Journalist Lyra McKee has been shot dead in Derry, Northern Ireland. The 29-year-old was killed during riots and clashes with police on Thursday night. She was hit by a bullet fired by a police officer who had opened fire on the crowd. Her death has sparked an outpouring of grief from across tge world.
McKee had only recently turned her back on a prominent role at The Atlantic, where she had made her name with insightful, hard-hitting pieces about Brexit and the Middle East. She is also the co-founder of CXBlogs, an online site which helps people make their own publications for digital platforms. Soonhe country and internationally, as well as condemnation from politicians and journalists alike.
Mary Fitzgerald is a writer and journalist who has covered Northern Ireland extensively. She says it’s hard to underestimate McKee’s impact on the country.
“She was part of that generation that came out in 2011, 2012, really after the flag protests, not just as young journalists but also young woman journalists, who have kind of turned the game upside down. They’ve changed the game of journalism here.”
For Fitzgerald, McKee’s voice is still resonant in its contrast to so many in Northern Ireland – a confident, young woman who would come up and talk to her at events when other young people didn’t even want to look her in the eye. “She had already built such a strong reputation as an incredibly talented journalist, but also as someone who was determined to be part of that change.”
“She had already built such a strong reputation as an incredibly talented journalist, but also as someone who was determined to be part of that change.” – Mary Fitzgerald
McKee wrote stories about the LGBT community and about the impact of Brexit on young people in NI. “She was so passionate,” Fitzgerald said, “and she had a deep understanding of what it meant to be someone who felt like an outsider.”
Her work covered all sides of the political divide. “She was always very committed to justice,” says Fitzgerald, “but she also just wanted to get better.” She was “so anxious for her work to be perfect. Everything about her was just so meticulous this past year, she worked so hard on everything that she did and wnated it to be the best that it could possibly be,”
McKee’s death has prompted an outpouring of emotion and grief from across Northern Ireland. A vigil was held in Belfast on Thursday night, with hundreds of people gathering to pay their respects. People have been sharing pictures of McKee online, celebrating her life and the impact she had on others around her.