We are deeply saddened by the death of American journalist and former Pulitzer Center grantee Brent Renaud. He was killed Sunday while working on a documentary about refugees and displaced persons in Ukraine.
An investigation into the death is ongoing, but officials in Ukraine reported that Renaud was “shot dead” in Irpin, a Kiev suburb that has been under heavy Russian attack for much of the past week.
Jane Ferguson, another recent Pulitzer Center grantee who was at the scene, posted a statement on Twitter: “Just left roadside spot near Irpin where body of American journalist Brent Renaud lay under a blanket. Ukrainian medics could do nothing to help him by that stage. Outraged Ukrainian police officer: ‘Tell America, tell the world, what they did to a journalist.’”
Renaud, 50, often worked with his brother Craig Renaud. Based in New York City and Little Rock, Arkansas, the brothers’ documentary projects have taken them around the world to many of the conflict zones of the last decade, including the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the earthquake in Haiti, the drug war in Mexico, and the political turmoil in Egypt. They made powerful documentaries on domestic issues as well, among them the education crisis in Chicago and the causes and consequences of drug addiction in their home state of Arkansas.
Their films and television shows have been honored with a Peabody, an IDA Award for Best TV Series, two Overseas Press Club Awards, two duPont-Columbia University Awards, and an Edward R. Murrow Award for their work with The New York Times.
The Renaud brothers’ 2015 project with the Pulitzer Center resulted in Between Borders: American Migrant Crisis, a New York Times documentary, which traced the harrowing journey of young people trying to escape gang violence in Honduras as they made their way across Central America to the U.S. border.
“Brent was an extraordinary journalist,” said Pulitzer Center Executive Director Jon Sawyer. “With fearless compassion, he and his brother brought us some of the most important stories of our time. We are heartbroken by this loss.”
Brent Renaud was a 2018-19 Nieman fellow at Harvard University. In a statement, Ann Marie Lipinski, curator of the Nieman Foundation, said, “Brent’s filmmaking was exceptional and what made it so was not just his abundant skill but a kindness and deep humanity he brought to his work. He told us that what he sought in his journalism was ‘thoughtful stories about disenfranchised people,’ and he lived up to that credo every day. His death is a devastating loss.”
At the time of his death, Renaud was working on a TIME Studios project on the global refugee crisis.