New Media Development Group

Supporting Citizen Journalism in Ukraine

The New Media Development Group is a nonprofit organization committed to the development and operation of independent news and media in Ukraine and the former Soviet Union. The organization works to empower citizens, journalists, and initiatives in the creation and distribution of truthful and engaging reporting that reflects local issues and concerns.

Our mission is to help our readers understand how they can participate in local government, volunteer movements and reform. Too often, the local and regional government try to hide corruption. We have good relationships with democracy activists that are trying to change the way government works and we help them get their message out.

- Maria Davydenko
Founder of the Vchasno News Agency, a grantee of the New Media Development Group

In July of 2015, GPD Charitable Trust conducted a robust media assessment of Ukraine, identifying a critical gap in the media and information landscape of the Donbass region. The media survey found a significant deficit of news and information products targeted to Russian identifying and speaking Ukrainian citizens.

Ethnically identifying Russian Ukrainians are a key target of pro-Putin, Russian language propaganda widely available in the region via satellite TV. Without a strong, locally-driven dialogue, this propaganda is largely effective in stoking fears of unrest and the elimination of Russian cultural identity in the Donbass.

As a result, the media survey concluded that an effective media support strategy should focus on empowering local voices to talk about local issues, while improving the information infrastructure in front line communities.

Program Strategy

Support original, truthful, and engaging media content about issues that matter to engaged citizens

Empower professional and citizen journalists with training, content creation tools and grants

Improve the reach and distribution of supported content creators with best practices in social media analysis and promotion tools

Identify effective Russian language messaging strategies applicable in Ukraine and across Russia

Program Strategy

Support original, truthful, and engaging media content about issues that matter to engaged citizens

Empower professional and citizen journalists with training, content creation tools and grants

Improve the reach and distribution of supported content creators with best practices in social media, analysis and promotion tools

Identify effective Russian language messaging strategies applicable in Ukraine and across Russia

Grantees and Supported Activities

Vchasnoua.com

Russian speaking Ukrainian citizens in the Donbass and ATO zone are at high risk to Kremlin sponsored disinformation. Moreover, distrust of Kyiv based, Ukrainian language media in the Donbass is extremely high. Vchansoua.com, based in Donetsk Oblast, provides original, truthful, and engaging Russian language reporting on issues that matter to its Donbass readership. New Media Development’s partnership with Vchasno, now in its second year, has facilitated follow-on support from NED, USAID and the Thomson Foundation.

 

Ostro.org

The Russian backed regimes in occupied Donetsk and Lugansk Oblasts have established total control over media and news reporting. As a result, it is difficult, even for the OSCE and Ukrainian special services, to adequately monitor and analyze the real social, economic and political trends in occupied territories. Prior to the Russian invasion, Ostro.org was the most popular Russian language news resource in Donetsk and Lugansk Oblasts and continues to maintain a network of (now undercover) news and information sources in occupied territories. New Media Development is supporting Ostro.org in the reporting and editing of a bi-weekly, English language news and analysis publication specifically targeting trends in occupied territories.

Euromaidan Press

Euromaidan Press (EP) is an online English-language independent newspaper launched in 2014 by Ukrainian volunteers. EP focuses on events covering Ukraine and provides translations of Ukrainian news and expert analysis as well as independent research. Through its work, EP strives to bridge Ukraine with the English-speaking world. EP’s coverage spans Ukrainian politics, the war in eastern Ukraine and the peace process, economy, history, top stories, business opportunities, tourism, and more. We collect, rely on, and promote non-partisan, non-religious, non-biased information in our fight against the Russian disinformation campaign. Many EP stories are devoted to Ukrainian soldiers defending territorial integrity of our country’s eastern flank. New Media Development supports EP through a non-restricted grant supporting operating expenses.

 

Democracy Development Initiative

New Media Development supports citizen journalists in Ukraine with tools and training to create high quality, video, audio and photo reports through our grantee, the Democracy Development Initiative (DDI). DDI has established the School for Citizen Journalism (school-cj.org) which provides training and sponsors citizen journalism content creation contests. To date, over 120 participants have completed online, webinar and in person training seminars and over 97 video packages have been submitted to SCJ sponsored contests.

 

Election Monitoring and Reporting

New Media Development has partnered with the Ukraine Center for Social Data to develop a smartphone based platform to document and report on election activities and election law violations. The app will be integrated with an electronic learning management system (LMS) that will teach volunteer election monitors how to recognize violations and create legally admissible reports on their smartphones for real time transmission to interested election stakeholders. A test of the app and LMS will be completed with local elections if the spring of 2018.

 

Армія FM

In 2015, Ukraine Armed Forces (UAF) General Staff, with support from DOD, developed and adopted an integrated Strategic Communications Strategy. A key element of the strategy was the establishment of a radio station with programming responsive to the information and entertainment needs of front line soldiers. Unfortunately, UAF were not able to finance radio station start-up. New Media Development, in conjunction with Spirit of America, funded the construction and equipment of a dedicated radio studio, and the first four transmitters located in the ATO zone.

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