A month-long residency program in Poland
Since the beginning of the full-scale invasion, Ukrainian journalists have been facing significant challenges, including financial difficulties, high levels of stress, and sometimes even threats to their lives. To help them recover and continue working towards victory, the Lviv Media Forum created a month-long residency program in Przemysl (which took place from May 7th to June 11th, 2022).
"The program provided participants with a stipend, living and working space, and opportunities for professional growth. Additionally, a crucial component was interaction: networking with Ukrainian and foreign colleagues, and, if desired by each participant, access to the support of a psychotherapist and/or mentor.
The first LMF Media Residency Program was open to media professionals who:
- Were not subject to mandatory mobilization.
- Worked on important social issues.
- Experienced traumatic events due to their work on the frontlines.
- Had more than 2 years of professional experience.
"We created this project to support Ukrainian journalists. The residency in Przemysl served as a refuge for rest and physical and psychological recovery, enabling participants to continue their work in Ukraine.
Participation in the collective residency provided an opportunity to feel mutual support, exchange experiences, establish new professional contacts, and work through traumatic events with professional psychotherapists," said Kateryna Levchenko, project manager.
The first international residency in Przemysl included 11 media professionals. For safety reasons, the organization can only disclose those who publicly attended. Among them were representatives from Public Radio, GRE4KA.INFO, Censor.NET, Chitomo, Marie Claire Ukraine, Rayon.Lutsk, as well as civil activists from Mariupol and Lutsk."
Professional Training during the Residency
The work of journalists and other media professionals in Ukraine now requires additional skills. Therefore, the residency program included a series of educational events.
- A three-day training by IREX, an organization specializing in international education and development, covered topics such as working in crisis conditions, basic first aid, and the fundamentals of digital security.
- A training session by Outriders, a Polish media organization that focuses on global issues with local impact, provided insights into creating multimedia projects, writing stories, and managing reporter teams.
- A visit to the editorial office of Gazeta Wyborcza, where residents learned about the financial model, audience engagement principles, and internal processes of one of Poland's most influential publications.
- A lecture on fundraising to explore new funding opportunities for media.
Ksenia Minchuk, journalist and host of live broadcasts at Hromadske Radio: "The residency in Przemysl was truly inspiring for me. The city is beautiful, and the ladies are wonderful. It was a successful blend of relaxation, learning, and work. The training sessions, workshops, and lively interactions were crucial to make us feel like we were in a different world from the ordinary life we had before the war."
Anel Sudakevych, journalist and editor at Censor.NET: "During the residency, we had the opportunity to compare the work of Polish editorial teams, Outriders, and Gazeta Wyborcza. CEO of Outriders, Jakub Górnicki, shared insights into the principles of their media work, their approach to collaborative projects, and their audience-oriented storytelling methods. I was particularly surprised that Jakub explained storytelling techniques using examples from my favorite publication."
Cultural Program of the Residency
In addition to the educational program, the residency also featured a cultural program. Its aim was to inspire participants for their individual projects. Planned activities included excursions to the historical center and castle of Przemysl, kayaking, film screenings, visits to Krasiczyn, a blues festival, and street food outings.
Anastasiya Dziubak, journalist and editor of the information portal Grechka.info, shared her experience: "This was my first experience in a 'workation' format. The month passed quickly and intensively: work, training, trips. At the same time, it helped me break away from the daily routine and see something new. During the first two weeks, I felt 'anxiety' in every suspicious sound. I couldn't quite be a tourist. Later, the calmness of the small town relaxed me. The group of participants was wonderful, and I had plenty to ask and learn from them."
Victoria Feshchuk, project manager at Chitomo, said, "The residency was intensive - we had both a cultural program and a series of workshops, as well as psychological sessions. This contributed to comprehensive activity and at the same time reminded me of the format of a journalism school. Upon completion, I feel enriched: with communication, impressions, and practical advice."
The Lviv Media Forum team plans to continue organizing residencies, as the support and holistic recovery of journalists are a top priority for the organization during the war. To become a participant in the next program, stay tuned for announcements on the website or on social media.
This project was realized with the support of the European Endowment for Democracy (EED).