Veronica Guerin: The Life and Death of a Crime Reporter

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9780099761518: Veronica Guerin: The Life and Death of a Crime Reporter

On June 26, 1996, the Sunday Independent's crime reporter Veronica Guerin was shot dead by a motorcycle passenger as she waited at traffic lights on the outskirts of Dublin—the victim of her own crusading exposes of leading criminals. Her death profoundly shocked the country. The President attended her funeral, tributes were paid to her in parliament, and hundreds of bouquets of flowers were placed in her memory by members of the public. Within a month new anti-crime measures had been introduced and two of the leading murder suspects had fled the country. While Guerin was hailed as a heroine, the Sunday Independent denied any culpability in her death. Emily O'Reilly's book exposes the frightening moral bankruptcy of the media and the devastating consequences of this—for the individual and for society.

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About the Author:

Emily O'Reilley worked as a political columnist at the Sunday Times and as the Political Editor of the Sunday Business Post. A former Nieman Fellow at Harvard University, she has been Journalist of the year and Woman Journalist of the Year. In 2003 she was appointed as Ireland's first women Ombudsman and Freedom of Information Commissioner. She is the author of two books; Candidate: The Truth Behind the Presidential Campaign (1991), and Masterminds of the right (1992)

From Kirkus Reviews:

A shallow, one-sided, and gratuitous indictment of slain Irish crime reporter Veronica Guerin and the Sunday Independent newspaper. Irish journalist O'Reilly, seemingly frustrated by the posthumous pieties surrounding the ``martyred'' Veronica Guerin, attempts to paint a far darker picture of her mysterious life and death. Ireland's best known crime reporter, Guerin was murdered by a motorcycle gunman on June 26, 1996, in Dublin. Her death stunned the country. The conventional wisdom was that Guerin had gotten too close to organized crime leaders and was killed to ensure her silence. O'Reilly contends that Guerin willingly courted danger, using unethical and risky methods of obtaining information about criminals. An undeniably aggressive reporter, Guerin basically staked out criminals' homes in order to gain interviews and scoops. In four separate incidents, Guerin was brutally beaten, shot at, shot in the leg, and threatened with murder. She nonetheless continued hunting down stories on drug dealers, killers, and assorted criminals. Meanwhile, her employers at the Sunday Independent were marketing her as a crusading media staran image she felt pressured to uphold. O'Reilly asserts that the Sunday Independent was aware of the danger facing Guerin but did nothing to protect her. The major problem with O'Reilly's thesis is Veronica Guerin herself, who, after being shot in the leg, left her hospital bed to interview an infamous Dublin criminal. If gun-wielding psychopaths couldn't slow down the indefatigable Guerin, how could her editors? When offered police protection, Guerin turned it down. When her editors offered her easier, safer assignments, she threatened to bolt to another newspaper. O'Reilly blithely implies that the Sunday Independent should have taken disciplinary action against Guerin for failing to protect herself or to take safer assignments. Ultimately, O'Reilly's attempt to lay blame for Guerin's murder on Guerin herself or her newspaper seems beside the point, and even a little nasty. -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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