For reasons many will understand, I do not often go to the Telegraph website. The awful news that drew me there today is that Marie Colvin, a brave, honest and resourceful journalist who made a name reporting from some of the ghastliest locations and circumstances, has been killed in Syria.
She was a seasoned Sunday Times war correspondent who refused to be deterred even when she lost her sight in one eye while reporting East Timor 10 years ago. I have occasionally been close to danger in my own career but never remotely to the extent Colvin took as part of her trade.
In television reports yesterday, which proved to be her last, she told of the agonies suffered by the civilians of Homs, expressed incredulity that the world should be standing by to let Assad get on with his murderous work and described the horrifying spectacle of witnessing a wounded baby die.
Her death inspired a perfectly decent tribute to Colvin at the Telegraph site, written by an individual for whom I certainly hold no brief. Among the comments was one from a blogger called Frank Fisher, who likes to be known as "the type of troublemaker journalism desperately needs". I originally posted his hostile remarks here but the Telegraph has chosen to block comments, so that his - as well as the others - is no longer visible. Accordingly, I will not give his views further currency.
The trashing of all journalists is favoured both by people with a lot of power and radicals opposed to people of power. I suppose Fisher sees himself in the second category.
But the courageous reporting of people like Marie Colvin is vital to any hope of preserving a fairly free society.
I have always felt that the good journalists do far outweighs the bad. But bashing the press, and those who work for it, is not only very popular just now. It has always been popular; Leveson and the phonehacking scandal have just made it more so.
Reporting involves, as I have suggested before, a professional quotidien that is a little like sitting in a cab at the taxi rank waiting for the next fare. The Terry Lloyd who was killed (by US forces) while covering the invasion of Iraq for ITN, not the only occasion he had risked his life as a reporter, was the same Terry Lloyd that Eric Cantona felt entitled to attack when bothered by him during a holiday after the famous kung-fu court case. Some of the best reporters are men and women who can write as compellingly about less momentous events or aspects of the way we live as about politics and conflict; I cling to the belief that most do so with a degree of integrity unrecognised by Fisher.
RIP Marie Colvin, and the French photographer Rémi Ochlik, who was also killed in Homs.