Home UK ‘Brave’ reporter covered her struggle of growing up gay in Belfast

‘Brave’ reporter covered her struggle of growing up gay in Belfast

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Lyra McKee has been described as a journalist of courage, style and integrity – traits that saw her take to the streets on Thursday night to witness the unrest in Londonderry.

Shortly after tweeting a photo of the disturbances in Creggan, she was fatally shot by a gunman believed to be part of the New IRA, a dissident republican group.

Born and raised in Belfast, she spent her early years living on Cliftonville Road – an area of the city that saw a large number of casualties during the Troubles.

Police believe New IRA behind murder

As a rising star in journalism, she extensively covered the Northern Irish conflict and its legacy.

But she rose to prominence following a 2014 blog called Letter To My 14-Year-Old Self in which she spoke about the struggle of growing up gay in Belfast. It was later turned into a short film.

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In the years that followed, she became a published author with Angels With Blue Faces – a non-fiction novella about the cold case murder of the Rev Robert Bradford, the MP for South Belfast.

hijacked vehicles one fire in Creggan, Londonderry. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday April 18, 2019. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire
'Masked gunman fired indiscriminately'

In 2016, Forbes Magazine named her one of their "30 under 30 in media".

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The 29-year-old recently signed a two-book deal with Faber & Faber, and the first book, The Lost Boys, was due for release next year.

It is understood Ms McKee had recently moved to Derry to live with her partner while continuing her role as an editor for the California-based news site Mediagazer.

The scene of unrest in Creggan, Londonderry. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday April 18, 2019. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Image: The scene of unrest in Creggan

Michelle Stanistreet, National Union of Journalists (NUJ) general secretary, said Ms McKee was one of the most promising journalists in Northern Ireland.

She said: "A young, vibrant life has been destroyed in a senseless act of violence.

"A bright light has been quenched and that plunges all of us in to darkness."

A PSNI officer conducts a search after shots where reportedly fired in Creggan, Londonderry. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday April 18, 2019. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire
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