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Read this: Ukraine's lessons for the media

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Ukraine's lessons for the media…

BBC sounds music Radio podcasts hello, this is the media show from BBC Radio 4 The maybe peace talks between Ukraine and Russia at the moment, but this war very much continues as it reaches into it's second month we want to explore how international and local coverage has differed and would evidence the interest in the story is beginning to the climb.

How should the media respond to that help us understand this will hear from the editor-in-chief of The Economist Sally Minton beddoes who recently into president zelensky from Christine and Nicholas II Squires director and output for Sky News journalists have been directly in the firing line and from the BBC's least you set who's been an ever-present BBC broadcast from Kiev throughout the conflict but I want to start with to Ukrainian journalists, the first is alexey sorokin is one of the Editors of the key of independent.

Is an English language publication you may know it millions of people around the world are using it as a source on this war and Alexa your life with this from Kia thank you very much for joining the media show I wonder what aspects of the conflict you're covering today in your publication.

Thank you for having me just for us as a local publication is important to show the human our side of the we had a story on utility workers in Kiev who have to pick up tablets and allow the city to continue with it's everyday life.

We we had stories about cities constantly smelling like we try to show the people that the ordinary people who are suffering from this war and dose for a helping the country to cope with this publication the key of independent was created in November you've gone from that to having over 2 million followers on Twitter all around the world.

How do you and your colleagues feel about become one of the major sources on the biggest lorry in the world?

Obviously, I would rather maintain very small publication and not be living in a war zone, but yes we had adapted very quickly this happened practically overnight and we went from 20000 followers on Twitter to newly a million in a week.

Obviously had to produce more stories.

We had to produce more news items we now have a 21st 7 newsfeed also aggregates news stories and items from different publications with the growing attention comes growing responsibility and also our workload.


I was going to say your workload has gone up.

You must be more journalists.

I know when you started you had some funding from the European Union but presumably you need more funding to staff all of the

You're trying to create so how are you generating income well, we even before the war we launched a gofundme page.

We launched patreon account and before the full-scale division started.

We had a pretty decent now.

I would say we were able to collect maybe a list of our yearly budget through donations now after the War Began we are covered for probably two years now the month of March allows us to maintain a flow through this year and the next year also it's interesting to point out and a lot of people are a bit shocked when I say we haven't hired a single person during the recent one.

We still have only 3 hours during the day one during the night and around 12 journalist.

It's just everyone is now working at twice.

Are you in three times more than I can imagine you are so that's for editors 12 journalist and I'm sure lots of people listening consumer journey.

That's a small group of people producing very high impact work and you're saying you've got enough money now to cover your costs for 2 years which is remarkable just coming in the last few weeks while you're in the capital Kiev Tesco Western Ukraine to live and speak the genus Arena I really you're a journalist.

You're a producer.

I know you work with some Western media outlets like NPR from the US and so you're a perfect person to ask whether you'll see a difference in the way the Ukrainian Media wants to tell this story and how the Western media wants to tell this story.

Hello everyone.

Thank you for having me I started working with a few weeks before the Invasion actually I said it working I reduce my regular job at Ukraine world and of course I see the difference in how the stories are being adopted explained in a different way, it's Western audiences.

Not like you could be a new topic to lot of people who haven't been following it before so we have to explain the reason of their cell invasion and maybe like to give some background and some human stories are right now.

Even though it might be like kind of obvious to Ukrainian state would be very interesting to Weston Weston audio.

Better since it's always better to explain what's going on on the ground and political the difference in the way the stories are presented but also maybe in the approach because like right now a lot of singing Media they joined this national marathon and they're trying to broadcast Saints come here and clean all together and it's like a lot patriotic sentiments there and of course of different because we are in wartime and a lot of people they need some encouragement and they need to hear that was good stories, but also if they hear best stories, they need to balance and people spirit hi and I really do you feel that there is a tension then between.

Al that many ukrainians a feeling since Russia invaded and your journalistic duties.

Well, it's first few weeks are really hard and it's to me personally as well, because it was very difficult but of course it's impossible to separate yourself this country and you realise that that's your life and your life could be dangerous.

