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Slain Journalist James Foley: "Awful Things Can Happen"

Marquette University

James Foley, a journalist and Marquette University alum, was executed Tuesday by the militant group Islamic State, about a year-and-a-half after being kidnapped while covering the turmoil in Syria.

It was the second time Foley was abducted while reporting from a war zone. He was held captive for nearly seven weeks in Libya in 2011. Foley talked about that experience with Lake Effect, soon after speaking at his alma mater:

"I definitely learned, that awful things can happen if you don't take precautions, and that risk-taking for the sake of risk-taking is foolish. And you're playing with your life and the lives of others," Foley said. "But I'm still excited to go into conflict zones, and try to cover them. And I think it's a close brotherhood and sisterhood of people that will support you, and it's fascinating, until I really know in my gut that I don't want to do it any more.​​"

Foley talked about his work and his philosophy at Marquette before he returned to war zone reporting in Syria:


Today, Marquette University issued this statement:

The Marquette community is deeply saddened by the death of alumnus and freelance journalist, James Foley, Arts ’96. We extend our heartfelt prayers and wishes for healing to James’ family and friends during this very difficult time. James, who majored in history at Marquette, had a heart for social justice and used his immense talents to tell the difficult stories in the hopes that they might make a difference in the world – a measure of his character for which we could not be prouder. Following his first capture in 2011, after he safely returned from Libya, James expressed in a letter to the Marquette community the power and strength he drew not only from his own prayer, but the prayers of his family and friends. As a community, we offer this prayer for peace.

Marquette officials announced that a vigil for Foley will be held on the campus next Wednesday.

Bonnie North
Bonnie joined WUWM in March 2006 as the Arts Producer of the locally produced weekday magazine program Lake Effect.