TIMES STAFFERS MISSING: The New York Times said Wednesday afternoon that four of its journalists have gone missing in Libya. The journalists are Anthony Shadid, Stephen Farrell, Tyler Hicks and Lynsey Addario. They were last heard from on Tuesday morning.


“They were last seen (by other journalists) covering the rebel flight from Ajdabiya toward Benghazi,” e-mailed Times executive Bill Keller. “There’s some speculation that they were stopped at a Libyan government checkpoint, but we don’t know yet. We believe they were together.”


In a separate statement, Keller said, “We have talked with officials of the Libyan government in Tripoli, and they tell us they are attempting to ascertain the whereabouts of our journalists. We are grateful to the Libyan government for their assurance that if our journalists were captured they would be released promptly and unharmed.”


Shadid is a celebrated Middle East correspondent and has been with the Times since September 2009 when he left The Washington Post. He’s won two Pulitzers and when the Times hired him Keller described the move as an “extraordinary opportunity.” Farrell is a reporter and videographer and in 2009 was kidnapped by the Taliban for four days. Hicks, a photographer for the paper, told the Times’ Lens Blog one week ago, “You never are relaxed and you never have a moment to feel at ease when you’re out working,” referring to working in Libya. Addario, another photographer, was a MacArthur fellow in 2009 and was kidnapped in Iraq in 2004.


A week ago, Muammar Gadhafi’s security forces detained and beat up three members of a BBC news team before releasing them. Likewise, a correspondent for The Guardian newspaper was detained last week before his eventual release.


“Their families and their colleagues at the Times are anxiously seeking information about their situation, and praying that they are safe,” Keller said. – John Koblin

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