Pulitzer Prize Winning Vietnam War Reporter Malcolm Browne Dies

Browne Monk

In 1963 a young Associated Press reporter took a photograph in Vietnam which would trigger a series of world changing events. That man was Malcolm Browne who passed away this week at the age of 81 due to complications from Parkinson’s disease.

Browne won the Pulitzer Prize in 1964 for his reporting of the Vietnam War, but it wasn’t his reporting from this war which would last through the ages, it was a single photograph he took of a monk who had set himself on fire as a protest against the Vietnamese government. The photos he took of the event were seen on newspapers around the world and had such an effect on President John F. Kennedy that he ordered a re-evaluation of the United States Vietnam policy at the time.

Hal Buell, a deputy photo editor in New York City at the time, said, “That picture put the Vietnam War on the front page more than anything else that happened before that. That’s where the story stayed for the next 10 years or more.”

While there were many defining photographs and stories to come from that tragic war, Browne’s was one of the first and one of the few to have a lasting impact on those who see it almost 50 years later.

Browne’s began his lengthy career in journalism when he was drafted during the Korean War. During his time of service he was assigned to the Pacific edition of the Stars and Stripes. It was soon afterwards that he would begin working for AP; however, most of his career was spent with The New York Times where he worked for nearly 30 years.

Browne was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2000 and complications arising from the disease led to his death late Monday night.

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