It was very hard and I'm working a lot and I'm trying to work all the time just to distract myself from all the reality that was happening even though but sometimes breaking down because it was impossible to bear all this tension and and of course like I I tried not to explain things in an emotion away especially on my Twitter because I know look different people are reading this information and for what I feel.

My two other people who are not familiar with underground and right now.

I found the balance finally and of course everyone listening to you would completely understand that you would feel emotional about the situation that you and your fellow countrymen and women are in to you as my colleague from BBC News Louise doucet are chief international correspondent these you remaining kieth where you been throughout the conflict as you listen to Irina I wonder if you recognise those tensions between the personal situations that journalist find themselves in particularly BBC Ukrainian colleagues and also their desire to continue with their journey.

They normally word.

I just begin by saluting Galaxy it in arm and all of the Ukrainian journalists including my colleagues in the BBC Ukrainian service and Ana cristina Ronaldinho it's one thing to cover a worn wheels Western journalists good lots of God it's wow.

It's you know.

You're so brave.

You know you're so great.

It's another thing to cover a war in your own home.

I see you know we look at the maths everyday, but when they look at my grandmother lives there, so that's why I went to school or this is all.

This is a group you not have been seen Ukrainian journalists.

Do this and telling us about it on on social media and they have to come to come to Ukraine to report on this war of our time and begin to imagine just how how difficult it is and having to

Your office because you're home your bomb shelter becomes your office and you staying with the story so well done in like you.

I have loved Alexis Twitter followers to be able to walk in the park and go to a cafe at night in the great city of Kiev and not to not to cover not to cover a war but I think they help us to in our jobs that you know machine is not shouldn't be part of our journalism empathy should be and then for the especially now.

I don't I can't remember maybe since the events of September of which of course was a totally different times in terms of technology and the shape of the world was so many people have been interested in this war wanted to stand up and be counted wanted to take a stand against Rushes in take a stand against this aggression will also be seen to be doing something about it.

It's been a really Xtra

Such as a journalist to have you been just as a small part in the telling of the story because so many are listening and so many agree with that the story man and you reference these in your answer Danny let's bring in Sandy Minton beddoes editor-in-chief of The Economist I want to ask you about your interview with president zelensky in a mo zani, but I wonder what you would say in response to what we put already from colleagues in Kiev in the bit where I would absolutely s lives in in saluting Alexa and all the Ukrainian journalist who I can't imagine what it is like to report on the wall and my own country and I will also add to that leaves because I am absolutely not responded.

I went to hear for 2 days.

I'm a complete angenieux in this and having after that experience my respect for you leaving everybody else who does what you do has gone up you know even more.

Show me what you're doing too.

So I'm it's just for those of us, who don't do this as it is a day job.

It's just to see the bravery of Ukrainian journalist the bravery of international journalist with the reason you were there was two interview president.


Do you think you've got opportunity because of your senior position within the Western media do you think you got access to this key figure in this story because you weren't Ukrainian I think my colleague Ocado ostrovskiy who is are Russia editor has interviewed president left before has very good contact snows a lot of people in the government in in Kiev and had been in touch with them and and there was talk of him going to do an interview and then when when I said that I wanted to come to it happened.

The quickly and we are global platform you get the word out a lot of people so I suspect that help to before we talk about it any further.

Just here a little of what you recorded you were there.

Did you know you had this inside you to be so brave to be such a strong person you know it's not a umbrella or not but I understood what's going on.

So I understood it a lot of months ago.

What's going on? It's not only about Ukraine it's all the Boulder boulder for editions of the wall and I think we could speak about it after we win yes, and I hope we win you are talking like an echoey room.

I wonder because of course this is not just a president but someone who potentially is a target as well.

What was the procedure of actually arriving to do the interview?

How are you taken with know this well, but a journey we were staying in one of the hotel that during the stay in the centre of Kia than a journey that I'm told normally takes 10 minutes an hour as we were changing cars taking pass checkpoints.

Lot of men with guns.

Lot of anti-tank obstacles.

