Monday, June 6, 2016

A deluge of tributes to David Gilkey, former Freep photojournalist killed in Afghanistan

Posted By on Mon, Jun 6, 2016 at 12:06 PM

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David P. Gilkey, 50, a former Detroit Free Press photojournalist and video editor, was killed in Afghanistan Sunday, while on an assignment for NPR. 

According to NPR, where the award-winning journalist worked since 2007, Gilkey was killed alongside Afghan interpreter Zabihullah Tamanna, and an Afghan National Army solider. 

"David and Zabihullah were on assignment for the network traveling with an Afghan army unit," the public radio station said in a statement. "They were in an armored Humvee driven by a soldier of the Afghan National Army. All three were killed after the Humvee was hit by rocket propelled grenades in an apparent ambush." 

Two other NPR journalists who were also traveling with them were unharmed. 

Gilkey's skills as a photographer — and desire to tell the human interest side of stories — earned him a bevy of awards. While at the Free Press, he was awarded a national Emmy in 2007 for a video series, "Band of Brothers," about Michigan Marines in Iraq. He was also named Michigan "Photographer of the Year" by the Michigan Press Photographers Association in 2004. While at NPR, he won the George Polk Award in 2010 and was named the 2011 Still Photograph of the Year by the White House News Photographers Association. 

Getting not just a good picture but a story was a big part of Gilkey's work. As he told NPR in 2010 after covering Haiti's earthquake: "It's not just reporting. It's not just taking pictures. It's, 'Do those visuals, do the stories, do they change somebody's mind enough to take action?'"

In addition to be a talented journalist, Gilkey also sounds like a truly decent guy, as Robert Huschka, the Free Press executive editor, told the paper, "David was one of the most intense journalists I've ever met. He was committed to telling human stories — even when it meant putting his own life in harm's way. And, he was just a good guy." 

This sentiment was repeated by many who took to Twitter to share reactions, tributes and praises of Gilkey. Below are just a few of them. 

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