Pioneer down: Renowned former Houston photojournalist/war correspondent dies
Margaret Moth — a groundbreaking, fearless war-zone photojournalist who worked at Houston's KHOU 11 in the 1980s — died today after a three-year-battle with colon cancer.
Moth enjoyed her greatest successes at CNN, where she toted a camera through some of the most intense conflicts of the last 20 years, gaining great respect for never hesitating to put herself in harm's way if that's what it took to get the story. Moth survived being shot in the face in Sarajevo (as soon as she recovered and was able to travel, she returned to that country to shoot more footage from the Bosnia War).
Getting Hepatitis C from a blood transfusion necessary because of the shooting — and needing to go through multiple reconstructive surgeries — did not stop Moth's commitment to covering the world's bloodiest conflicts either, according to a CNN story.
Moth was never well known to the public. She did all her work behind the camera. But CNN's chief international correspondent — on-camera star Christiane Amanpour — credits Moth with being the one who inspired her to keep pursuing stories in danger zones. The usually-unflappable Amanpour cried on camera while discussing Moth for a CNN documentary last spring.
After having been up close with some many wars, Moth often remarked on how strange it was to think that cancer would be her deathblow.
"Dying of cancer, I would have liked to think that I would have gone out with a little more flair," Moth said in the CNN documentary, laughing.
Moth was 59 when she passed away today in Rochester, Minn.
Many people had long since forgotten her Houston connection. But while Moth is well known for being the first female TV photojournalist ever in her native New Zealand, the Bayou City is where she found her first big break in the United States. She left New Zealand to work at KHOU for almost seven years, before departing for CNN in 1990. You can argue that Moth is one of the best journalists to ever come out of Houston.
Still, KHOU does not have a word on its Web site about Moth on the day of her death.