Pulitzer Prize-Winning AP Photographer Anja Niedringhaus Killed in Afghanistan

Anja Niedringhaus

Associated Press CEO Gary Pruitt told staff “it appears” that Niedringhaus was one of two journalists “targeted and attacked” while covering the run-up to the presidential elections in Afghanistan

Pulitzer Prize-winning Associated Press photographer Anja Niedringhaus was killed while working in Afghanistan.

AP president and CEO Gary Pruitt told staff about the sad news on Friday by sending around an internal memo, which TheWrap has obtained.

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“Anja and Kathy Gannon, regional correspondent for Pakistan and Afghanistan,  were in Khost covering the run-up to the presidential elections in Afghanistan when, it appears, they were targeted and attacked. Kathy survived, but Anja died. Kathy is being treated at a hospital,” Pruitt wrote. “Those of you who worked with Anja know what a life force she was: spirited, intrepid and fearless, with a raucous laugh that we will always remember.”

Niedringhaus, 48, was the only woman on a team of 11 AP photographers that won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Photography for coverage of Iraq. She was honored with the the International  Women’s Media Foundation Courage in Journalism Award the same year, and was awarded a Neiman fellowship to Harvard University in 2006.

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The German photojournalist joined AP in 2002, and worked throughout the Middle East as well as Afghanistan and Pakistan. Niedringhaus, who began her career covering the collapse of the Berlin Wall, previously spent over a decade photographing the wars in the former Yugoslavia for the European Pressphoto Agency.

“Anja is the 32nd AP staffer to give their life in pursuit of the news since AP was founded in 1846,” Pruitt noted in the memo. “As conflict spreads throughout regions of the world, journalism has become more dangerous. Where once reporters and photographers were seen as the impartial eyes and ears of crucial information, today they are often targets.”

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“AP takes the security of its staff very seriously, equipping them with protective gear and intensive training. Yet even that is sometimes not enough,” Pruitt added. “This is a profession of the brave and the passionate, those committed to the mission of bringing to the world information that is fair, accurate and important. Anja Niedringhaus met that definition in every way. We will miss her terribly.”