Podcast: The Last American Reporter Held in Syria

Every day, journalists place themselves in peril to bring people the news.  Austin Tice is a journalist who has been held hostage in Syria for the past five years.  On the eve of Austin’s 36th birthday and the fifth anniversary of his disappearance, we talked to his mother, Debra Tice.

 Episode 7: Summary

Austin Tice went to Syria in as a freelance journalist in 2012.  He was a Georgetown Law student, a former U.S. Marine Corps officer, and an Eagle Scout.  He was also one of the only Western journalists on the ground while the Syrian conflict was unfolding, and he made it his mission to report on the impact the conflict was having on civilians. On Aug. 14, 2012, three days after his 31st birthday, Austin Tice was taken captive as he was preparing to travel from Daraya, near Damascus, Syria, to Beirut, Lebanon. Diverse credible sources report that he is still alive.  His family and our government are still searching for him.

In this episode of The First Five, Gene Policinski talks to Austin’s mother Debra about the importance of keeping Austin’s disappearance in the public eye, and the goal that Austin risked his life for–bringing the public information they sorely need.

“Somebody has to go and be the messenger…we can’t allow that journalists [be] demonized, that journalists are named as the enemy.  We can’t allow that.  We can’t become complacent.  We have to say, at that moment, no.  This cannot be tolerated.”

–Debra Tice


Gene Policinski is the Chief Operating Officer of the Newseum Institute.


Debra Tice is the mother of missing American journalist Austin Tice.


To learn more about Austin Tice and read his award-winning journalism, visit the Austin Tice Family website.

Austin Tice’s family is collecting birthday greetings for him, which they hope to present him with when he is released from captivity. If you’d like to write Austin a birthday message, you can send one via email to HappyBirthdayAustinTice@gmail.com, or via mail to the following P.O. box:

Happy Birthday Austin Tice
5090 Richmond Ave. #31
Houstin, TX 77056

For more news coverage of Austin Tice’s disappearance, see this CBS “This Morning” report.

To learn more about the dangers journalists endure in the course of doing their jobs, please visit this searchable database that includes all the journalists recognized in the Newseum’s Journalists Memorial.



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