Ukraine war crimes investigation epitomises quality journalism

Hello there. My name is Liam Phelan, and I am filling in for Bevan for the next fortnight while he takes a well-earned break.

I’ve just been appointed deputy editor, which is a position I am very honoured and excited to take on. I’ve worked for the Herald for 17 years, and although I started as a print sub-editor, over the past decade I have really enjoyed the transition to the digital world. It gives us so many more ways to present our journalism in innovative ways to a whole new audience.

At the core of good journalism, whether it’s presented in print or online, is good storytelling. A four-part series I helped produce this week about Ukraine had this in spades, as well as a commitment to hold powerful figures to account and an ability to listen to the voices of those who have been victimised and tortured.

Alyona Lapchuk at a relative’s home in Kyiv before travelling to The Hague to give evidence about her husband Vitaliy Lapchuk’s torture and murder by Russian soldiers in Kherson.Credit:Kate Geraghty

Reporter Anthony Galloway and photographer Kate Geraghty travelled to Ukraine for a forensic look into how possible war crimes will be pursued against Russia. This was an expensive – and dangerous – mission, but one that goes to the heart of great investigative journalism. They spoke to the victims of horrendous abuses, many of whom were lucky to escape with their lives. When an entire nation becomes a crime scene, how will international investigators go about their work and document atrocities that might bring some justice and retribution to the victims?

We backed this investigation heavily, and online we were able to add to Anthony’s powerful words and Kate’s moving images with some haunting video, photo galleries and graphics. A team of people spent a great deal of time making sure this strong series of articles was presented in the most informative and engaging way.


I know this is disturbing content and may not appeal to every reader, but it is powerful and important storytelling that will – hopefully – serve an important purpose. When big nations commit atrocities against innocent civilians, journalism has a role to play in cataloguing the abuse and highlighting the harrowing tales of ordinary people whose lives have been shattered. The next steps are up to the international community and the judicial system, but we hope our efforts will go to encouraging some meaningful outcomes for the people of Ukraine.

Another important story we looked at this week is the ongoing fallout from the Barilaro job appointment crisis. Premier Dominic Perrottet is understandably disappointed that his first major trip overseas has been overshadowed by this domestic crisis, pointing out that he is holding an inquiry into the matter. But there are many important questions that remain unanswered about this affair, and the fact that Perrottet has rejected a request to appear before the parliamentary inquiry, and his government has withheld important documents the inquiry needs to do its work, is poor judgment at best. At worst, it goes to a gross abuse of public power and a culture of trying to cover up misdeeds which is as bad, if not worse, than the original abuse.

The Herald has led media coverage on this issue, and we will continue to pursue this matter while crucial questions remain unanswered.

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Source: News