We have so few folks who are crazy enough to be war reporters (this piece raises some good questions) and far too few news organizations funding them. When we lose one or two or three as we have over the past few days, it is a huge loss. Samid Khan Bahadarzai in Afghanistan, Marie Colvin and Remi Ochlik in Homs, Anthony Shadid last week, Gilles Jacquier last month, and so on. We already have selective enough coverage of international events with news organizations cutting foreign bureaus and travel budgets. Losing these sharp people means that the folks who do get parachuted in will just not have as good perspectives.
This is so crucial since most oversight works via "fire alarm systems" where politicians respond to bad policy or bad implementation when they learn of problems--when someone calls the media and the media then shines a bright light.