Quality Media for Sensitive Audiences

The project aims to enhance the visibility and impact of high-quality independent media among an audience that lacks access to quality media, lacks skills in diversifying information sources, and is easily influenced by the harmful propaganda of media platforms.

Key points we wanted to convey within the project:

  1. Quality journalism is essential as it highlights the issues of people, communities, and society.
  2. Despite the internet providing everyone with the ability to share news and express their opinions and be heard, the importance of traditional media has not diminished.
  3. Media helps us avoid tunnel vision and receive alternative viewpoints and facts.
  4. The media we consume shapes our worldview. Honest media present information impartially, even when it contradicts prevailing opinions.
  5. The truth doesn't have to be comfortable. By choosing quality independent media, we become knowledge bearers, not just followers of ideas. Knowledge enables us to draw our own conclusions.
  6. A professional journalist seeks the truth rather than chasing readers' attention. They adhere to ethical principles, not owner interests.

Online Quiz

From December 29, 2021, to January 31, 2022, a nationwide online quiz was conducted among small and medium-sized communities (up to 100,000 population) in Ukraine. The "Media Quiz" was created to assess how well representatives of local communities understand the principles of media operation, comprehend the ethics of journalism, and can differentiate between quality media content and harmful content. To participate in the quiz and have their results counted, representatives of local communities had to answer 15 questions about media and fill out a brief form.

In the first stage, we identified 20 semi-finalists - communities with the highest number of participants who completed the quiz. In the second stage, we selected the top 10 communities that performed the best in the quiz.

The ten communities whose residents provided the most correct answers include:

  1. Horondivska, Zakarpattia Oblast.
  2. Enerhodarska, Zaporizhia Oblast.
  3. Kremenetska, Ternopil Oblast.
  4. Novoukrayinska, Kirovohrad Oblast.
  5. Sveska, Sumy Oblast.
  6. Kamianska, Zaporizhia Oblast.
  7. Rava-Ruska, Lviv Oblast.
  8. Velykopysarivska, Sumy Oblast.
  9. Tupyshivska, Chernihiv Oblast.
  10. Kostiantynivska, Kherson Oblast.

The ten winning communities received a choice of a projector or a multimedia board for local community spaces such as libraries, youth centers, and more.

Essay Contest for School Students

From December 28, 2021, to January 31, 2022, a nationwide essay contest called "How Media Changed My City/Village/Community" was held for students in grades 9-11. It was organized to remind society of the importance of quality journalism and independent media. To participate, students had to upload their essays in Ukrainian to a web platform created specifically for the project.

The contest finalists were selected by Andriy Lyubka (writer, translator), Olha Perekhrest (journalist, editor of special projects at "The Ukrainians"), Tetiana Teren (journalist, executive director of the Ukrainian PEN Club), and Hanna Ulyura (critic, literary scholar).

The winners of the contest were three children from Volyn Oblast and one child each from Zaporizhia and Kherson Oblasts. The children from Volyn Oblast received certificates from Rozetka for purchasing equipment, while those from the temporarily occupied territories of Zaporizhia and Kherson Oblasts received gift certificates from the Booyya brand.

Additionally, all the children gained access to educational programs from the contest's partners at Litosvita.

Business Supporting Quality Media

This component, implemented in partnership with the Kyiv School of Economics, aimed to encourage businesses to support quality journalism in Ukraine and not collaborate with media outlets that spread manipulative messages, employ brainwashing techniques, and promote propaganda.

Short Documentary Film

The Lviv Media Forum engaged five prominent public figures and opinion leaders from various spheres of life as ambassadors for the campaign. They participated in the creation of a short documentary film highlighting the importance of quality media for society and communities, showcasing both positive and negative examples.

Second Phase of the Project

At the onset of Russia's full-scale invasion, the project was suspended and later reformatted. From March to August 2022, the Lviv Media Forum implemented:

Establishment and opening of the Lviv Media Hub

The Lviv Media Hub serves as a charge station for the media community from the Lviv Media Forum. It provides a space for working with a team or individually, hosting events, and networking with colleagues. One of its unique features is regular networking opportunities for Ukrainian and international media professionals and creative industries.

