Rescuers help a pregnant woman in Mariupol; photo by Evgeniy Maloletka at Associated Press

Trapped in Mariupol

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“We drove all night and we arrived right before the bombs started to fall.”

Mstyslav Chernov and two other journalists from Associated Press arrived in Mariupol hours before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and became the only international journalists to remain in the city during its siege. Their reporting allowed the world to see horrors that otherwise would not have been captured. Chernov and his colleagues’ coverage of Mariupol, and their other stories documenting the Russian invasion of Ukraine won The Associated Press the 2023 Public Service Award

In this episode, Chernov searches for hope as he considers what it means to bear witness as a journalist. While recounting harrowing episodes from Mariupol, Chernov describes the determination of the Ukrainians to ensure that the journalists continued reporting on the Russian air and land assault on civilians to show the world what was happening. Communications were cut and Chernov saw that for the people of Ukraine, information could be “more important than food and water.” 

Chernov is in conversation with Pulitzer Board member Nancy Barnes of The Boston Globe. They met to record this episode in the AP headquarters in New York the day after Chernov picked up a DuPont award for his AP/PBS Frontline film, 20 Days in Mariupol, based on the AP reporting. The film went on to win the 2024 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. 

Along with Chernov, The Associated Press team that won the 2023 Public Service Award included Evgeniy Maloletka, Vasilisa Stepanenko, and Lori Hinnant. You can read their award winning portfolio of work here.

The Associated Press Photography Staff, including Rodrigo Abd, Bernat Armangué, Felipe Dana, Vadim Ghirda, Evgeniy Maloletka, and Emilio Morenatti, also won the 2023 Breaking News Photography Award for its coverage of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Learn more about our guests in this episode:

Mstyslav Chernov is a Ukrainian war correspondent, filmmaker, photographer, and novelist known for his coverage of the Ukrainian revolution, the Russian invasion in Ukraine, the war in Iraq, Syria, and Nagorno-Karabakh, and Afghanistan under Taliban rule after U.S. withdrawal, as well as for his art installations and exhibitions. Chernov is an Associated Press journalist and the President of the Ukrainian Association of Professional Photographers (UAPP). His film, “20 Days in Mariupol,” won the 2024 Academy Award® for Best Documentary Feature Film.

Nancy Barnes is the editor of “The Boston Globe.” Prior to joining the Globe, she was the SVP/News & Editorial Director of NPR from 2018 through 2022, where she led a team of more than 500 journalists and newsroom executives and oversaw NPR’s journalism across platforms and around the world. As SVP/News for Hearst Texas newspapers and Executive Editor of “The Houston Chronicle” from 2013 to 2018, the paper won its first Pulitzer Prize and earned three Pulitzer Finalist nods. As SVP & Editor of the “Minneapolis Star Tribune” from 2007 to 2013, she led the newsroom to win multiple national awards, including a Pulitzer Prize in local reporting. She is a past president of the News Leaders Association and a member of the Pulitzer Prize Board. A native of Massachusetts, she has an undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia and an MBA from the University of North Carolina.

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