James Foley In 2011: No Story Is Worth Your Life

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This November 2012 file photo shows missing journalist James Foley while covering the civil war in  Syria. (freejamesfoley.org via AP)
This November 2012 file photo shows missing journalist James Foley while covering the civil war in Syria. (freejamesfoley.org via AP)

Shortly after New Hampshire native and freelance journalist James Foley was released from six weeks of captivity in Libya in 2011, he returned to where he first dedicated his life to journalism: Northwestern University’s Medill School in Chicago.

Foley gave a talk to students in which he said no story is worth the ultimate sacrifice.

“It’s not worth your life, no matter what romantic ideal you have, no matter what ethic you think you have,” Foley told the students. “It’s never worth it.”

But ultimately Foley did give his life.

On Wednesday the U.S. government confirmed the authenticity of a video released by Islamic State militants showing the 40-year-old Foley being beheaded.

The militants said the murder of the journalist, almost two years after his capture in Syria, was in retribution for U.S. air strikes in Iraq.

For more on Foley as a journalist and a person, we spoke with Ellen Shearer, one of his professors from Medill. Listen to our full interview with Shearer above, and watch Foley’s full Medill appearance below.