Half year report 2020


If 2020 was a working video call, it would be the kind we have all experienced where everything went wrong: several people all start talking at once, important statements get cut off or frozen because of a bad internet connection, and people can’t hear each other over the sound of barking of dogs, loud children, repair work in a neighbouring apartment, or even just a muted microphone. The global crisis of COVID-19 moved us to a playing field where no one knew the new rules of the game, but decisions had to be made immediately.

The cancellation of live events and moving them online, the introduction of new remote meeting formats, the quick launch of new projects — the first half of 2020 brought us no shortage of challenges. It's time to lay out all our initiatives for a final videoconference and hear (hope this time without any obstructions) how our projects managed to adapt to the new reality.


For regional journalists who lost their jobs due to the corona crisis, we launched the Stay in the Profession scholarship program. Six job-seeking sites —,, the LobbyX, Reworker, and — supported our initiative and shared information about it on their pages at no charge. Out of nearly 100 applications, we selected 30 journalists across the country to received grants to produce materials about positive changes in their communities.

In addition, 38 journalists received mentoring support and scholarships to create materials using the principles of solutions journalism. The crisis made this genre even more relevant to the media, as it doesn’t just describe problems, but illustrates examples of effective ways of solving them.

In order to help editorial offices adapt to the new pandemic working environment, we developed and held an online course called “Crisis and the Work of Editorial Offices: Implementing Opportunities for Journalists”. We had 172 media professionals register for 6 modules of the course, and the recordings of webinars and video lessons with our #CrisisAsChance hashtag gained more than 80 000 views on Facebook and YouTube.

We also presented other useful online events: Olga Kudinenko's webinar “Fundraising for the Media” and a discussion with leading media professionals titled “How to Cover the Activities of Terrorists in the Media”. They attracted almost 100 journalists in Zoom and more than 17 thousand viewers on Facebook.

Our online summer school Mediazlit had a full house: we received 357 applications from beginner journalists looking to meet the modern challenges of the profession. Over the course of three months, 70 selected participants studied theory and practice from 30 experienced trainers and media experts.


In recent years, especially after the elections in 2019, anti-western narratives have been increasingly distributed in the Ukrainian information space. In order to fight this anti-democratic revanche, our analysts began regular publication of a digest of anti-Western messages (in Ukrainian and English). These digests were published on,Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, and the UkraineWorld website, where together they garnered more than 25 000 views and reached 125 000 users on Facebook and Twitter.

Together with the Academy of the Ukrainian Press, we prepared and published a manual for teachers) titled “Educational Practices for the Prevention of Infodemic, or How Not to Isolate Yourself from the Truth”. It was developed in partnership with the Ukrainian Ministry of Education and Science and aims to foster schoolchildren's critical thinking and media literacy.

During the pandemic, conspiracy theories have begun to gain even more popularity. The TrollessUA cyber elves community, which has put together a list of malevolent Facebook accounts already numbering 4406, continued to hunt trolls and to raise awareness. Among its successes was a viral video about why not to trust anti-vaccine trolls. In addition, TrollessUA has launched a chatbot for the more convenient and rapid detection of trolls on Facebook.

Eight instructors from the Netherlands, the Czech Republic and Ukraine shared their experience in exposing fakes with Ukrainian journalists and analysts. Our workshop, titled “Antibot: How to Resist Information Manipulation”, brought together 79 participants on Zoom for basic and advanced workshops. Another 15 000 users watched our educational videos online.


Our 24 years of analytical expertise and cooperation with regional journalists helped us to prepare our 2020 Ukrainian Regional Media Guide, a comprehensive review of the media landscape of Ukraine’s regions. It is the first report of its kind, and is published in English to make it accessible to analysts around the world. It contains information about 400 publications from all 24 regions of Ukraine, including the temporarily occupied territories.

The Ukrainian media landscape is dynamic, so we plan to publish regular thematic updates. In the first one, our analysts discussed the challenges the corona crisis has brought to the regional media industry and how outlets have responded to them. Follow the link to read our analytical review “How Ukrainian Regional Media Is Surviving In the Corona Crisis”.


For the EU-UNDP’s parliamentary reform project, we worked on strengthening the communication capacity of the Verkhovna Rada’s committees. For five months, our experts taught the staff of the committee secretariats about modern communication techniques, such as writing texts for different target audiences, working with visual content, using social networks, interacting with the media, and communications. This support has yielded significant improvements in the Facebook performance metrics of committees’ pages: as a result of their use of streams and modern interactive formats, the coverage of some pages has increased by a factor of nearly 20.

We worked on communications for the NUS reform (New Ukrainian School). In particular, we prepared 80 short media materials and 10 longreads about the key components of the reform, including child-centred education, a pedagogy of partnership, values education and development of the competence among pupils. These materials were published in national online media (Ukrayinska Pravda,, ZN.UA), as well as in specialised sites for parents (,, The publications reached a total audience of 330 000 readers. Our Facebook communication campaign reached an additional more than 1.3 million users.

As part of the EU project “PRAVO-Justice”, we prepared a communication strategy for the Ukrainian Ministry of Justice based on psychosemantics, which the Ministry is already implementing in its activities. We helped to present complex topics such as probation services and private executors to the public in two engaging, easy-to-understand videos. These two videos garnered more than 150 000 views on Facebook. We also developed communications and a visual identity for the Facebook page of the Department for the Execution of Criminal Sanctions.

