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Associated Press
FILE - In this April 7, 2005 file photo, Associated Press photographer Anja Niedringhaus poses in Rome. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong, File)

Media group names award after AP’s Niedringhaus

– A women’s media group has created a new award for courage honoring Associated Press photographer Anja Niedringhaus, who was killed on assignment in Afghanistan, the group announced Tuesday.

The International Women’s Media Foundation said the award will be given out every year to a female photojournalist whose work “follows in the footsteps of Anja Niedringhaus.”

It is funded with a $1 million gift from the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, a private family foundation that seeks to improve the lives of the world’s poor and marginalized – often the subjects of Niedringhaus’ photographs.

“It is heartening to see Anja’s memory honored in a way that will recognize the work of future generations of female photojournalists,” said Santiago Lyon, AP’s director of photography. “She set a wonderful example to so many in our profession through her compassion, courage and resilience.”

Niedringhaus started her career as a freelance photographer when she was 16, working for a local newspaper in her native Germany. Her coverage of the fall of the Berlin Wall led to a staff position with the European Pressphoto Agency in 1990. She was based in Frankfurt, Sarajevo and Moscow, and spent much of her time covering the brutal conflict in the former Yugoslavia.

She joined the AP in 2002 and worked throughout the Middle East as well as Afghanistan and Pakistan. She was part of the AP team that won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Photography for coverage of Iraq, among many journalistic awards and honors for her work. In 2006-07, she studied at Harvard University under a Nieman Fellowship. The Buffett Foundation provided the funds for her to attend the fellowship.

“I considered Anja a friend who represented the best in photojournalism. By creating this award, we ensure her spirit lives on,” Howard G. Buffett said in a statement. “Anja’s voice may be silenced but our hope is that other voices who share her commitment become louder.”

Niedringhaus was killed April 4 in the eastern city of Khost, when an Afghan police unit commander walked up to the car where she was sitting in the back seat and opened fire. Reporter Kathy Gannon, who was with her, was wounded in the attack.