Jodi Hilton/Photo courtesy of Joanna Kakissis
Jodi Hilton/Photo courtesy of Joanna Kakissis
November 16, 2022; Washington, D.C. – NPR News announced today it is opening a Ukraine Bureau in Kyiv that will be led by Joanna Kakissis, who will continue her poignant storytelling of a conflict that has upended millions of lives, affected global energy and food supplies and pitted NATO against Russia.
"NPR's coverage of the conflict is unparalleled, due to the extraordinary work of dozens of NPR staff who have volunteered to travel to Ukraine to report on and support our uncompromising look at the facts on the ground," said NPR's Chief International Editor Didi Schanche. "Having Joanna at our bureau in Kyiv will provide additional consistency and depth to our reporting."
"What has remained constant, and even strengthened, since Russia's invasion is Ukraine's vision for a future as part of the West and the European Union," Kakissis says. "It's a vision so attractive that Ukraine has staked its survival as a nation on it. I'm honored to lead NPR's coverage of this crucial story."
Kakissis began reporting in Ukraine shortly before Russia invaded in February. She covered the exodus of refugees to Poland and has returned to Ukraine several times to chronicle the war. She has focused on the human costs, profiling the displaced, the families of prisoners of war and a ninety-year-old "mermaid" who swims in a mine-filled sea. Joanna highlighted the tragedy for both sides with a story about the body of a Russian soldier abandoned in a hamlet he helped destroy, and she shed light on the potential for nuclear disaster with a report on the shelling of Nikopol by Russians occupying a nearby power plant.
NPR is opening this new bureau at a crucial juncture in the conflict. Ukrainian forces are reclaiming occupied territory from Russia, and Russia is retaliating with punishing airstrikes cities and on infrastructure, threatening a bitter winter. At a time when other news organizations have reduced international coverage, NPR's is covering some of the most important stories of our time.
NPR listeners already know Kakissis, who began reporting regularly for the network from her base in Athens, Greece, in 2011. Her work has largely focused on the forces straining European unity — migration, nationalism and the rise of illiberalism in Hungary. She led coverage of the eurozone debt crisis and the mass migration of Syrian refugees to Europe. She's reported extensively in central and eastern Europe and has also filled in at NPR bureaus in Berlin, Istanbul, Jerusalem, London and Paris. She's a contributor to This American Life and has written for The New York Times, TIME, The New Yorker online and The Financial Times Magazine, among others. In 2021, she taught a journalism seminar as a visiting professor at Princeton University. Kakissis was born in Greece, grew up in North and South Dakota and spent her early years in journalism at The News & Observer in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Under the leadership of Chief International Editor Didi Schanche, NPR's International Desk provides robust reporting from correspondents based in bureaus around the world. NPR's International Desk produces thousands of stories on international news and affairs and broadcasts ongoing coverage of international events to more than 24 million people each week. NPR's international team has been honored with journalism's top awards, including a 2017 Gracie Awards for Crisis Coverage of Zika mothers in Brazil, an Overseas Press Club The Lowell Thomas Award 2021 for Covid-19 coverage in India and a 2022 Murrow award network feature for coverage in the UK.
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