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Wendell Steavenson, 1843 Magazine

Individual Excellence Awards
Journalist of the Year

All the judges agreed that Wendell excels as an investigative journalist – putting herself in the middle of dangerous situations to report the news and get voices heard. Her work clearly resonates with the 1843 audience – building readership as well as winning press awards.

Wendell Steavenson has produced an extraordinary series of features for 1843 Magazine, from war-torn Ukraine to the financial collapse of Lebanon. Her stories follow civilians whose lives

have been transformed. The narratives offer a visceral account of people upended by war and demonstrate Steavenson’s striking ability to convey her subjects’ choices and emotions.

After the outbreak of the Ukrainian-Russian war in February, Wendell Steavenson travelled to Ukraine, staying for 10 weeks, and returning again later in the year. Reporting these stories has required the same resilience and courageousness that Steavenson has shown throughout her career. For example, after the liberation of Kherson in November, she spent several days reporting in the city under bombardment. She has continued to put herself in harm’s way since then to share the stories of those caught in the war, working extremely hard and with great determination to consistently file from the most difficult of settings.

The incredible stories Wendell has told this year include a construction worker turned sniper, a theatre director punished for his activism under occupation and a family of steelworkers who undertook a dangerous passage to refuge. She was the first reporter to cover in-depth the events that occurred at Chernobyl power plant after the invasion. The account follows the management team at the plant. With the arrival of the Russian army, they had to walk on the fine line between collaboration and co-operation with their occupiers to prevent nuclear disaster. Confined to the plant for 25 days (workers are usually rotated out daily), the plant’s staff became unlikely heroes of the war. By conducting a range of interviews, Steavenson produced a compelling, authoritative narrative of Chernobyl under invasion.

She also wrote a gut-wrenching piece on prisoners-of-war. It documents the experiences of Alex, a Ukrainian businessman in his 40s, who became a prisoner-of-war early in the conflict. According to the Geneva conventions, prisoners-of-war must be treated with dignity and consideration. Steavenson conveys in meticulous and harrowing detail his physical and psychological torture in a Russian prison. This reporting is accompanied by a sensitive and vivid description of Alex and the effects that torture has had on him. This is an aspect of the war that has received little coverage at magazine length.

These stories are just a sample of the outstanding work Wendell has done for 1843 Magazine this year, which has been central to their coverage of the war in Ukraine. Her features have performed outstandingly amongst 1843 Magazine’s audiences, as well as across social media. Two of Steavenson’s pieces were read over 300,000 times, and her work has consistently performed well amongst audiences over the year, reflecting the quality of her writing. She recently won feature writer of the year at the British Press Awards for her work in Ukraine.

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