An American journalist was killed by Russian forces while reporting on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Brent Renaud — a 50-year-old, award-winning filmmaker, journalist and documentarian from Little Rock, Arkansas — was shot and killed while reporting just outside of Kyiv, Ukraine, on Sunday. A Ukrainian police chief posted on Facebook that Renaud was “shot dead” by Russian forces, adding, “the occupants cynically kill even journalists of international media, who’ve been trying to tell the truth about atrocities of Russian military in Ukraine.”
Renaud was found with an outdated New York Times press badge, but he was working for Time. In a joint statement, Time editor-in-chief and CEO Edward Felsenthal and president and COO of Time and Time Studios Ian Orefice wrote:
“We are devastated by the loss of Brent Renaud. As an award-winning filmmaker and journalist, Brent tackled the toughest stories around the world often alongside his brother Craig Renaud. In recent weeks, Brent was in the region working on a TIME Studios project focused on the global refugee crisis. Our hearts are with all of Brent’s loved ones. It is essential that journalists are able to safely cover this ongoing invasion and humanitarian crisis in Ukraine.”
The New York Times put out a statement saying, “Though (Renaud) had contributed to the Times in the past (most recently in 2015), he was not on assignment for any desk at the Times in Ukraine.”
Renaud also had worked in the past for media organizations such as NBC and HBO. The New York Times’ Michael Schwirtz wrote, “Mr. Renaud often worked with his brother, Craig Renaud, and won a Peabody award for a Vice News documentary about a school in Chicago. The two have worked on film and television projects from conflict zones and hot spots around the world. Over the past decade, the brothers had covered the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the earthquake in Haiti, cartel violence in Mexico and youth refugees in Central America, according to their website.”
Here’s a piece the Renaud brothers put together in 2015 for the Times called “Between Borders: American Migrant Crisis.”
Christof Putzel and Renaud won a 2013 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University journalism award for “Arming the Mexican Cartels,” a documentary on how guns trafficked from the United States contributed to gang violence. Putzel told The Associated Press’ Pamela Sampson, “This guy was the absolute best. He was just the absolute best war journalist that I know. This is a guy who literally went to every conflict zone.”
Renaud was a 2019 Harvard Nieman Fellow. Ann Marie Lipinski, the curator of the Nieman Foundation, tweeted, “Our Nieman Fellow Brent Renaud was gifted and kind, and his work was infused with humanity. He was killed today outside Kiev, and the world and journalism are lesser for it. We are heartsick.”
Renaud was traveling Sunday with American journalist Juan Arredondo, who also shot, but survived. In an interview with Italian journalist Annalisa Camilli, Arredondo said he was shot in the back, while Renaud was shot in the neck.
“We crossed the first bridge in Irpin, we were going to film other refugees leaving, and we got into a car, somebody offered to take us to the other bridge, we crossed the checkpoint, and they started shooting at us,” Arrendondo said.
During that interview, which was being conducted while Arredondo was being treated in a hospital bed, Arredondo said he was brought to the hospital by an ambulance, but that Renaud was “left behind.” He said “I don’t know” when asked what had happened to Renaud.
In a tweet, The U.S. State Department wrote, “We are horrified that journalists and filmmakers — noncombatants‚ have been killed and injured in Ukraine by Kremlin forces. This is yet another gruesome example of the Kremlin’s indiscriminate actions.”
The Committee to Protect Journalists tweeted, “We are shocked and saddened to learn of the death of U.S. journalist Brent Renaud in Ukraine. This kind of attack is totally unacceptable, and is a violation of international law Russian forces in Ukraine must stop all violence against journalists and other civilians at once.”
The Washington Post’s Paulina Villegas, Brittany Shammas and Isabelle Khurshudyan reported, “Renaud’s death comes after a team of Sky News journalists were shot at while attempting to report in the Kyiv suburb of Bucha. Chief correspondent Stuart Ramsay and camera operator Richie Mockler were shot. They survived and were evacuated out of the country. The journalists were later told that the gunmen were part of a saboteur Russian reconnaissance squad.”
Renaud is believed to have been the second journalist killed in the war. The Committee to Protect Journalists previously wrote that Russian military forces bombed a TV tower in Kyiv on March 1, five were killed, including camera operator Yevhenii Sakun.”
Tom Jones is Poynter’s senior media writer. For the latest media news and analysis, delivered free to your inbox each and every weekday morning, sign up for his Poynter Report newsletter.