Reporter’s Notebook: Fox News Heroes Honored at Italian Awards Ceremony

NAPLES, ITALY- It started as an award to recognize law enforcement officers and journalists for the courage to call out the mafia in Italy and expose its abuses, but it has grown into something much broader. Now the annual event tries to honor the freedom of the press and the heroism of those who dare to cover the atrocities of the war also from the front line.

This year the European Award for Investigative and Judicial Journalism recognized our Fox News colleagues injured and killed in Ukraine. Correspondent Benjamin Hall was seriously injured in March while covering the Russian army’s advance on the capital Kiev. Their cameraman Pierre Zakrzewski and local fixer Oleksandra “Sasha” Kuvshynova were killed when they all suffered an intense attack.

Cameraman and editor Pierre Zakrzewski, was affectionately referred to as "Zak" by colleagues, he was killed covering the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Cameraman and editor Pierre Zakrzewski, affectionately called “Zak” by his colleagues, was killed covering Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
(Fox News)

Pierre’s wife, Michelle Ross-Stanton, was at the imposing Maschio Angioino Castle in central Naples to collect her award. In remarks that brought tears to some in the audience, “Mich,” as Pierre and his friends always called her, spoke of her husband’s passionate dedication to his work. Although the sadness of her loss is always there, reliving it in front of a crowd was very difficult, she said. But she explained why she needed to be there.

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“I knew how important it was,” Michelle said after the award, “because it’s about journalism. It’s about injustice in the world. It’s about human rights. And I think that’s so important that we have to keep it. Knowing that Pierre died doing what he loved, and lived as he died. With courage and grace, that is. Pierre’s death forever leaves a hole, a void in the hearts of many in the international press community who knew him, not to mention family and friends “.

Fox News reporter Benjamin Hall was injured outside Kiev while in the field covering Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

Fox News reporter Benjamin Hall was injured outside Kiev while in the field covering Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
(Fox News)

Benjamin Hall’s courage was also honored in Naples. He plans to continue the fight to shine a light where there is darkness and not only that. In remarks I prepared before collecting Ben’s award on his behalf, since I’m only in the long boot of Italy in the city of Milan, I noted that he is an amazing communicator and storyteller on many topics, not just conflicts. He has the ability to make you laugh at some of life’s absurdities with his clever turns of phrase as much as he can capture the essence of horror and injustice.

“I want to start first by paying tribute to Pierre, to Sasha and to all the journalists who lost their lives covering the war,” Benjamin said in a video message to organizers of the event, which also hosted Italian military and war correspondents. police who exposed a mafia operation. “But I think it’s essential that we continue to do this work, which is so important to tell the truth. I think that without journalists on the ground, you wouldn’t know the horrors, the murders, the atrocities that are happening. You wouldn’t know the force either, the courage, the resistance of all those people who fight for good”.

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The award was founded by a man called Massimo Scuderi who began his career in his native Sicily as part of the “Guardia di Finanza” or financial police, those who track anything from tax evasion to international trafficking. He was honored for his own brave work by the Italian government and saw a lot in his life. But the story of Pierre, Sasha and Benjamin hit him hard.

“I read a lot about it. I even watched the videos on your channel. It touched me, because I imagine three friends, in a car, talking and then in an instant, they never speak again.”

Oleksandra "Sasha" Kuvshynova served as a Fox News consultant on the ground during the Russian invasion.  He died when his vehicle was hit by fire.

Oleksandra “Sasha” Kuvshynova served as a Fox News consultant on the ground during the Russian invasion. He died when his vehicle was hit by fire.
(Instagram – Fusion)

The memory of Oleksandra “Sasha” Kuvshynova was also honored again and again throughout the evening. She had worked as a local “fixer” or a competent pair of hands on the ground for the Fox Ukraine team. A young aspiring journalist, and someone who, according to a colleague at Fox, “lighted up every room she walked into” with her energy and positivity, she was well-loved by all who worked with her. Michelle says she will dedicate her life to keeping Pierre and Sasha’s legacy alive. And Massimo Scuderi says he will do everything possible to locate Sasha’s family in Ukraine and eventually bring them to Italy to commemorate her in his presence.

OLEKSANDRA ‘SASHA’ KUVSHYNOVA’S FOX NEWS PEOPLE REMEMBER HER LIFE: ‘SHE HAD A SPECIAL PRESENCE’

Meanwhile, Michelle shared a Zakrzewski family mantra that is helping them all get through their nightmare. It’s a hashtag. #BemorelikePierre. And it’s simple, he said:

Help others.

be brave

Love your family.

Love your friends.

to travel

talk

Do what you like.

Take risks.

laugh

take care

Be the best you can be.

Because it was the best.

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