Podcast: Mstyslav Chernov on Mariupol

Access the transcript for this episode here.


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

Mstyslav Chernov and two other Associated Press journalists arrived in Mariupol hours before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, becoming 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, along with their other stories documenting the Russian invasion of Ukraine, won The Associated Press the 2023 Public Service Prize

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 Prize for its coverage of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

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The Pulitzer on the Road Podcast is a production of the Pulitzer Prize Board at Columbia University, in collaboration with the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University, and produced by Central Sound at Arizona PBS. The producers are Anna Williams and Alex Kosiorek from Arizona PBS and Nicole Carroll. Pulitzer Administrator Marjorie Miller is the executive producer. 

To learn more about the Pulitzer on the Road Podcast, and to find links to other episodes in this series, click here.