Ukraine Correspondent Becomes Swiss Press Journalist of the Year

Maurine Mercier, Ukraine correspondent for RTS radio and television in western Switzerland, has been named Swiss Press Journalist of the Year. She was honored in Bern on Friday for her reporting on people affected by war.

Mercier is a people reporter, not a war reporter, the Fondation Reinhardt von Graffenried said on Friday. She is being honored in the audio category for a report about a mother who was raped and terrorized by Russian soldiers in the presence of her thirteen-year-old daughter for two weeks in Butscha near Kiev.

Mercier managed to convey the heartbreaking statements with the necessary accuracy without ever falling into sensationalism, the foundation said. "It is impossible not to be touched to the core."

Prize money for victims

Mercier herself repeatedly emphasized in interviews that it is not she who is the brave one, but the victims who dare to confide in her. The journalist will pass on the prize money she received to them as a reward and will remain in contact with them, according to the Fondation. The prize is endowed with 25,000 francs.

The title of "Swiss Press Journalist of the Year" is not, however, the first award that the French-speaking Swiss has received. Between the end of 2022 and the beginning of 2023, Mercier received the following prizes: the Prix Bayeux des correspondants de guerre, the Prix Jean Dumur, the Prix du Journalisme des Médias Francophones Publics, and from the readers of the Vaudois daily newspaper 24 heures she was elected "Person of the Year".

Climate, pressure and dispute

First prize in the text category went to Barbara Achermann for the report "Climate of Fear at the Dance Academy" in The time Switzerland, a research about humiliations at the Zurich Dance Academy. The adolescents suffered from eating disorders such as emesis, fatigue fractures occurred, other serious consequences were the absence of menstruation, growth disorders and suicidal thoughts.

The article "Am Puls des Planeten" on by Pascal Albisser, Julian Schmidli, Lukas Frischknecht and team was awarded as best online contribution. With the climate monitor, they provide customizable facts and figures on the climate crisis.

The first prize in the video category was also awarded for a report on the climate crisis. In a documentary on "NZZ Format," Cristina Karrer shows how Kenya's people are reacting to climate change after three years of drought.

The best local report was a radio report by Martina Brassel on SRF Regionaljournal about the dispute between hunters and the cantonal hunting administrator in Appenzell Innerrhoden. All prize winners were presented with a diamond for their outstanding work and the sum of 15,000 Swiss francs.

Already announced at the beginning of April were the winners of the Swiss Press Photo Awards ( reported). Tamedia photographer Alex Kühni won in the "Foreign Countries" category with his documentary on the war in Ukraine. Now he has also been named Press Photographer of the Year. (SDA)

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