Eventually we got to a big metal gates and we went through and BB8 said that he said welcome to our fortress and then we went into the fortress down down up down all over dim corridor as we had to leave not at all about electronics, but everything including help ends anything that could potentially give away a location and we emerged out of the dimness of the car goes to a room that you will recognise because it's the room is used for those zoom exchanges that President-elect he has with you know when he speaks the Parliament when he speaks to people around the world and thank you.

It looks a little bit like a kind of corporate meeting room.

You know it's

Formica table modern office chairs and we were sitting in this room and suddenly there was a bit of a kerfuffle and in walk several people with guns and presence of FE and he said you heard from that clip.

He's incredibly relax.

I'm just extraordinary Lee relaxed authentic.

We spent an hour with him.

He spoke speak very good English realise actually how good is English is an adult me my colleague speaks Russian and he had a long conversation about what what language the interview will be conducted in he spoke to me in English she responded to questions in Russian in Russian but he thought it was important to respond to questions in English and Ukrainian if not an English as though we had this kind of complicated melonstube languages crack jokes.

He was just really empathetic to and that was what really stop when you can hear that from the clip that you played we talked about you know what what day the future.

Ukrainian victory look like we talked about what you need it from the west but for me the most powerful interview with the end.

I asked him a bad bladder pushing and I asked him you know what what what about blood in a person and he said something I was just up with me ever since he said Putin is throwing Russian soldiers like logs into a trains furnace and it was just couldn't believe you could tell his voice that he couldn't believe someone could act with search in humanity and it was in such Stark contrast.

I think to him and he is he's as you will know the kind of public face of this coming together of Ukraine I don't think he's running the war effort in a detailed Churchillian Manor his role in this is to be the public face to be the national doing it brilliantly and he's he's epitomizing the resistance the humanity of ukrainians against this extraordinary aggression and I was really really powerful to me.

And as such and I want to bring in Christina from Sky News at this point as such zelensky Putin are the two dominant characters of a story that the world has engaged in I wonder if you look at the different ways that sky has told the story the different ways your audience has responded to the telling of the story.

Where do you see the most engagement in what form does the story work best does the story engage the most for the people? You're broadcasting to me about this particular complex and sadly have covered if you my career is being aged with the young people had in it and I do put that down to actually characters villains.

He's a very smart metre operator very smart and it's called a couple weeks ago and he was really good yesterday.

I gave you an actor.

It says he's good at all of that but he speaks as he's made two different parliaments of used for references in different countries.

It is very very smart or because he's really engaging character and I also think that there's a as you said there's there's the two it's like it's like a really really captured young people's imaginations, so there's a huge interest in all our platforms at Sky on this wall on this wall, but I've been really ill.

How many young people have engaged in it we started to do items on tiktok before the War started.

I thought it was a platform was important to engage in and I was in creating 125000 followers before the war is now nearly 1990000 people beside a bit to follow as per second video we put a 19-year old soldier young kid never shot a gun before standing on a bridge.

You got 32 million views on tiktok and something like 15 and 1/2 million views on YouTube

And I think it's become a social social media is a war of the social media age and people hear people Ukraine I'm in a lot of it.

I don't have all we had a verification unit because so many people are filming what's going on there and giving us their stories technology enabled us to tell people stories in a way that we haven't heard before we just launched her podcast which is only one.

It's just people telling us for their day-to-day living which you know 20-years ago.

You just won't able to do technology the iPhone these things with the Androids are iPhones they have really helped catch up and take them there and so the the need to tell that human stories which in your different ways all five of you were doing every single day in your coverage of this story is as you say sorted by the changes in technology that we've seen in recent decades, but I really know if I could bring you in at this point earlier in the week.

There was an open letter from both Ukrainian and foreign journalists sent.

Indian government in which they called for the end of the harassment of journalist but also ask for an end to the double standards for foreign and Ukrainian journalist and I wonder if you feel that it is easier in some ways for Western journalists in Ukraine to do the things that all of our guests have been describing then sometimes it is for Ukrainian journalist.

You think there's double stack exist.

I don't think it's about double standards, but I think since recent times to the it's becoming quite chaotic this letter was addressed to the president into the Ministry of Defence because of a lot of violations of interruptions in journalistic work on a Grundfos for Ukrainian and Busta NOC analyst for example like a lot of journalists are detained.

