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Jon Snow, the legend, 'we will miss you'

Jon Snow former Channel Four news presenter on May 24, 2012 in Manchester, England [Michael Steele/Getty Images]
Jon Snow former Channel Four news presenter on May 24, 2012 in Manchester, England [Michael Steele/Getty Images]

"I thank everyone who trusted me to write, publish and cover their stories around the world." "To those who watch me from home and in front of their screens, it has been my pleasure to bring you the news on a daily basis."

With those emotional words, prominent British journalist and TV presenter-legend Jon Snow ended his last episode on Channel 4, after a career that lasted more than 32 years.

Snow was born on 28 September 1947 and attended Ardingly School, where his father worked as the principal of that school. He received a choral scholarship from Winchester Cathedral, and at the age of eighteen, he spent a year volunteering teaching in Uganda.

He was expelled from his law studies at the University of Liverpool for his role in an anti-apartheid student protest in 1970. Snow considers this episode "the absolute turning point in his life".

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In 1973, Jon Snow joined LBC, before leaving it to join ITN, where he worked for eight years before becoming a diplomatic editor in Washington in 1984. In 1989, Snow took his first step toward the most important station in his life when he returned to London to become the chief presenter for Channel 4 News, a role he would serve for 32 years.

Jon Snow, who was famous for the strange colours of his ties, gave a new colour to presenting television programs and field news coverage. His tact, great story-telling skills from their sources, and his remarkable strength in facing guests, whatever their position or official post, earned him widespread respect and admiration. His remarkable humanity in covering tragedies and wars will always be remembered.

"He was an extraordinary human being. He was there at the most wonderful moments of history. Everyone loved him whether the public or politicians who disagreed with him or were angry with him at some point. Everyone loved him because he brought empathy and humanity to his reporting wherever he went."

This is how Krishnan Guru Murthy, a member of the Channel 4 news reporting team described him, and that was no exaggeration of the truth. Jon Snow had prominent news coverage that was primarily humanistic; the most prominent were the fall of the Berlin Wall, the release of Nelson Mandela, and the earthquake in Haiti, and perhaps the most prominent of them was his coverage of the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip in 2014.

"I feel my way around the place through this dense maze of children's wards on the second and third floors of the amazing Shifa Hospital in Gaza. This is the place where saints are born and where angels die. The saints here in Gaza are the doctors who came from all over the world to deal with the consequences of the bloody war while angels are the innocent children so crushed by a battle that it is too difficult for them to survive."

These words were a part of an unusual report broadcast by Jon Snow on his Channel 4 program during the war on Gaza. The report was one of several other reports on the Israeli war against the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip in 2014. The common factor in all of these reports is Snow's commitment to the highest standards of media professionalism in his coverage while adding a human glimpse that he never missed in covering news and tragedies like this.

Being famous is difficult. Being famous, successful, and a legend in your field, where everyone wishes to become like you and reach what you have reached, and then maintain your humility with those around you and caring for the work team and your colleagues is truly remarkable. This is an achievement that only someone like Jon Snow can attain.

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"Jon Snow is the star who makes everyone around him feel like he/she is the best and most important person in the room. He really inspires us," said Minnie Stephenson, a Channel 4 reporter, in a tweet on her Twitter account.

And this is precisely what Jon Snow did during his last episode. The man thanked all his colleagues in the work team and said: "Without you, I would not have got where I am. This is your success and it is all thanks to you."

Truth be told, on a personal level, I learned from Jon Snow and will continue to learn a lot from him, and if we may say that there is a school in journalism from which we learn, study its methods, and pass it on to new generations of journalists; such a school is called Jon Snow.

We will miss you a lot John.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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