KYIV, UKRAINE – Ukrainian journalist Oleksandra “Sasha” Kuvshynova was killed in an attack near Kyiv while covering the Russian invasion of the country as a local reporter for Fox News; the attack also left Fox News cameraman Pierre Zakrzewski dead and Fox News correspondent Benjamin Hall injured.
However, Fox News – and indeed, many other media outlets as well – faced criticism early on for initially failing to even mention Kuvshynova’s death when reporting on the tragic loss and injury of their American colleagues.
Kyiv native Oleksandra Kuvshynova, 24, was working for Fox as a “fixer,” which is typically a local journalist hired by a foreign correspondent or a media company to help arrange a story; fixers will most often act as a translator and guide, and will help to arrange local interviews that the correspondent would not otherwise have access to.
Kuvshynova, Zakrzewski, and Hall were in the town of Horenka when the vehicle they were in was reportedly fired upon by members of the Russian military.
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The lion’s share of subsequent media coverage of the incident focused solely on the unfortunate fates of Zakrzewski and Hall, with Fox News failing to even acknowledge Kuvshynova’s existence, let alone her passing. This led to social media backlash, with many pointing out the inherent dangers that fixers often face while providing coverage of conflicts that often wouldn’t otherwise be possible, usually with little-to-no recognition in exchange.
Fox News soon rectified this extreme oversight by issuing a video report on Kuvshynova’s death, with Fox News Media CEO Suzanne Scott quoted as saying
“Sasha was helping out teams navigate the city, gather news, and speak with sources, working around the clock. She helped to share Ukraine’s story.”
In addition, Fox producers and correspondents described Kuvshynova as “hard-working, funny, kind, and brave, which you have to be to do this kind of work.”
But despite Fox finally addressing their error in judgment, the treatment of fixers by western media companies will hopefully remain a talking point going forward in regards to their safety and recognition.