Ukrainian Photojournalists to Receive Lovejoy Award for Courage in Journalism

Announcements6 MIN READ

Their coverage of the atrocities in Mariupol “defines courage”

In this photo taken by Lovejoy Award Winner Mstyslav Chernov, Mariana Vishegirskaya stands outside a maternity hospital that was damaged by shelling in Mariupol, Ukraine, March 9, 2022. (AP Photo/Mstyslav Chernov, File)
By Laura Meader
September 29, 2022

In its continuing efforts to recognize individuals who put themselves at personal risk for the sake of truth-telling, Colby College will honor two Ukrainians with the 2022 Elijah Parish Lovejoy Award for Courage in Journalism.

Mstyslav Chernov, a visual journalist and writer, and photojournalist Evgeniy Maloletka are being recognized for exceptional bravery covering the Russian invasion of Ukraine, specifically in Mariupol, for the Associated Press. They will receive the award Friday, Oct. 14 at 4 p.m. The annual event will take place in Lorimer Chapel on Colby’s campus and is free and open to the public.

“Just as Elijah Lovejoy risked his life to expose atrocities, Mstyslav Chernov and Evgeniy Maloletka knew that showing the world what was happening in Mariupol was a cause worthy of the ultimate sacrifice,” said President David A. Greene. “Their selflessness in the face of extreme danger comes through in every photograph, video, and personal account of the Russian invasion and will forever be part of the history of this war. We are honored to have their names and their work associated with the Lovejoy Award.” 

Chernov is a photographer, photojournalist, filmmaker, war correspondent, and novelist who has covered conflicts in Ukraine, Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Maloletka is a freelance photojournalist who has documented the Ukrainian revolution and conflicts in Crimea and eastern Ukraine.

Last March they embedded themselves in Mariupol hours before the Russian invasion began. For 20 days they remained to document the atrocities as they unfolded. Chernov’s AP article, “20 days in Mariupol: the team that documented the city’s agony,” recounts their experience.

Russia Ukraine War Mariupol First Person
A woman holds a child in an improvised bomb shelter in Mariupol, Ukraine, March 7, 2022. (AP Photo/Mstyslav Chernov)

Since 1952 Colby has presented the Lovejoy Award to contemporary journalists around the globe. The award is named for Lovejoy, valedictorian for Colby’s Class of 1826, whose anti-slavery editorials published in the St. Louis Observer cost him his life. Following his murder by a mob in 1837, John Quincy Adams called Lovejoy America’s first martyr to freedom of the press.

“Like every year, the committee reviewed exceptional journalism to select the Lovejoy Award winner, but the committee quickly realized the work of Mstyslav Chernov and Evgeniy Maloletka stood above the rest,” said Lovejoy Selection Committee chair Martin Kaiser, editor and senior vice president, retired, of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and now on the faculty at the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism.  

“Their photography, Chernov’s first-person account from inside Mariupol, and their willingness to stay in Mariupol when other journalists had left—to report the story to the world through horrifying photos—defines courage. They knew if they left Mariupol, there would be no one to document the atrocities and destruction. They brought the world’s attention to Mariupol.” 

Ukraine Maternity Hospital Airstrike
A woman walks outside a maternity hospital that was damaged by shelling in Mariupol, Ukraine, March 9, 2022. An Associated Press team of journalists was in Mariupol the day of the airstrike and raced to the scene. Their images prompted a massive Russian misinformation campaign that continues to this day. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka, File)

The presentation of the Lovejoy Award will include a discussion of the winners’ work with Senior Vice President and Head of Standards for the NBC Universal News Group Brian Carovillano ’95, former vice president, news, at the AP who oversaw Chernov and Maloletka’s recent work there, and Ron Nixon, vice president, news, and head of investigations, enterprise, partnerships, and grants at the Associated Press. President Greene will offer remarks and present the awards.

Photojournalism par excellence

Chernov and Maloletka are the first photographers to receive the Lovejoy Award, joining a cohort of exceptional journalists, writers, and editors. The Lovejoy Committee is honored, Kaiser said, “to recognize photography in the tradition of Elijah Parish Lovejoy.” 

Mstyslav Chernov

Chernov, an Associated Press journalist wounded several times while working in conflict zones, has covered Ukraine extensively, including the country’s 2014 Revolution of Dignity and the war in Donbas. He also covered the July 2014 downing of Malaysian Airlines flight 17, for which he won two Royal Television Society awards.

His other accolades include the Georgy Gongadze Prize, ICFJ Knight awards, and the DW Freedom of Speech Award. He has been nominated for a Livingston Award for covering the civil unrest in Belarus in 2021 and a Rory Peck Award for his coverage of Iraq’s Battle of Mosul. Multiple news outlets worldwide, including CNN, the BBC, the New York Times, and Washington Post, have published and aired his work.

President of the Ukrainian Association of Professional Photographers, Chernov has also produced diverse photography exhibitions, including The Dreaming House and The Media Machine. In 2013 and 2015 he was named Ukrainian Photographer of the Year.

Maloletka is originally from Berdyansk, a city in Ukraine’s southeastern Zaporizhzhia region, where the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant is currently under Russian control. He has covered the Ukrainian revolution since the Euromaidan revolution in 2013 and now concentrates on conflicts in Crimea and eastern Ukraine. 

In 2015 Maloletka was selected to participate in the Eddie Adams Workshop, a tuition-free merit-based photojournalism program in New York. His numerous photography prizes in general news categories include first place in the Pictures of the Year International Competition, second place in the China International Press Photo Contest and the Belarus Press Photo Contest, and winner in the APME Photo Contest.

TIME, Newsweek, the New York Times, the Washington Post, Der Spiegel, The Independent, El Pais, The Guardian, The Telegraph, and other outlets have published Maloletka’s work.

Evgeniy Maloletka
Evgeniy Maloletka

Current Lovejoy Selection Committee members include Matt Apuzzo ’00, reporter and investigative correspondent, New York Times; Nancy Barnes, senior vice president and editorial director, NPR; Sewell Chan, editor-in-chief, Texas Tribune; Marcela Gaviria, producer, PBS FRONTLINE; Neil Gross, Charles A. Dana Professor of Sociology, Colby College; Martin Kaiser, editor and senior vice president, retired, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and director of the Capital News Service at the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism; Mindy Marqués Gonzales, vice president and executive editor, Simon and Schuster, former editor, Miami Herald; and Ron Nixon, vice president, news, and head of investigations, enterprise, partnerships, and grants, Associated Press.