Foley Run honors slain journalist

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Saturday, October 14, 2017 - 8:30am

Students in the School of Journalism at the University of Arizona will take part Saturday, Oct. 14, in the James W. Foley Freedom Run/Walk 5K, a nationwide event in memory of the freelance journalist who was kidnapped and brutally slain by in 2014 while reporting inside Syria.

The Tucson run and walk will be sponsored by the student chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and the Center for Border & Global Journalism at the UA School of Journalism. 

Runners and walkers will depart at 8:30 a.m. from the Louise Foucar Marshall Building, 845 N. Park Ave., just north of University Boulevard.

Foley was the first American slain by the Islamic state, 21 months after he was kidnapped while on a reporting assignment. 

The annual Foley Freedom Run/Walk – now in its third year – draws thousands of participants each October in cities and campuses across the country.

“This event is a great opportunity to highlight the value of work by journalists like Foley, who made the ultimate sacrifice on his quest to bring people the truth,” said Andrew Paxton, president of UA’s student chapter of SPJ. “In today's world, where threats and violence against the media continue to rise, it is paramount to remember that journalists are human beings taking huge risks each and every day in order to help create a more informed public.”

Donations from local organizations and others supporting the event go to the James W. Foley Foundation, which John and Diane Foley, the parents of James Foley, founded to honor their son’s passion for journalism and to help support other American journalists reporting from combat zones.

The Foleys visited the campus of the University of Arizona in February 2015, to take part in a panel discussion, “Reporting in a More Dangerous World.”  The program, presented by the Center for Border & Global Journalism, focused on what needs to be done to better support journalists covering a world that has become increasingly perilous.

Donations from local organizations and runners supporting the event go to the James W. Foley Foundation, which Foleys’ parents founded to honor their son’s passion for journalism and to help support other American journalists reporting from combat zones.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists in New York City, more than 1,250 journalists have been killed across the globe since 1992.  In Syria alone, 111 journalists have been killed since 2011.

 “James Foley was a brave journalist who understood that journalism is about bearing witness,” said William Schmidt, a professor at the School of Journalism and co-director of the school’s Center for Border & Global Journalism.   “His tragic death reminds us of the terrible peril that journalists everywhere face when they cross frontiers to help us separate truth from rumour, and make sense of a more dangerous world.”

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