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“The Start of the War in Ukraine”

Excellence in Coverage of Breaking News

The Washington Post, 2023

Author(s): Isabelle Khurshudyan, Salwan Georges, Whitney Leaming


The staff of The Washington Post stands apart from its peers in its coverage of the beginning of the war in Ukraine.  

The Post team provided readers with a mix of multimedia articles, timely live updates, in-depth analysis, compelling video, an essay of stunning still photography and a Q&A with readers in real time by reporters who were experiencing and witnessing the start of hostilities firsthand.  

In the days and weeks leading up to the invasion by Russian forces, The Post published a file of live updates that was converted into a daily chronicle. The live updates have continued virtually nonstop since the war began.  

The Post’s coverage of the war’s beginning was comprehensive, including on-the-ground reporting from correspondents and seasoned journalists, analysis, insights from reporters from the frontlines and coverage in Washington of the Biden Administration’s response. The Post captured the military buildup, diplomacy and economic fallout as the crisis unfolded in front of a world audience.  

The Post provided an array of video, photos and maps to help readers understand the military and political developments. Reporters’ firsthand reactions to hearing the initial explosions added to the coverage. The newspaper’s photo and video journalists captured some of the early destruction and the extraordinary, frenzied rush by civilians to escape the war zone.  

Coverage also included satellite images and maps, which have been updated as the war has progressed, helping readers understand Russia’s military objectives and the geography of the invasion.  

The Post’s reporters in Moscow and Washington provided insights into Putin’s war aims, including several early analyses that complemented the breaking news reports. Coverage included a Q&A for readers with reporters who had just finished a reporting trip in Ukraine within three days of the start of the war. White House and national security reporters produced a detailed reconstruction of the Biden Administration’s efforts to deter Russia. And in a report out of Kyiv, reporters described the defiance of President Volodymyr Zelensky and the determination of Ukrainians to fight back. 

The Post’s coverage, underscored by clear writing and powerful storytelling, provided intelligent historical context for the war, Putin’s motivations for the invasion and the response from Washington and NATO allies.