Campaign launched to create the UK’s first memorial dedicated to all journalists reporting from the frontline

A campaign has been launched to establish the UK’s first memorial dedicated to all journalists who have lost their lives while reporting from conflict zones. ‘On the Record: The National Memorial to Journalists on the Frontline’ aims to honour bravery and sacrifice in pursuit of the truth by creating a permanent place of remembrance, highlighting the crucial role journalism plays in upholding democracy and human rights to future generations.

Since 2000, 16 UK journalists have been killed in the course of their reporting. In 2023 alone, 128 journalists and media workers were killed worldwide, according to the International Federation of Journalists. This initiative, announced to coincide with World Press Freedom Day, is spearheaded by Press Gazette, Andrew Baud of communications agency TALA, and a steering group of journalists drawn from across the sector.

The proposed location for the UK’s first memorial to journalists killed on the frontline is the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire, the Nation’s year-round place to remember. A sculptor will be commissioned to create a striking, poignant, and enduring tribute to honour the dedication and sacrifice of all journalists who have been killed while reporting from conflict zones around the world.

‘On The Record’ will provide families, colleagues and friends with a space for reflection and remembrance, and it will also be available to school children, learning groups, special interest organisations, and members of the public who want to deepen their understanding of the challenges faced by reporters in conflict zones and the sacrifices that they routinely make to share stories from the frontline.

In the future, the memorial will be complemented by a digital database containing the stories of fallen UK-based journalists, preserving their legacy, and ensuring their own achievements and experiences are put ‘on the record’ for perpetuity. Families and colleagues will be encouraged to contribute to the online record.

The ‘On The Record’ campaign is led by Press Gazette and communications leader Andrew Baud, and the project is being steered by media representatives including Caroline Wyatt, Tom Newton Dunn, Richard Sambrook, Jon Williams, James Jordan, Simon Bucks, Jason Keen, Kaija Larke, Chris Webb and Phil Bloomfield. Organisers are now seeking a wide range of partners to assist with the development of the project, helping with various tasks including fundraising, memorial design, database research, and curating the stories of individual journalists.

Andrew Baud has worked closely with the National Memorial Arboretum for over 16 years. “Some time ago I received a letter from a member of the public who asked why there wasn’t a memorial to war correspondents at the Arboretum. Having worked with journalists for my whole professional life and understanding the importance of remembering those who have sacrificed their lives for the greater good, the creation of a memorial to journalists reporting from the frontline has become a personal mission for me.

“We are creating this tribute in partnership with Press Gazette and by inviting support from journalists, media organisations and colleagues and families of the fallen. Together we intend to commemorate the invaluable contributions of journalists and war correspondents, and we believe that they should be acknowledged within the tapestry of remembrance at the National Memorial Arboretum.”

Press Gazette Editor-in-Chief, Dominic Ponsford, said, “Journalists risk their lives every day to shine a light into some of the darkest corners of the world. This memorial should serve as a reminder of the importance of the work we all do in the news business. Press Gazette is proud to be involved in this project and we look forward to collating the most comprehensive list ever compiled of UK journalists killed doing their jobs.”

The proposed location, the National Memorial Arboretum, is the Nation’s year-round place to remember those who have served and sacrificed for the Nation, making it a fitting location for a tribute to war correspondents. Their stories are told through over 400 memorials to Armed Forces, Emergency Services and civilian organisations set within 150 acres of gardens, grounds and woodlands, with the iconic Armed Forces Memorial at its heart.