The Research of Local Media Needs During Wartime

During this research, we identified the needs of Ukrainian local media, how to fulfill them, how managers plan to proceed, and how media can sustain themselves and their audience amidst full-scale war.

The study encompassed 61 editorial offices from various regions of Ukraine. Depending on the media market density and the regional situation, 2-3 local or hyperlocal editorial offices were selected.

The research coordinator is Igor Balynskyy, a media expert, co-founder of the publishing house “Choven”, Networks Center for Communication Research and Analytics coordinator, and an OSCE project expert in Ukraine.

The head of the research group is Zoya Krasovska, media analyst and coordinator of monitoring projects of the Center for Communication Research and Analytics Networks.

“The Media Forum works daily with requests from editorial boards, so this research aimed to systematize what is most relevant to local media to continue or renew their work right now. It will help donors better plan programs based on actual rather than hypothetical needs.

Significantly, we have had 60 hours of valuable conversations with editors who are now doing a titanic job. Some editors are even expanding and growing regardless of the lack of resources. Thanks to their experience, we could offer several future scenarios for the media in the research,” said Zoya Krasovska, the head of the research group.

We interviewed a total of 61 editorial boards through personal interviews. The research consists of 5 key blocks:

  • Geography of the research. Depending on the density of the media market and the current situation in the region, we chose 2 to 3 local or hyperlocal editorial boards.
  • Challenges. They are divided into several groups: safety, reputational, informational, and administrative.
  • Urgent: financial, equipment, safety, personnel, and psychological support needs.
  • The role of the media in wartime.
  • Conclusions and recommendations.

The vast majority of editorial boards — 53 out of 61 — identify ensuring financial stability as a necessity. Some signal the need as already relevant; some provide for such requests later. On the second place is the request for technical support.

10 editorial boards have urgent requests for security and psychological needs. For 9 editorial boards, the issue of personnel is acute. 3 editorial boards stated that they needed to improve living conditions.

Most editorial boards that were or still are very close to the front line indicate security and household needs. In general, these editorial boards voiced more needs, which was quite expected. The editorial staff from the second line of proximity to hostilities spoke the most about the staff shortage.

According to the research results, several kinds of local and hyperlocal media can be distinguished, depending on their ability to adapt to new conditions:

  • The most popular category is “The task of survival”.
  • The separate category is media working for an audience located in the temporarily occupied territory.
  • Another category is “To keep the level”.
  • The small but promising category is “To grow during the crisis”.

We proposed solutions in the research conclusions for each media category according to the types of their requests.

The research was conducted by the NGO “Lviv Media Forum” with the support of the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO).