In the hours after three journalists working for Fox News in Ukraine caught fire on March 14, employees at rival news organization CNN stepped in to support the cable network.
Clarissa Ward, CNN’s chief international correspondent, and Trey Yingst, a Fox News foreign correspondent, worked at CNN’s makeshift newsroom in a Kyiv hotel suite, making calls to morgues and hospitals to see Fox News cameraman Pierre Zakrzewski and Oleksandra To locate “Sasha” Kuvshynova. an advisor to the network, according to people familiar with the situation.
Ms Ward and Mr Yingst called Ukrainian military officials and passed on information about their last known whereabouts, the people said. NBC and Sky News security personnel also offered to help Fox News during this time, they said. Fox News’ security team later received a tip that her remains had been found, some of the people said.
A third Fox News journalist, foreign policy correspondent Benjamin Hall, survived and had already been taken to hospital with serious injuries.
The tragedy highlighted the huge risks journalists face when covering Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a conflict that has resulted in the deaths of five media workers last month, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. The event also demonstrated the teamwork and coordination between news organizations and field staff.
Such coordination is common in war zones, but the Ukraine conflict has exposed news organizations to different types of threats compared to some other conflicts in recent years. The security risks for journalists in Afghanistan and Iraq were also great – including the threat of improvised explosive devices, kidnappings or suicide bombers. In Ukraine, there are heightened concerns about rockets and artillery fire raining down on civilian areas, news managers and security experts said.
“Here, death comes indiscriminately from heaven,” said a head of global news gathering at a major US news network.
David Rohde, a former New York Times reporter who was kidnapped by the Taliban in Afghanistan while working on a book in 2008, said in an interview that the information shared by news organizations helps journalists in the country avoid danger .
“We should be aggressive against each other when it comes to stories, but not when it comes to safety,” said Mr. Rohde, who is now the New Yorker’s website news editor-in-chief.
In the event that a journalist is injured or killed, the US military is not present in Ukraine to offer assistance. In Mr Hall’s case, Fox News national security correspondent Jennifer Griffin worked with an organization called Save Our Allies to transport the injured journalist and give him access to medical care, Fox News reported.
Mr. Hall was evacuated to Poland and eventually transported back to the United States
Elena Cosentino, the director of the International News Safety Institute, which supports media outlets reporting on dangerous situations, said she began making daily safety calls with news managers from organizations such as the Associated Press, Reuters, Agence France-Presse in the weeks leading up to the war and Dow to organize Jones & Co., which publishes the Wall Street Journal. The frequency of the calls and the amount of information exchanged — pertaining to safe travel routes, difficult-to-navigate military checkpoints and access to supplies — were unprecedented, she said.
“Ultimately, the goal is to raise the bar on security and put in place the best countermeasures while doing the best possible journalism,” Ms. Cosentino said.
The Associated Press and other news outlets, including Reuters, are sharing information that may help them make individual decisions, such as where to send correspondents, according to people familiar with the matter. Some news organizations are teaming up to find ways to evacuate their staff, secure shelters and transport journalists into the country. Recently, outlets with local correspondents began looking for ways to deal with medical emergencies together, one of the people said.
Journalists are also at risk on the other side of the Ukrainian border. Earlier this month Russia passed a law threatening up to 15 years in prison for anyone who releases false information from authorities about the country’s invasion of Ukraine, which the Kremlin describes as a special military operation.
A number of news outlets, including CNN and Bloomberg News, suspended their journalists in the country. New York Times co
also decided to withdraw its editorial staff from Russia, and the Washington Post said at the time it would remove endorsements from articles published in Russia. Dow Jones said in a statement that its presence in Moscow is key to its mission to cover history between Ukraine and Russia.
After news organizations shared their plans in response to the new law, the Russian Foreign Ministry called several correspondents to discuss the matter, according to people familiar with the situation. At the meeting, a Russian official questioned some correspondents about their justification for being in Russia given the suspension of their companies’ operations, one of the people said. The Russian Foreign Ministry did not respond to a request for comment on the meeting.
“There have been challenges living and working as a journalist in Russia, but this new law essentially made it impossible by criminalizing independent fact-based reporting,” said Michael Slackman, deputy international editor at The Times.
The British Broadcasting Corp. stopped broadcasting from Russia and sought legal advice from specialists, including Russia-based lawyers, said Richard Burgess, interim head of news content at BBC News. Days later, the BBC said its correspondents could resume reporting in English from Russia as long as they used a specific language consistent with the BBC’s interpretation of the law. For example, instead of calling the invasion of Ukraine a war, Steve Rosenberg, editor of BBC News Russia, uses phrases like “what the Kremlin refuses to call a war,” Mr Burgess said.
“No one definitely knows how the Russian government will interpret this new law, but we have made a decision,” he said.
The risk is too great to continue reporting in Russian, he said.
BBC World News coverage, which was broadcast in English in Russia, has been banned and BBC News websites have been blocked in Russian and English, a BBC spokeswoman said. To spread its news content, the BBC has set up an account on TikTok in Russian and English and broadcasts to locals via shortwave radio in Ukraine and parts of Russia, Mr Burgess said.
“We’re doing what we can to bring news to people,” he said.
—Ann M. Simmons contributed to this article.
write to Alexandra Bruell at firstname.lastname@example.org and Benjamin Mullin at Benjamin.Mullin@wsj.com
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https://www.wsj.com/articles/rival-networks-aided-fox-news-after-ukraine-tragedy-highlighting-war-zone-collaboration-11648494512?mod=pls_whats_news_us_business_f Rival Networks supported Fox News after the tragedy in Ukraine and highlighted cooperation in war zones