Credits, loans, percentage rates — no, these aren't how we survived quarantine, but they have become one of the directions of our work. That’s because in 2020, we started providing communications support for the representative office in Ukraine of the European Investment Bank. Now, its Ukrainian office has reliable communications support with a consultant that helps them communicate the most important messages of the EU’s state financial and credit institution in Ukraine.


Our English language publication UkraineWorld continued its work telling the world about Ukraine. More than 35 000 readers followed the course of the COVID-19 pandemic in Ukraine on a special page, Coronavirus in Ukraine, which features LIVE updates.

During the first half of 2020 our team prepared:

  • 38 articles,
  • 9 infographics,
  • 10 videos,
  • 12 podcasts.

Articles by UkraineWorld journalists were published in foreign publications, including Atlantic Council, Kyiv Post,,,, Ukraine Verstehen.

UkraineWorld experts served as co-organizers and participants of a discussion at the Kyiv Security Forum titled, “Who Is at War Against Global Democracy?”. The online broadcast of the event was watched by 23 000 viewers.


Experts from our DSS380 project enhanced their reputations as digital security specialists: their 8 articles for and MC.Today garnered 24 000 views. In addition, dozens of national and regional media outlets reached out to DSS380 for their expertise.

Three local media outlets — Tribune (Rubizhne), VezhA (Vinnytsia), Soderzhanie (Poltava) — improved their cybersecurity thanks to 14 consultations with DSS380 specialists.

The project started a series of regular Friday Security Night events, where participants can improve their knowledge of security in the digital world. The online event “7 tips how to protect your data and money on the Internet” attracted 1500 viewers.

DSS380 experts also produced 10 short videos about basic digital security rules, which were viewed by over 30 000 Facebook users.

The only web-based Internet freedom publication in Ukraine,, published 325 thematic materials. The Internet Freedom Ukraine Facebook page began publishing successful videos: their 4 videos (on sanctions against Russian web resources, disinformation and COVID-19, data protection, and technology and COVID-19) received 127 500 views.


The “Fit your life in a suitcase” exhibition about the experience of internally displaced people opened in Zaporizhzhia, but was forced to cancel due to quarantine. But the problems of internally displaced persons have not gone away, so we continued to share them on online platforms. There were 37 materials published in national and regional media with stories of resettlers, and an informational Facebook campaign with the hashtag #LifeAnew reached more than 440 000 users.

We have also adapted the video for 360 format, so everyone can feel the atmosphere of the installation even through the screen of a laptop or phone.

Our interactive VR-installation “Propagandarium” was supposed to start its work at the end of March in Zaporizhzhia, but it was forced by the pandemic to #StayHome and switched to being an educational Facebook event. 9 thousand users were vaccinated against fakes and increased their immunity to manipulation.

As part of the Building Europe in Ukraine project of the Delegation of the European Union, we launched a YouTube channel. Before the pandemic, people interested in the opportunities offered to Ukraine by the EU would participate in our in-person events all over the Ukraine, but now we are happy to host them in our online webinars. Entrepreneurs, public activists, government officials, and students have been inspired by success stories and have received relevant information about EU programs in Ukraine.


Four Ukrainian editorial offices are improving their content as part of our AUDS (Audience Understanding and Digital Support) project. The outlets launched two newsletters: with the best texts from the world's top media outlets and the Healthy People's News newsletter — with daily news about Ukraine and the world. Volyn Online is working on their #BusinessStrong series about successful female entrepreneurs, and is also preparing to launch a paid content section on its website. This is one of the first regional media outlets in Ukraine to start offering paid content for readers. The online magazine for mothers Promum plans to produce a series of materials about “ecological divorce” and become a platform for discussing this topic in society. The online outlet Come Back Alive will launch a series of podcasts about the rehabilitation of soldiers and stories of the great deeds performed during the anti-terrorist operation in Donbas. In connection with the Corona crisis, these outlets will also receive supplementary grants to take care of urgent financial issues.

58 materials were produced as part of the Ukraine+ and Neighbors projects, which strengthen the exchange of multimedia content between European and Eurasian countries. An additional grant for Ukrainian editorial offices will help them to cope with the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. This money will be used to prepare stories about the impact of the Corona crisis on Ukrainians’ lives. These materials will be produced by media from all 12 countries participating in the project. This will allow readers to see a complete picture of the new post-pandemic world in human faces, experiences and stories.

Five editorial offices from the South and East of Ukraine optimised their content strategies, which boosted their reach. As a result of their changes, Kramatorsk Post increased its audience by 23%, Kavun.City by 25%, and Slobidskyi Kraj by 70%. The traffic on the Mariupol TV-7 website grew rapidly and reached a stable point of more than 300,000 views per day, and the news site significantly improved its video viewing rate. These outlets achieved their successes thanks to mentoring support as part of the Media Program in Ukraine.


During the first six months of 2020, our team worked on the implementation of 15 projects. We organised and held 44 events, 28 of them online. These events brought together 900 participants and garnered 72 500 online views. During this period, 31 358 users visited our website and 1359 new subscribers began following our Facebook and Instagram pages. We released 33 videos and also issued 212 grants and small scholarships to media outlets.

It was a busy half year, but it's time to dive into new challenges and projects.

Thank you for being with us and keeping in touch!