March 28, 1820

On this day in 1820, Sir William Howard Russell was born in Tallaght, County Dublin. Russell is considered one of the first modern war correspondents, though he is known to have despised the term. As a young reporter, Russell spent twenty-two months covering the Crimean War, which was one of the first wars to be documented extensively in both written reports and in photographs. Florence Nightingale acknowledged that it was Russell’s reports which inspired her to become involved with wartime nursing. During his coverage of the the Siege of Sevastopol, Russell coined the phrase “thin red line,” in reference to British troops. He retired as a battlefield correspondent in 1882, and was knighted in 1895.

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