Fallen Norwegian Reporter Honored at Newseum in DC

To the right on the second row above Carsten Thomassen you can see a b&w image of freelance journalist Helge Hummelvoll. He was killed in southern Sudan (1992), while on assignment for Norwegian Church Aid. Photo by Ole Morten Orset.

Carsten Thomassen’s name added to slain journalists memorial in Washington D.C.

The journalism and free speech museum, called the Newseum, has rededicated its Journalism Memorial with an additional 77 journalists, who were killed while on assignment in the past several years. The ceremony took place on March 30 in Washington D.C.

The memorial honors a total of 1,913 reporters, photographers, broadcasters and executives from around the world dating back to 1837. It began in 1996 with less than 1,000 names. Alberto Ibargüen, chairman of the Newseum, delivered the keynote speech and Chris Wells, senior vice president of the Freedom Forum, read the names of the 77 people.

Carsten Thomassen (38) was a respected Norwegian journalist, political commentator and war correspondent for the Norwegian daily newspaper Dagbladet. He was killed in the 2008 Kabul Serena Hotel attack in Kabul, Afghanistan.

On 14 January 2008, Thomassen was covering Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre’s visit to Kabul. Støre and his entourage were staying in the Serena Hotel, as were several foreign reporters and diplomats. While Thomassen was waiting to meet Støre in the lobby, terrorists stormed the hotel. The Norwegian journalist was shot, along with several others.

“I am appalled by the killing of Carsten Thomassen,” Støre said after the attack, which he survived after being rushed into a bomb shelter at the hotel.

Støre called Thomassen “one of Norway’s most outstanding journalists” noting that he “accompanied me on many trips, and until the end he was dedicated to his work as a journalist.” Støre said: “All of us who were together with Carsten in Kabul on January 14 were filled with grief and despair”. Thomassen, who had been on assignment in Afghanistan earlier as well, left behind a partner and two children.

More than 500,000 visitors have passed by the Journalists Memorial since the Newseum reopened in its new home in April 2008.

This article was originally published in the Norwegian American Weekly. 

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The Norwegian American is North America's oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, published since May 17, 1889.