PhotojournalistMalcolm Browne

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An Associated Press photojournalist, Browne was the only western photographer to cover the June 1963 protests against the South Vietnamese government. One series of shots he took on June 11 was particularly shocking: Buddhist monk Thich Quang Duc poured gasoline over himself, sat down in the middle of the street in Saigon, and struck a match. The monk didn’t move, or scream, and Brown’s horrifying photos appeared on the front pages of newspapers all over the world. That caused U.S. President John F. Kennedy to reevaluate his policy for the country, and the war being fought there. “No news picture in history has generated so much emotion as that one,” Kennedy said. The monk’s tactic was even more effective locally: that November, South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem was overthrown and killed, along with his brother (who served as National Security Chief). Browne’s photo “put the Vietnam War on the front page more than anything else that happened before that,” says Hal Buell, an AP deputy photo editor at the time. And “that’s where the story stayed for the next 10 years or more.” In 1964, Browne shared the Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting with David Halberstam of the New York Times for their Vietnam war coverage. Browne died on August 27 from complications of Parkinson’s disease. He was 81.

From This is True for 2 September 2012