The exhibition "Brave Witnesses: How Journalists Change the Course of War" had its main goal to tell the ordinary Ukrainians the stories of journalists and Ukrainian media outlets that provide us access to information, inform us about the frontlines and occupation, and allow us to share this with the world.

The exhibition showcased the stories of the work of 7 editorial teams and media professionals during the war: Suspilne.Kherson, Suspilne.Donbas, The Kyiv Independent, Yevheniya Maloletka, and Mstyslav Chernov, as well as the investigative editorial teams of Suspilne and Dmytro "Orest" Kozatsky.

Important components of the exhibition included a survey and an audio stand.

The survey, titled "Keep calm and don’t panic. What is your role in the information food chain," was developed in collaboration with "Detector Media."

The lack of information, facts, and expert assessments can negatively affect one's well-being. The main symptoms include confusion, fear, and disorientation. While there is no panacea for information overload or starvation, the solution is always balanced media consumption. Therefore, within the exhibition, visitors were invited to assess how responsibly they consume information and whether they need to reconsider their "diet."

The audio stand was organized in collaboration with The Ukrainians Media and featured audio clips from the podcast "Here and Now," created by the Ukrainian PEN as part of the Georgiy Gongadze Award in collaboration with The Ukrainians Media.

The ongoing war is covered and helped to make sense of by journalists. Their professionally seen and personally felt experiences are important to try to pass through. This is why visitors to the exhibition had the opportunity to hear personal testimonies from those who document and record stories on the frontlines and in the rear, those who broadcast from shelters, and media professionals who have joined the ranks of the Armed Forces.

The book "On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century" by Timothy Snyder

The graphic version of one of the most resonant works by American historian Timothy Snyder was created by Nora Krug, a German-American author and illustrator known to Ukrainian readers. The book was published in Ukrainian thanks to the collaboration of the publishers "Choven" and "Vydavnytstvo."

In a short time, "On Tyranny..." has become one of the most important books of recent years on the lessons of history that everyone should know. It is a relevant and concise journey through the 20th century, illustrating convincingly and accessibly the lessons of resisting modern authoritarianism. Timothy Snyder highlights global trends undermining democracy and writes about citizens' responsibility for current historical processes, creating an intellectual guide for a wide range of readers.

Research on the Needs of Local Media in the Conditions of War

The purpose of the research was to assess the needs of media outlets, how to meet those needs, how managers plan to continue their work, and how media can preserve themselves and their audience during these times.

Special Project with SPEKA.media

The special project involved the publication of materials aimed at combating fakes and disinformation, as well as debunking myths. Here are some of them:

  1. How Ukrainian fact-checkers spoil the life of the aggressor and what Russia lied about the most.
  2. Racist pages, darknet forums, and informant networks. Where does the information come from and how does the military analyst Igal Levin work?
  3. You can't remain silent: why communicate with the Russian audience and what to say to them. Almost anthropological notes from Natalia Yemchenko.
  4. How to recognize Russian fakes. Algorithm by VoxCheck (short version).

Special project on disinformation and information hygiene

As part of the special project, Otar Dovzhenko, an expert from the "Detector Media" organization and the head of the Independent Media Council, as well as an editor, journalist, and media trainer, prepared several materials on disinformation and information hygiene:

  1. Why there is no and should not be "the whole truth" in the media about the war.
  2. How to choose sources of information during wartime.
  3. How you can personally thwart Putin's most cunning plan.
  4. How not to be poisoned by Russian falsehoods.
  5. From every angle: Everything you need to know about the national telethon.

Materials were published on the platforms of media outlets belonging to the Western Ukrainian Media Network for Countering Disinformation: Zaxid.net (Lviv), Shpalta (Chernivtsi), KURS (Ivano-Frankivsk), Varosh (Uzhhorod), as well as by the media growth agency "Abo."

Training on Safety and Basic Medical Aid for Journalists

On April 8, 2022, a training on basic medical aid for Ukrainian journalists took place at the Lviv Media Hub. The training was organized by the Institute of Mass Information (IMI) with the support of the Lviv Media Forum.

Participants learned how to provide basic medical aid in a combat zone, discussed safety and communication systems during missions, and received individual IFAK (Individual First Aid Kit) kits.

The project "Quality Media for Vulnerable Audiences" is implemented by the NGO "Lviv Media Forum" with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Commonwealth Office of the United Kingdom.