Elijah Parish Lovejoy Award for Courage in Journalism - Goldfarb Center

Elijah Parish Lovejoy Award for Courage in Journalism

The Elijah Parish Lovejoy Award of Colby, established in 1952, is awarded to a journalist who continues the Lovejoy heritage of fearlessness and commitment to American freedom of the press. The award is granted annually to a member of the press, regardless of title, who, in the opinion of selection committee members, has contributed to the country’s journalistic achievement.

Elijah Parish Lovejoy was born in Albion, Maine, Nov. 9, 1802, the son of a Congregational minister. He graduated in 1826 from Waterville College (now Colby), where he was valedictorian and class poet.

At age 29 he entered the Princeton Theological Seminary. While there he was persuaded to return to Missouri to launch a religious newspaper, the St. Louis Observer. He was named editor. Lovejoy wrote moderately about slavery, and his views were at first acceptable in Missouri, a slave state. As fear of slave uprisings increased, an incident occurred during which a freed man was trapped and killed. When the mob leaders were freed by the court, Lovejoy vehemently criticized the decision. His press was destroyed and his home burglarized.

He moved across the river to the free state of Illinois, where he believed he could write without fear. When his press was shipped to Alton, however, thugs smashed it at the dock. Local citizens raised money for a new press, and Lovejoy published successfully for a year. His position on slavery hardened, and on July 6, 1837, he published another editorial condemning the practice. That night his press was again destroyed. He bought another, which was also destroyed. Friends then organized a militia and secretly bought and installed another press.

Elijah Lovejoy

2022 Lovejoy Winner

Evgeniy Maloletka / Mstyslav Chernov
In this photo taken by Lovejoy Award Winner Mstyslav Chernov, Mariana Vishegirskaya stands outside a maternity hospital that was damaged by shelling in Mariupol, Ukraine, March 9, 2022. (AP Photo/Mstyslav Chernov, File)
A woman holds a child in an improvised bomb shelter in Mariupol, Ukraine, March 7, 2022. (AP Photo/Mstyslav Chernov)
A woman walks outside a maternity hospital that was damaged by shelling in Mariupol, Ukraine, March 9, 2022. An Associated Press team of journalists was in Mariupol the day of the airstrike and raced to the scene. Their images prompted a massive Russian misinformation campaign that continues to this day. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka, File)

Ukrainian Photojournalists to Receive Lovejoy Award for Courage in Journalism

Their coverage of the atrocities in Mariupol “defines courage”

 By Laura Meader

In its continuing efforts to recognize individuals who put themselves at personal risk for the sake of truth-telling, Colby College will honor two Ukrainians with the 2022 Elijah Parish Lovejoy Award for Courage in Journalism.

Mstyslav Chernov, a visual journalist and writer, and photojournalist Evgeniy Maloletka are being recognized for exceptional bravery in covering the Russian invasion of Ukraine, specifically in Mariupol, for the Associated Press. They will receive the award Friday, Oct. 14 at 4 p.m. The annual event will take place in Lorimer Chapel on Colby’s campus and is free and open to the public.

“Just as Elijah Lovejoy risked his life to expose atrocities, Mstyslav Chernov and Evgeniy Maloletka knew that showing the world what was happening in Mariupol was a cause worthy of the ultimate sacrifice,” said President David A. Greene. “Their selflessness in the face of extreme danger comes through in every photograph, video, and personal account of the Russian invasion and will forever be part of the history of this war. We are honored to have their names and their work associated with the Lovejoy Award.” 

Chernov is a photographer, photojournalist, filmmaker, war correspondent, and novelist who has covered conflicts in Ukraine, Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Maloletka is a freelance photojournalist who has documented the Ukrainian revolution and conflicts in Crimea and eastern Ukraine.

Last March they embedded themselves in Mariupol hours before the Russian invasion began. For 20 days they remained to document the atrocities as they unfolded. Chernov’s AP article, “20 days in Mariupol: the team that documented the city’s agony,” recounts their experience.

Since 1952 Colby has presented the Lovejoy Award to contemporary journalists around the globe. The award is named for Lovejoy, valedictorian for Colby’s Class of 1826, whose anti-slavery editorials published in the St. Louis Observer cost him his life. Following his murder by a mob in 1837, John Quincy Adams called Lovejoy America’s first martyr to freedom of the press.

“Like every year, the committee reviewed exceptional journalism to select the Lovejoy Award winner, but the committee quickly realized the work of Mstyslav Chernov and Evgeniy Maloletka stood above the rest,” said Lovejoy Selection Committee chair Martin Kaiser, editor and senior vice president, retired, of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and now on the faculty at the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism. 

“Their photography, Chernov’s first-person account from inside Mariupol, and their willingness to stay in Mariupol when other journalists had left—to report the story to the world through horrifying photos—defines courage. They knew if they left Mariupol, there would be no one to document the atrocities and destruction. They brought the world’s attention to Mariupol.” 

