Paul Conroy has been on the news in the United Kingdom for over a month now and yet we hardly know anything about the man. Why is that?
It doesn’t help that Google is washed out with recent stories. But then the media hasn’t exactly been forthcoming with a fully picture. So in their absence, here’s what a simple lunchtime search discovered.
For a start, you can find his freelance website here. It’s called ReflexTV. Not to be confused by the Belgium operation of the same name.
On which we can find his confirmation that from between 1980-1987 he was in the United Kingdom Armed Forces, specifically the Royal Artllery where he worked as a target acquisition/Communications operative.
So this places his date of birth as on or before 1964. In 1980 it was possible for 16 year old’s to join the army with their parents permission. However, he could NOT be younger. Making him at LEAST 48 years old. My guess would be around 50. Clearly from his accent, he is from the Liverpool / Merseyside area. Where is never mentioned, although the Liverpool Echo calls him “Liverpool born” (which covers a few areas).
He’s married and I’m suggesting his wife is a similar age, given his time in the Armed Forces and his current work, I suspect they met and married in the early to mid 1980’s. But again, there is hardly any information on this, so it’s pure speculation.
From his company bio
Paul Conroy is a seasoned freelance photographer/cameraman/editor with extensive experience in hostile environments. A broad range of experience in broadcast genres from documentary, current affairs to combat reporting.
Shortlisted for the 2011 ‘PRIX BAYEUX’ TV report along with Marie Colvin of the Sunday Times
Technically competent on all major camera and editing systems but specialised in HDV director/cameraman roles. Extensive network of connections in the Middle East, the Balkans, central Africa and Libya
Incidentally, Marie Colvin is the journalist (made famous by her eye patch) who, according to Conroy, was killed during the shelling that injured his left leg.
I took a look down Paul Conroy’s resume and came across a couple of interesting items.
Between 1995 and 1998 he was head of video production for “Advanced Acoustic Armaments“.
Sounds bad right? Well, maybe not. Because while it has a somewhat creepy name, it actually turns out to be the creation of KLF member Jim Cauty. Who bought an ex-military armored vehicle, strapped a very large PA system to it and went to various protests and festivals in order to have Tony Thorpe played records from the “DJ” turret.
If you want to know what Paul Conroy looked like back then, here he is on the actual website. Incidentally, the police took something of a dim view of the “Advanced Acoustic Armaments” vehicle and appear to have raided the whole operation. Although it appears Conroy wasn’t charged with anything, or even detained.
Before that job Conroy was actually working on the sound side of things. I guess he preferred the visual aspects more.
After his brief stint as a rebel activist with an armored vehicle stink Conroy appears to have settled down more than a bit and provided freelance cameraman / directing services for both the BBC Political Documentaries Unit and Channel 4. Although I’ve been unable to confirm that with any direct credits or so forth.
One thing I can clear up, the reason why Joss Stone appeared at his bedside for a happy photoshoot. It seems that she and Conroy go back to 2005. He has been her personal photographer and head of video.
In March 2011 he was in Libya reporting on Arab Spring for Ras Lanouf / BregaFreeland / Reuters.
April he was a cameraman for Sky TV “SOS Lampedusa”
From April to June 2011 he was with Marie Colvin working in Misrata as a photographer for Sunday Times.
From August to September 2011 her was covering the takeing of Zarwiya and the liberation of Tripoli, again for Sunday Times.
By October he was shooting “The making of Album 2” for Dave Stewart and Joss Stone.
But back in time in Sirt for the capture and death of Gaddafi. How did he know?
Since then he traveled to Syria with Marie Colvin and… well we kind of have an idea what happened next.
So in summary
What we have here is a guy
- who started a military career and changed his mind,
- moved into acoustic work and changed his mind,
- joined an activist style group, changed his mind on that,
- then miraculasly managed to get some paying jobs in the BBC Political department and the (award winning at the time) Channel 4 news department,
- Had his Libya items covered in the Liverpool Echo (a local paper that normally covers lost cat stories)
- Then onto the Sunday Times
- Several award nominations
- Three major world events that he turns up for, two where he captures the news, one where he IS the news
- Plus Joss Stone
What’s not to understand….
I’m absolutely sure, this is not the last we’ll here from him.