Journalist Matthew Power Dies On Assignment At Age 39

He was on assignment for Men's Journal for a story about an explorer who's walking the length of the Nile. Power was walking with him and it's thought he succumbed to heatstroke and exhaustion.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

We got news this week of two journalists who died while collecting the stories that make up our lives. Both deaths were tragic. Nils Horner, a veteran Swedish radio reporter, was shot dead on a busy street in Kabul, Afghanistan.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And a continent away, in rural Uganda, journalist Matthew Power succumbed, apparently, to heat stroke at the age of 39, for a story he was following - a British explorer who's walking the length of the Nile.

MONTAGNE: His stories usually focused on distinct individuals attempting extraordinary things.

GREENE: And he was willing to join them in what they were doing. Matthew Power explained that thinking in a podcast interview with the journalism website LongForm.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

MATTHEW POWER: And this is, in a lot of ways, probably why I became a writer, why I got into this stuff in the first place - is because, like, I wanted to have the kind of life that I, you know, not to be the story, exactly, but I wanted to experience the sort of limits of things.

GREENE: For Harper's magazine, where he was a contributing editor, Power joined a crew of anarchists floating down the Mississippi on a homemade raft.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

POWER: There's no way to be, like, a neutral observer on a raft because you're all sort of on it together. You're part of it. You can't step to the side and pare your nails and be like, you know, making an objective study of the raft anarchists. And that seemed to be the best way to handle it, was to just give in and be a character.

MONTAGNE: One of Power's last stories was for Outside magazine. It was about the murder of a Costa Rican conservationist, a protector of sea turtles. And as much as his stories were about characters, they were also about place.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

POWER: The advice that I've always given to young writers who are starting out and trying to figure out how to get to do this kind of stuff - and I think it still applies, even in the sort of atomized, fragmented media landscape that we live in - is to go to somewhere interesting.

MONTAGNE: Journalist Matthew Power died on Monday in Uganda.

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