New Initiatives

Donbass Media Support

In 2016 and 2017 the GPD Charitable Trust will support democracy-building in Donbass by empowering citizens and journalists with small grants that support the creation and distribution of truthful and engaging reporting reflecting local issues and concerns.

Context

Russia’s information attacks on Ukraine are real, effective and call for defense. Russian language and identity predominate in “separatist” Donbass. National Ukrainian media is largely dismissive of Donbass issues and Russian language programming.

Effective defense in Donbass is support for Russian language media content reflecting local concerns through truthful and engaging reporting.

Ukrainian civil society, including Donbass, is well developed, diverse and social media savvy. However, Donbass civil society lacks resources and access to traditional media. Kyiv-centric donors support Kyiv-centric media programs that often do not reflect Donbass concerns. Identification and support of Donbass journalists / activists with the talent to create engaging media content must be Donbass-centric, not Kyiv-centric.

Effective defense in Donbass requires a multi-channel content distribution capability reflecting real media consumption patterns.

The Donbass information market is highly segregated by media type, geography, age and class. Cable internet/Wifi is widely available in larger towns, but there is no mobile internet (anywhere in Donbass) or cable internet near the conflict zone. Over the air radio and television transmissions do not cover large areas of the conflict zone. Made in Moscow satellite programming is almost universally available. Local population demographics skew strongly towards older females. Small town and rural residents favor local small-run, weekly newspapers. The potential for advertising revenue is very low.

Expected Outcomes

Network

Establishment and support of a network professional journalists, citizen journalists and activists engaged in reporting on Donbass issues.

Free Russian version of StoryMaker content creation app

StoryMaker s an integrated android application for creating multi-media news reports. Citizen journalists can capture, edit and upload reports on their smartphones in a fully integrated, digitally secure environment.

Content

Reports created with the StoryMaker app will be freely available to partner news agencies and websites as standalone reporting or as a reporting resource. GPD Charitable Trust also supports original professional reporting via grants to news agencies (Vchasnousa.com, Ostro.org, ArmyFM).

Distribution

GPD Charitable Trust grants empower independent news agencies across internet, air, social media, and print channels to distribute truthful and engaging reporting on important issues in Donbass.

Audience

Very little, aside from anecdotes or agenda driven polling, is known about the information market in Donbass. GPD Charitable Trust activities support feedback between audience and content makers, creating a data based profile of the interests and concerns of Donbass citizens. As a self-identified Russian market, Donbass data is highly correlated to Russian Federation information markets and audience profiles.

Scalability

The Russian Language StoryMaker app, online training materials and user generated content can be easily integrated into partner sites across regional and national boundaries.

Follow-on grant opportunities

GPD Charitable Trust seed-stage giving provides official and established donors with actionable Donbass media support opportunities.

Current Grantees

Vchasnoua.com

A Russian language new site based in Kranoarmesk (approximately 50 km from the front-line) featuring original, multi-media content about Donbass issues. Vhasnoua.com has demonstrated high journalistic standards, penetrating local news coverage and a principled editorial policy.

Spirit of America – Army FM

Ukrainian Armed Forces radio specifically programmed to reflect the needs of soldiers on the front line. UAF personnel and families are the highest priority and most vulnerable population to Russian information operations.

Democracy Council / Citizen Journalism Empowerment Project

CJEP will identify and support of Donbass citizen journalists / activists with the talent to create engaging multimedia stories about their communities and concerns. High quality StoryMaker app and other content will be promoted via SMM, news agency correspondents and over the air media. CJEP is highly scalable and easily adaptable for citizen election monitoring.

Press Officer training

Truthful and engaging reporting from a war zone requires a trained and competent UAF Press Officer Corps capable of providing journalists with clear, concise and authoritative information. The most effective Russian Information Operations have exploited UAF Commanders’ poor communication skills.

Ostro.org

Largest Donbass news site (by hits). GPD Charitable grant supports development of a newly re-designed site featuring StoryMaker generated content.

Partnership Opportunities

Partnering with the GPD Charitable Trust provides engaged donors with a cost-effective, verifiable, data driven opportunity to resist Russian Information Operations by supporting truthful and engaging Russian language reporting.