Award-winning journalist details Ukraine experience to Metro East students

Published: Mar. 16, 2022 at 12:06 PM CDT
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COLLINSVILLE (KMOV) - A geography class at Collinsville High School got some inside perspective on the war in Ukraine Tuesday.

A Pulitzer photojournalist who has spent years reporting in Ukraine joined them via Zoom. Misha Friedman, a Moldova native, has spent years reporting from Ukraine but is living in New York City now.

The student’s teacher, Barbara Lindauer, used her connections to make the opportunity happen. Lindauer is part of the Pulitzer Center Fellowship for Teachers. This year’s theme is “Journalism and Justice: Elevating Underreported Stories in the Classroom.”

He described to the students what it’s like reporting in Ukraine, the refugee crisis, and that many Ukrainians are choosing to stay and fight.

“They are angry,” Friedman said. “They are really angry. You talk to people who are there who have never picked up a weapon or have come close to weapons saying they are ready to kill, they are ready to throw a Molotov cocktail, we are ready to defend our country. This is strikingly different from 2014 when Putin annexed the part of their country. There, they were shell shocked.”

The students were able to ask him questions. One student said she is considering being a journalist, too.

“Hearing from them today makes me realize that journalism is something that’s really important and sometimes people don’t really understand how important it is to get in there and tell those stories so it’s something I could see myself doing in the future,” CHS Senior Emma Clark said.

Friedman left the students with the advice to not demonize all Russian people, but to realize many either don’t agree with the invasion or are just following orders.