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Zelenskyy’s 100 nightly speeches captured in text, photos

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Washington photo editor Jon Elswick and desk editor Lynn Berry teamed up for a striking package that was 100 days in the making — capturing Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s 100 nightly speeches in an outstanding text piece and a meticulously compiled combo of 100 screenshots.

Every night since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Zelenskyy has given a speech on social media. Journalists around the world have followed the speeches, but few as frequently as Washington’s Elswick and Berry, a Russian-fluent former Moscow editor. Since the war began, Berry has effectively served as a long-distance member of the Moscow bureau, keeping track of war developments while colleagues in the region are asleep. And for many of those nights, Elswick has been taking screenshots of the speeches as part of AP’s spot coverage.

As the 100th day of the war approached, Elswick came up with the idea of doing a single combo showing all 100 images, and presented the idea to Berry to see if she was interested. In fact, Berry had prepared for something along the same lines. Almost every night at the start of the war — and more recently five nights a week — Berry has reviewed the Russian transcripts of Zelenskyy’s nightly address. She also watches the videos for Zelenskyy’s emotion and to see whether he switches languages and where the video was recorded.

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaks from Kyiv, Ukraine, from, left, on June 3, 2022, the 100th day of the Russian invasion; Feb. 24th, the first day; and June 2, the 99th day, in images from video provided by the president’s press office. – Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP

After the first few weeks, Berry thought there might eventually be a story in the collected speeches and started saving the transcripts and text she had written up. Elswick’s proposal on the photos became the catalyst for her story.

Elswick spent a few days researching in the video archive and assembled images for each day. On June 3 he awaited Zelenskyy’s 100th speech for the final screenshot, while Berry put the finishing touches on a masterful story that captured the essence of the speeches and their importance — nightly reminders to Ukrainians that contrary to expectations before the war, Zelenskyy had stood firm in the face of the Russian offensive and Ukraine has resisted the onslaught.

The pair’s package received widespread play by publications including the Washington Post,the Seattle Times, the Los Angeles Times and the Philadelphia Inquirer to name a few.

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