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Journalists like Lyra McKee are a rare breed

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Lyra McKee: A journalist in the true sense of the word

Lyra McKee: A journalist in the true sense of the word

Lyra McKee: A journalist in the true sense of the word

Real journalists like Lyra McKee don't come along very often.

Run a search for 'journalist' jobs and a list of 'content creator' posts will crop up. The line between advertising and truth has vanished to all intents and purposes in the modern world.

Then along comes someone like Lyra who, four minutes before being shot dead, was using Twitter as a live news feed to publish an image of a rioting Derry. She captioned the picture: 'Derry tonight. Absolute madness.'

If the 29-year-old had just turned around and gone home at that point, she'd probably still be alive.

But just like the Sunday World's Martin O'Hagan and the Sunday Independent's Veronica Guerin before her, it wasn't in Lyra's nature to turn around.

'For the first time in your life, you will feel like you're good at something useful,' she wrote about her career choice in a letter to her sixteen-year-old self. 'You'll have found your calling.'

Confronting the difficult and dangerous was in Lyra McKee's DNA. Even the book she was due to have published next year - The Lost Boys - reads like a terrible prophesy of her own fate - with the benefit of hindsight. 'Eight boys went missing in Belfast between 1969 and 1975. These weren't victims of the IRA or the UVF; they weren't "disappeared" by the paramilitaries. These boys belong to a different category. They were indirect victims of the armed struggle, the people who vanish and are never found during a war, because the police and the judicial service have other priorities...The Lost Boys will be an investigation, but also a portrait of a place...at the first moment in time where it's become possible to write about them historically (as well as, alas, a moment where tensions are rising once again).' May she rest in peace.

Fingal Independent