WASHINGTON, D.C. – Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) has won a prestigious 2022 Online Journalism Award (OJA) in the category of “Breaking News, Large Newsroom” for coverage of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
At the start of Russia’s war in February 2022, RFE/RL Services covering 23 countries in 27 languages were uniquely positioned to deliver exceptional multi-platform breaking news coverage to millions of people in Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, Moldova, and around the world. At great personal risk, correspondents reported from the frontlines, drawing on their deep local knowledge to bring nuance and context to a fast-evolving historic moment. They used the latest technologies to collaboratively verify and geolocate videos and analyze satellite imagery to break news about Russian troop movements and human rights abuses.
“I am proud of the Online News Association’s recognition of RFE/RL’s reporting at the start of Russia’s unjust and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine,” said RFE/RL President and CEO Jamie Fly. “Our journalists have made enormous sacrifices to overcome significant Russian censorship and document for the world the toll this war is taking on their communities. We dedicate this award to our colleague Vira Hyrych who paid the ultimate price for her commitment to sharing the truth about Putin’s aggression against Ukraine.”
The OJA cited RFE/RL’s groundbreaking war coverage, including:
- A daily continuous live briefing with the latest developments in Russia’s war;
- A video of a power station in flames after Russian shelling;
- A video of a Ukrainian speaking about a night of intense Russian shelling;
- A video showing the damage of Russian shelling that makes use of verified and geolocated user generated content; and
- A video of Russian airstrikes based on verified and geolocated user generated content.
Since the start of the war, RFE/RL journalists have also uncovered mass burials in Mariupol, documented the search for Russian sailors killed in the sinking of the Moskva cruiser, reported extensively on “filtration,” and tracked local opinion and spontaneous demonstrations against the Kremlin’s “partial mobilization” of reserve military forces.
On April 29, RFE/RL journalist Vira Hyrych was killed in Kyiv after a Russian missile strike hit the residential building where she lived. In June, Hyrych and other journalists killed during the war were posthumously recognized by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
The OJAs are the only comprehensive set of journalism prizes honoring excellence in digital journalism around the world. They recognize major media, international and independent sites, and individuals producing innovative work in digital storytelling. Winners demonstrate a mastery of the special characteristics and emerging technology of digital journalism. Winners will be honored during the OJA banquet at ONA22 on September 24 in Los Angeles.
RFE/RL relies on its networks of local reporters to provide accurate news and information to more than 37 million people every week in 27 languages and 23 countries where media freedom is restricted, or where a professional press has not fully developed. Its videos were viewed 7 billion times on Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram/IGTV in FY2021. RFE/RL is an editorially independent media company funded by a grant from the U.S. Congress through the U.S. Agency for Global Media.