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Sunday Times put Marie Colvin’s final report from Syria outside paywall

By Hamish Mackay

February 23, 2012 | 3 min read

The Sunday Times has responded to the outpouring of tweets following the death of its foreign correspondent, Marie Colvin, in Syria by putting her final report for the paper outside of its paywall.

Gordon Macmillan, writing on The Wall media website yesterday, observed: ”Unlike a metered paywall The Times/Sunday Times could initially do nothing about the story as rival titles around the world wrote up the tragic story and enjoyed the traffic that came with it as people tweeted tributes and shared links.

“Many were sharing her reports as her name trended worldwide on Twitter. It was a smart decision to get some content outside of the paywall, but it does again show the benefits of a social media, rather than an anti-social media, paywall

“Although it [Sunday Times] released the story to the wider world it missed hours of traffic and attention by the time that it did this later this afternoon.”

Added Macmillan: “It is amazing how well the Telegraph has done out of this story as put together as a package of content. It has three of the top search results on Google and it is the lead story on the Colvin trending page.”

US-born Colvin and French photo-journalist, Remi Ochlik, were killed in the Syrian city of Homs this morning when shells hit a makeshift media centre in the Baba Amr area. Colvin was the only British newspaper reporter in Homs.

British photographer, Paul Conroy, suffered serious leg injuries in the same incident, and the Sunday Times is trying to get him out of Syria along with Colvin's body.

Conroy, who lives in Devon, is a freelance cameraman and stills photographer who has worked for the BBC and Channel 4.

He has been shortlisted for several prestigious awards along with Colvin.

Rami al-Sayed, who broadcast a live video stream from Homs used by world media, was killed on Tuesday.

Western journalists have mostly been barred from Syria since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began last March.

However, as BBC News reported: “Increasingly, they have risked entering the country undercover, helped by networks of activists, to report from flashpoints.”

Last month, the French television journalist, Gilles Jacquier, was killed in Homs while visiting the city on a government-organised trip.

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