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For “humane journalism”

Natalia Malimon is the first winner of the Mykhailo Vasylevsky Prize for Den’s own correspondents and contributors
29 January, 16:59
Natalia Malimon / Photo by Ruslan KANIUKA, The Day

In January 2017, marking the 20th anniversary of being the editor-in-chief of Den, Larysa Ivshyna announced the institution of a new prize. This annual prize, named after Mykhailo Vasylevsky, is intended for Den’s own and part-time correspondents in the regions and contributors.

“It is important that memory about high-skilled, professional, and, at the same time, honest journalists should live on. This fully applies to Mykhailo Vasylevsky, Den’s own correspondent in Khmelnytskyi,” Ms. Ivshyna emphasized. This prize is one of the editor-in-chief’s systemic initiatives. The newspaper’s staff does not forget their outstanding colleagues and contributors, and we are trying to make society share this memory. The Den’s Library has published (in more than one print run) The Apocrypha of Klara Gudzyk, Day and Eternity of James Mace, his book Your Dead Chose Me, and the album of Anatolii Kazansky’s cartoons. We constantly actualize articles by the unforgettable Serhii Krymsky and remember the contribution of Leonid Bakka in the development of national photo journalism. The James Mace Prize is going to mark its 10th anniversary soon.

Mykhailo Vasylevsky worked for our newspaper from its first issue until his untimely death from a serious disease in 2009. He would have been 66 on January 24. “Talented journalists are talented in a special way. They have a gift to see, hear, and write about what others do not notice in everyday life. Our colleague Mykhailo Vasylevsky was generously endowed with this quality. His publications repeatedly caused a considerable stir in both Ukrainian and foreign media,” says Vadym Ryzhkov, Den’s own longtime correspondent in the Dnipropetrovsk region. This was the case with Vasylevsky’s materials on Monica sweets (which the local confectionery factory began to produce against the backdrop of scandal in the White House) and on the “Ukrainian Diogenes,” a man who chose to live a lonely but harmonious life on a… tree. Also unforgettable were his articles on “the October’s peer from the village of Golenyshcheve” (https://day., you can read them not only in website archive, but also in Den’s book Extract 150) – it is the story of a nonconformist woman Khyma Ostapchuk who categorically refused to have her house electrified, explaining as follows: I don’t want to have anything to do with those who ruin and plunder my homeland. Each material of Vasylevsky – on the “unusual adventures of a slaughtered bull-calf,” or “custodians of the windmill,” or “the Antonivka Czechs” – are full of respect for and interest in every individual, irrespective of their “status.” This is what today’s journalism often lacks. It should serve as a model for the new generation of media people.

The message of the new prize can be outlined as follows: a gesture of gratitude and a motivation for qualitative growth. To choose the first winner, the editorial staff held a “plebiscite.” The editor-in-chief, Ms. Ivshyna, announced the result: the first winner of the Mykhailo Vasylevsky Prize is… Natalia Malimon. Ms. Malimon, our own longtime correspondent in Volyn oblast, is taking a “humane” approach to journalism, which does not know such thing as “the provinces,” and when seemingly commonplace stories can become the graphic pictures of the day. Tellingly, Ms. Malimon cooperated with and was a friend of Vasylevsky. “He was a master of uncommon stories from the world of ordinary people” – this is how she remembers the colleague.

It is gratifying that Mykhailo’s family, including his daughter Olha Vasylevska-Smahliuk, also a journalist, supported the foundation of this prize.

We sincerely congratulate Ms. Malimon and wish all the other colleagues success in the future!

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