Today, June 6, Ukrainians celebrate Journalist's Day. The profession of journalism has undergone some almost profound transformation in the wake of Russia’s full-scale invasion, which has both magnified its importance and bestowed upon it additional weight.
However, with these changes, journalists have also faced new challenges and heightened responsibilities. Kyiv Post approached a number of Ukrainian journalists, seeking their views on how the nature of their profession has developed over the past 15 months.
Daryna Kolomiiets, Kyiv correspondent and TV journalist
"The word is a weapon." I always wanted to believe that through journalism I could change the world for the better. However, it wasn't until the full-scale Russian invasion that I fully realized the importance and power of my actions.
Today, my job has become more than just work for me. It has become my destiny, the meaning of my life. I realize that my words can even impact the course of history.
Now, with a great war raging in the country, journalism has truly become the fourth power. However, this power is also considered very dangerous.
There have already been 514 documented Russian war crimes against journalists, and at least 10 media workers have died while carrying out their work.
But there is feedback that attests to the impact we have, which sustains us.
"After your film, we receive calls from all over the country, offering help."
"We watch your stories, and it becomes easier for us to survive the war."
"Thank you for continuing to work despite everything."
These are just a few of the comments we have received over the past year. And this is what is truly worth living for and continuing with. Frankly, I love what I do more and more every day.
Arsen Tsymbalyuk, TV presenter (Channel 24), radio host (Radio Maximum), and author of the YouTube show "Razbor Pometa"
During a full-scale invasion, Ukrainian journalism is experiencing both a real revolution and evolution at the same time. Not only journalists, but also Ukrainians in general and society as a whole, have come to understand how undervalued journalism was before. Everyone now realizes the importance of the journalist's role.
Ukrainian journalism is flourishing in a new way. Additionally, due to the complete destruction of Russian journalism and the interest in the Russian-Ukrainian war, many people in the post-Soviet space have started to read, watch, and listen to Ukrainian media.
Therefore, we are now broadcasting not only for Ukraine and Ukrainians, but also for many people around the world. Moreover, there are many immigrants from the post-Soviet space who are interested in the issue, not just those living within the post-Soviet space itself.
Everything is moving towards YouTube. Our main challenge is clickbait and reliance on algorithms. This is already the second problem, compared to how it was 20-30 years ago. In the past, a person would buy a newspaper and probably read what's inside because they had already bought it.
Now, the competition is fierce, and a lot depends on the title. This often leads to sensationalism.
Sergii Ivanov is a Ukrainian TV presenter (Island TV), publicist, public figure, writer, and blogger
My work has become physically more demanding because there are more events to cover, and everything has taken on a different format. We constantly have to consider whether what we are doing and discussing is harmful to our country, which is at war. It's not self-censorship; it's about additional responsibility.
We have also taken on social responsibility, reflected in our support for the armed forces of Ukraine and in consolidating our viewers' support for volunteer projects. Now, it is difficult to be just a journalist, as we also have to bear the social burden associated with the war and provide support to the army.
Our cameraman and sound engineer are fighting in the war, so we have taken responsibility for supporting them. There is no military censorship in the country. We can say whatever we want, but we must consider whether it will harm the country. I really want to return to carefree times, and I hope it will happen after the victory.
Anna Fil-Pshemyska, correspondent at DW (Ukrainian)
For me personally, one of the most challenging things that every Ukrainian journalist has faced is how to balance personal experiences with their work. Work has been a sort of refuge for me, allowing me to focus on something important amidst the chaos happening around me. It involves sharing information, news, and explanations, as well as providing a boost in morale with positive and, at times, unsettling stories.
It's crucial to talk about all these things to understand the importance of our work. We know what needs to be done. At the beginning of the war, my work played a significant role in supporting and uplifting me.
However, being objective is still essential, even when faced with rockets falling or when my family is living under occupation. It's complicated, but it toughens us. That's why I believe that journalists in Ukraine are like warriors—not just Ukrainians, but also the foreign media working here.
During this time, Ukrainian journalism has grown a lot in my eyes. It has become more professional and has set an example for media outlets worldwide. Foreign journalists have also gained valuable knowledge about Ukraine through their experiences here.
Anna Neplii, Kyiv Post journalist, student of the Institute of Journalism of the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv
Journalism, directly, is the fourth estate. And it is in our hands that the future of our country lies. So, just as we care for our own homes, we must take care of our country. After all, the government is part of the people. I know it's difficult, and I can't change anything by myself.
However, I can initiate processes with the support of like-minded people, which will continue for future generations. The world does not stand still, and technological progress is underway. Development affects all industries, including journalism, which is being transformed in accordance with global trends.
Once there was exclusively print press, then radio and television appeared. With the development of online media, the journalist's profession has changed, but it doesn't mean it has lost its influence and vitality. It has become a tool for transforming the field of journalism in accordance with new development prospects.
Maria Klyuk, TV host (Priamyi channel)
The most important thing that has changed is responsibility. You feel much more responsible because you understand that much more depends on your work now in times of war than in times of peace. And you do not have the right to make the mistake of providing inaccurate information, telling unverified or unreliable information. Every word you say should be well-balanced and verified.
Kateryna Zakharchenko, intern at Kyiv Post
"The fourth estate" - that's what Edmund Burke, a British MP, once called journalism. I believe that this statement has a place because, with the help of mass media, you can influence public opinion. And this fact gives journalism some "power".
But, on the other hand, it requires a lot of social responsibility from journalists. By helping others stay informed, journalists can lead them to make better decisions, both socially and politically.
Media, for me, is synonymous with freedom of speech, democracy, and influence on the authorities and their decisions. Journalists don't have ordinary days. Every new day brings new stories and new people.
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