One of my heroes passes…

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Quico says: It’s a sad day for me: Ryszard Kapuscinski passed away in Warsaw yesterday.

He was an inspiration for a generation of aspiring journalists, myself included: something about his writing made me want desperately to be a journalist. He made flawless writing look easy, and journalism itself seem incredibly romantic. His bravado, his insouciance in taking crazed risks, was exhilarating. But it wasn’t all swashbuckle-and-dash: his reportage was also tender, suffused with understanding, even a kind of warmth, towards the people he wrote about, even – especially – the loathsome people he wrote about. The delicacy of his evocative passages could bring tears to your eyes, and how many journalists can claim to do that?

Kapuscinski brought something close to nobility to this sordid little profession of ours. In his hands, reporting became art. If you haven’t had the pleasure yet, you owe it to yourself to have a look at his books. (Starting with The Emperor, of course.)

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