Fox News reporter Trey Yingst remembers cameraman Pierre Zakrzewski – The Hollywood Reporter
For more than a month, Fox News foreign correspondent Trey Yingst reported from Ukraine, covering the days leading up to the Russian invasion on Feb. 24, and the country’s efforts to push back the Russian military in the weeks that followed.
Yingst was reporting from Kyiv on March 14 when Fox News cameraman Pierre Zakrzewski and Ukrainian journalist Oleksandra “Sasha” Kuvshynova (who worked as a “fixer” for Fox) were killed when their vehicle was hit by incoming fire in a suburb of the capital. Fox News State Department correspondent Benjamin Hall was seriously injured in the attack and is currently receiving medical treatment in the United States.
Yingst knew Zakrzewski well, having teamed up with him in a number of conflict zones, including Ukraine, just weeks before his death.
“Pierre was the best photojournalist I have ever worked with. He was selfless. He cared about people. And he spent every waking hour doing what he could to not only bring the story to the world, but help other journalists, freelancers, get the resources they needed to keep reporting,” Yingst said. The Hollywood Reporter in an interview last week. “He and I had something in common. And it is that we are consumed by this work. We love the responsibility that comes with going to dangerous places to show the world what’s going on.
As for Sasha, Yingst noted that they were close in age (he is 28, she was 24) and worked with her on a number of stories around Kyiv. “She wanted to let the world know what was happening to her country,” he said.
Zakrzewski’s funeral was held last week at his home in Ireland, and Yingst was in attendance. “It was lovely to meet his family. It was lovely to meet his friends, and I think it helped me understand where this bubbly, selfless person came from. It was an honor to be there and to celebrate his life,” he said.
“Everything you see on the pitch of me from Ukraine, every image of me on the pitch, was taken by Pierre,” Yingst said. “There is a picture of me there with me and sasha interrogating a soldier at a checkpoint they were hard workers they wanted to bring this story to the world their loss is tragic and devastating but i am committed to trying to continue to tell stories in their honor. Because that’s the role I can play now, to continue doing the work they would have done.
Within hours of the attack, Yingst and her team contacted CNN correspondent Clarissa Ward, calling local hospitals to try to locate their colleagues. Because while network correspondents compete for stories and airtime, they also take the same risks, which in turn leads to professional esteem.
“It’s a small industry, and I have great respect for correspondents on other networks, they do the same thing we do, they put their lives on the line to get critical information out to the world,” he said. -he declares. “I’m grateful to Clarissa and her team, and I’m grateful to be part of this industry, because there are very few people who work in this field, and they are committed to helping the world understand what’s going on in these war zones. There’s got to be a camaraderie. It takes bravery and commitment to the craft, when you’re told that the Russians could surround this town and bomb it, as they’ve been doing in part since northwest and northeast, it takes a certain type of person to say, ‘I’m staying.'”
Ukraine has proven deadly for journalists, but as the war drags on, a challenge continues to ensure Americans understand what is happening there and care about the atrocities taking place there . And Yingst, who joined the channel in 2018 and signed a multi-year deal in 2021, believes he’s the right person to show the devastation to audiences at Fox, cable news’ biggest by far.
“I hope people understand that there are still millions of innocent Ukrainians at risk…Make no mistake, there are people dying, their lives uprooted, and although there are there’s been a major effort to push back the Russians, there’s no indication that it’s nearly over,” Yingst said. “I always wonder, as we report, ‘how are people going to care, at times thousands of miles? Everyone has their own experience in the middle of a war. We literally shine light in the dark places. I think it’s very important to be on the front lines of conflict, to tell these stories, because if we can find humans who, despite everything, are going through this hell on earth, we can tell their stories to the world, and if we can tell it in a way that people understand, they will care.
And even now that he’s left Ukraine (he was in New York last week when we spoke, and will soon be returning to his home base of Jerusalem), Yingst says he still can’t let go of what he saw during his five weeks there. . Although he says he tries to clear his mind by exercising and meditating every day, Yingst continues to share updates from on-the-ground sources in the country.
“Maybe to my detriment, I’m not able to completely let go of a story. I love this job. I’m eaten up by it,” he said. “I feel like we have a huge responsibility to let the world know what’s going on, to hold people accountable for the words they say, to show what’s happening on the pitch up close, to make so that people care.”