The presentation of the Lovejoy Award will include a discussion of the winners’ work with Senior Vice President and Head of Standards for the NBC Universal News Group Brian Carovillano ’95, former vice president, news, at the AP who oversaw Chernov and Maloletka’s recent work there, and Ron Nixon, vice president, news, and head of investigations, enterprise, partnerships, and grants at the Associated Press. President Greene will offer remarks and present the awards. 

Photojournalism Par Excellence

Chernov and Maloletka are the first photographers to receive the Lovejoy Award, joining a cohort of exceptional journalists, writers, and editors. The Lovejoy Committee was honored, Kaiser said, “to recognize photography in the tradition of Elijah Parish Lovejoy.” 

Chernov, an Associated Press journalist wounded several times while working in conflict zones, has covered Ukraine extensively, including the country’s 2014 Revolution of Dignity and the war in Donbas. He also covered the July 2014 downing of Malaysian Airlines flight 17, for which he won two Royal Television Society awards.

His other accolades include the Georgy Gongadze Prize, ICFJ Knight awards, and the DW Freedom of Speech Award. He has been nominated for a Livingston Award for covering the civil unrest in Belarus in 2021 and a Rory Peck Award for his coverage of Iraq’s Battle of Mosul. Multiple news outlets worldwide, including CNN, the BBC, the New York Times, and Washington Post, have published and aired his work.

President of the Ukrainian Association of Professional Photographers, Chernov has also produced diverse photography exhibitions, including The Dreaming House and The Media Machine. In 2013 and 2015 he was named Ukrainian Photographer of the Year.

Maloletka is originally from Berdyansk, a city in Ukraine’s southeastern Zaporizhzhia region, where the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant is currently under Russian control. He has covered the Ukrainian revolution since the Euromaidan revolution in 2013 and now concentrates on conflicts in Crimea and eastern Ukraine. 

In 2015 Maloletka was selected to participate in the Eddie Adams Workshop, a tuition-free merit-based photojournalism program in New York. His numerous photography prizes in general news categories include first place in the Pictures of the Year International Competition, second place in the China International Press Photo Contest and the Belarus Press Photo Contest, and winner in the APME Photo Contest.

Maloletka’s work has been published in TIME, Newsweek, the New York Times, the Washington Post, Der Spiegel, The Independent, El Pais, The Guardian, The Telegraph, and other outlets.

The Story of Lovejoy

America’s First Martyr to Freedom of the Press

Lovejoy - Militia

On the night of Nov. 7, 1837, a mob attacked the new press. The militia fought back, killing one. The mob eventually set fire to the building, drove out the militia. Lovejoy was shot and killed as he attempted to extinguish the blaze.

He was buried Nov. 9, his 35th birthday. John Quincy Adams called him the “first American martyr to the freedom of the press and the freedom of the slave.”

On Sept. 29, 2000, Lovejoy was inducted into the Maine Press Hall of Fame.

Listen to an engaging conversation with Ken Ellingword, author of First to Fall, a book about the legacy of Elijah Lovejoy on National Public Radio’s (NPR) “Morning Edition”.

Award Mission and Criteria​

The purpose of the Elijah Parish Lovejoy Award is threefold: 

  1. To honor and preserve the memory of Elijah Parish Lovejoy, America’s first martyr to freedom of the press and a Colby College graduate (valedictorian, Class of 1826) who died bravely rather than forsake his editorial principles.
  2. To stimulate and honor the kind of achievement in the field of reporting, editing, and interpretive writing that continues the Lovejoy heritage of fearlessness and freedom.
  3. To promote a sense of mutual responsibility and cooperative effort between a news industry devoted to journalistic freedom and a liberal arts college dedicated to academic freedom.

Once all nominations are received, the selection committee recommends finalists for the award on the basis of:

  1. Integrity, without which no news organization can function in its traditional role as a public servant.
  2. Craftsmanship, without which no one can succeed as a journalist.
  3. Character, intelligence, and courage.
  4. Potential of the work to stimulate engaging campus conversations around important issues of our times.

Nominees must be reporting for a U.S.-based outlet. Nominations should be sent to [email protected].

Current Lovejoy Selection Committee Members

Martin Kaiser, chair 
editor and senior vice president, retired, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 

Ron Nixon 
global investigations editor, Associated Press

Aminda Marqués González
executive editor and vice president, Miami Herald 

Matt Apuzzo ’00
investigative correspondent, The New York Times

Nancy Barnes
editor, The Boston Globe

Sewell Chan
editor in chief, Texas Tribune

Marcela Gaviria

Neil Gross
Charles A. Dana Professor of Sociology, Colby College

Ex-Officio Members

David A. Greene
president, Colby College

Richard Uchida
vice president and secretary, Colby College

Jane Powers ’86
chair, Colby Board of Trustees

Lovejoy Selection Committee Secretary

Ruth Jackson
vice president and chief of staff, Colby College
4600 Mayflower Hill
Watervillle, Maine 04901
[email protected]

Past Recipients