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Ukrainian Service’s ‘Landmine Valley’ Wins Top Honors

Multimedia piece “Landmine Valley” received recognition in prestigious Ukrainian journalism competition.

The text on this graphic is overlaid above what appears to be wheat stalks. A white text banner reads "Landmine Valley." Below that, a second green text banner reads, "Demining of the Donbas could take over a decade. Why does every square meter take so long?"
Graphic from Ukrainian Service’s “Landmine Valley” project.

PRAGUE – Three journalists with Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s (RFE/RL) Ukrainian Service have won the Independent Association of Broadcasters (NAM) and the Ukrainian Media Association’s prestigious Honor of The Profession journalism competition for “Landmine Valley,” judged the year’s “Best Report.”

The multimedia piece chronicling a day in the life of deminers with the Danish Demining Group in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region is a collaborative work by Tetiana Iakubovych, Sergiy Korovainyi, and Vladyslav Zakrevskyi. It bested 710 other stories in five categories submitted by journalists around Ukraine.

The deminers in “Landmine Valley” work long hours, six days a week, while living on a base that keeps some of them away from their families for weeks at a time. The work is dangerous, but the deminers are proud of their efforts to make the region safer for future generations. Though they have made significant progress since they began in 2015, the OSCE expects the work will take over a decade to complete.

Maryana Drach, director of RFE/RL’s Ukrainian Service director, commented on the report’s important role in “raising awareness about the long-term consequences of the war in eastern Ukraine.” She said that while each journalist “is excellent individually, the story was enriched by their combined writing, photography, and design skills, which elevated it to another level.”

Iakubovych is the editor in chief of Donbas Realities, the Ukrainian Service’s regional Donbas project. Korovainyi, who joined RFE/RL in Kyiv in 2015, reports on the Russian-Ukrainian war, the aftermath of Chernobyl, and culture. Zakrevskyi designs and develops digital tools and projects for the Service.

NAM and the Ukrainian Media Association have been devoted for almost a decade to recognizing excellence in journalism in Ukraine. The annual Honor of the Profession award is supported by the United States Agency for International Development, Internews, and the Embassy of Sweden.

— Eric Baker