Wines and interrogate it 4 hours or they're not allowed to take pictures or videos of places that seem not to be like strategic the score of any importance are nuts and there are no strict rules and instructions that all journalists could use to understand how this and that was probably the main point of this letter.

They were asking the government and the Ministry of Defence as to define certain rules that apply to if not sure not to harm the military not breach any what time loss or rules in right now a lot of journalists in not cannot executor journalist in curious as well because all the skills so you looking for Greater clarity.

This and it looks very likely unless there's some surprise turn of events in the talks in Turkey that this conflict will continue that journalist will need to continue telling the story but there is increasing amount of evidence that perhaps interest in the conflict in Ukraine is beginning to decline admittedly from a point of huge interest around the world alexion like to ask you about this Alexa can you see a decline in the number of people coming to you to learn about the war we are and starting in the early days of March we see every day that the number of clicks to the number of visitors to our social media and website is rapidly declining in make sense because for many and dose for not interested in this country.

The story doesn't change so Russia continues its war and they are interested in something new and we can see from Google search data that searching for Ukraine the number of people searching for Ukraine and steadily decline since the end of February please you covered many conflicts and I know from messages being sent to the BBC in the last some people feel that well with concentrating on Ukraine with forgetting about Syria or with forgetting about Yemen how do we as journalists maintain interest in a story where we can see that arguably the audience is potentially turning away from it would be hard to maintain the the saturation of this story.

I so emotionally charged I said it one point you listen to the news bulletin the news about Ukraine the business is about Ukraine the sport is about Ukraine everything except the weather was about Ukraine and purse the weather here.

Temperature at that time.

I don't think anyone can be that engaged for that long, but there is something different about this war is that the impact of this war is so far food prices are being affected worldwide energy prices are being affected worldwide international norms and values are being affected worldwide the world likes it or not.

We're going to have to pay attention to what happens in Ukraine and this is a part of the responsibility of all of us to try to keep interest in this story.

It keeps draw people in and there is another aspect to is that I don't like seeing you really agree, but we've seen things in this war and even more terrible things could have a flight doesn't continue to be Sean on any atrocities to come if the world looks away the darkness other things could happen in the darkness and I think it is incumbent.

To try as much as possible not to take an eye off this story even if the engagement does come down a bit and I'll come to Arena on that in a moment, but Christina is skyward to ask you about that when you're balancing coverage of Ukraine vs.

Coverage of the police fines over the Downing Street parties for example.

How do you gauge the the right way forward on that the right way forward is to keep telling the compelling stories that are still there.

We committed we got three teams in Ukraine and we have no plans to reduce that at the moment independent.

I know impartial on you know I witness journalism is really really important unless we put people have to go and find stories.

We're not going to be looking to find out as Lee said we're not going to change your life and so we've got that commitment will continue that commitment and then any of the day you know the stories are compelling you can't see too many stories of little old ladies who are

Decorating the towns it people's it touches people's emotions and my job is to make sure that we are telling the stories that still engaged people but also continues to be important and what goes is important as Lee said for all of us in all sorts of different ways Alexi just finally and only if we have time is there something about this story that we missing that after these weeks should turn our attention to Alexa do you think there's something that requires more coverage more emphasis actually want to compliment for in publications for other work and a lot of human stories stories of atrocities.

I think shifted policy in the worst because Sky News BBC The Times Roll about them.

We know the recent story in the Times about the woman raped by Russian soldiers.

I think that.

Mention that's important for the world to know and I think I agree with Colin scared that even if we see that attention dropping our jobs as journalists is to write about stuff that is important and we should continue this and I'm sure if I had time Sandy would agree with no for the first time.

I'm wishing we had more than half an hour on the media show but it has been using formative listen to all of you.

Thank you very much indeed for your contribution Sally Makin beddoes editor-in-chief of the best leader set the BBC chief international correspondent Christina Nicholas Squires director of content at Sky News alexey sorokin political editor at the key if independent and the arena division freelance journalist and producer speaking to us from the Viv do remember you can get previous editions of the media show going back months and

By the BBC Sounds app, but this edition that is always time for thank you very much for listening.

We'll be back next week.

Bye bye.

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