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  1. ITV Report

Murdered journalist Lyra McKee 'a shining star of a new Northern Ireland'

The 29-year-old was shot dead during unrest in Londonderry on 18th April. Credit: Family photo

Friends and colleagues of murdered journalist, Lyra McKee, have said she was "a shining star of a new Northern Ireland".

The 29-year-old was shot dead during unrest in Londonderry on Thursday night.

Police say at this stage they believe her murder was carried about by the New IRA.

Her friend and publisher, Tina Calder, said Lyra was a journalist full of tenacity and empathy.

"She was so determined, nothing was going to ever stop her," said Tina.

"She was never going to be put in a box, she wasn't going to subscribe to traditional journalism because that's what people said you had to do.

"You saw this passion and dynamism about her...she was so excited by everything around her."

Everything could be investigated, everything had a story.

If there is an X Factor in journalism, she had it.

– Tina Calder, friend

Lyra was also an 'obsessive learner' and was never afraid to ask questions.

"She was brilliant at asking people who were maybe longer in the industry for advice, she wasn't afraid to admit that she didn't know something, which I loved about her," added Tina.

Lyra had been working on a new book, which was only months away from publication.

"Just last week she'd approved her cover, working on the final changes, the big green button was due to be pressed this month...it's so devastating.

"She really was a shining star of a new Northern Ireland."

Ms McKee also worked as an editor for California-based news site Media gazer, a trade publication covering the media industry.

In 2016, Forbes Magazine named Lyra one of their 30 under 30 in media. Credit: Family photo
  • A voice for NI's LGBT community

Lyra had recently moved to Londonderry to live with her partner.

In a recent tweet, she said: "Derry is a such a beautiful city. I've fallen in love with it over the past year, while falling in love with a woman who hails from it. Here's to better times ahead and saying goodbye to bombs and bullets once and for all."

Lyra said she had falling in love with Derry, and a woman who hailed from it. Credit: Lyra McKee/Twitter

Lyra was actively involved with The Rainbow Project and was due to attend an LGBT awareness event in the coming weeks.

Policy Manager of The Rainbow Project NI, Gavin Boyd, said: "The future was whatever she wanted it to be.

"She was someone that you heard long before you saw her because she was this tiny person with such a passion for the stories she wanted to tell and the voices she wanted to amplify.

"She had that many irons in the fire, that you never really knew what she was going to do next."

  • Louise Small reports: