Did I get it right? I will leave you to decide.
There are perhaps one or two things I might do differently today given the technology available.
For instance, having found the house, if I had had a mobile phone I would probably call the newsdesk to discuss the issue of knocking on the door and potentially informing the couple of the death of their son. That is probably a decision an editor should make, not a reporter on the ground.
I would have called the FCO from the scene as well to establish whether they could get someone round to the house quickly – probably a police officer.
However, it was not a straight choice between me or the FCO telling them. If I had not knocked on the door, then reporters from the nationals who were not far behind me would certainly have done so.
I remained in touch with the family for a long time afterwards. They invited me to attend their son’s memorial service – he was buried in Bosnia. We also talked to people out in Bosnia to try to find out more about the circumstances of their son’s death and what he had been doing there.
This raises some fairly fundamental questions about journalistic ethics. If the end result was that I assisted them, does it matter that my motivation was to get a story for my paper? Or does my motive negate what good I was able to do?
They were pretty philosophical about that themselves, and said they accepted I was working for a paper, but as long as I got the facts right, that is what mattered.
I was a reporter for about 10 years before I went onto the newsdesk and eventually into night-time newspaper production, and in that time I did many, many doorknocks in all manner of difficult circumstances.
This remains the one that gives me the most pause for thought. I hope this has shown that journalism often is not an easy job. You do things other people would not dream of, to tell a story. You make decisions in a very short space of time, always conscious of deadlines and the threat of competitors. You try to get things right, and do the least possible harm along the way.
Thanks for the comments many of you have left here, or on Twitter. I’ve had a lot of requests from readers to do another. I will try to come up with something suitably intriguing from my back-catalogue of stories. I’ll let you know when I do.
Thanks for taking part.