone reporters in War Zones.
    Photo drones and even drones equipped with micro phones.
    Keep live reporters out of harms way; Use drones.
    Ten drones shot down not a real concern.

  • Caroline

    We have now caught sight of he who is formless, James, a brave soul. I think he saw no distinction between the creation and the scenery – people in need. He gave his light to shed light, and it was and is a miracle that there are such spirits among us – they are us and we are them. Behold the body born of dust . . . passes into the vast heaven . . to be apart (not a part) but in union with the whole. James is the universe of consciousness expressed for us to tap into. Thanks, James.

Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

September 15 26 Comments

A Call To Reject Corporal Punishment As Part Of Black Culture

An incident of child abuse by an NFL player has raised questions about the use of corporal punishment as a form of discipline in the African-American community.

September 15 26 Comments

Would You Pay To Get Your Kid Into A Top College?

A San Francisco company charges parents for a consulting package based on the odds their student will get into a certain university, with prices up to a million dollars.

September 12 9 Comments

Senator: Arab Countries ‘Need To Step To The Plate’ In Fight Against ISIS

Mark Begich (D-AK) is one of the few members of Congress speaking out against a key part of President Obama's plan for fighting the Islamic State.

September 12 Comment

Ecuadorian Drilling Damage Inspires Documentary

An American and an Ecuadorian are inspired to help Ecuador heal from decades of drilling and oil spills.