Ukraine shows the impact of journalists in wartime


Art by Anna Fidelke

Elizabeth Yao, Staff Writer

Photojournalist Maksym Levin was found dead on the northern outskirts of Kyiv. Levin first went missing in March after reporting in the midst of combat unarmed, wearing a jacket with the word “PRESS” on it. Levin’s cause of death was believed to be because of Russian gunfire. But Levin’s story isn’t unique. He was one of over 6 brave journalists killed while covering the Ukraine conflict. While each individual has their own unique story, all these people are connected with the common goal of documenting this horrific moment in history from the eyes of the people. 

While Ukrainian soldiers are fighting to protect their nation, journalists have been leading their own resistance in covering the conflict, protesting, and taking other stands as a means to provide aid and combat the Russian invasion. In times of war, the need for journalism is more prominent than ever. As these horrific events are covered, objective reporting brings publicity to victims, introducing support that would otherwise not be present. 

We’ve seen examples of journalism bringing people together across the world to provide support. In 2015, an image of Alan Kurdi, a young Syrian refugee washed up on a beach, circulated across global news. The shocking photo documented by Turkish journalist Nilufer Demir prompted a dramatic increase in concern and support for the Syrian refugee crisis. After the image circulated, organizations like The Migrant Offshore Aid Station received a record breaking 15 fold increase in donations. 

Images that have come out of the Ukraine conflict have done the same and helped the world connect with the victims. This can be seen in Ukraine with the heartwrenching photo of a pregnent woman in a stretcher after the ​​Mariupol maternity hospital was bombed, later revealed that both the baby and the mother died shortly after being transfered to a different location. It’s pictures like this that have sparked mass outrage which has contributed to enormous donations in both monetary and physical equipment. 

Journalism has kept the Ukraine-Russian war in the public eye since the start of the war back in February, documenting the truth and combating rapant Russian propaganda. War crimes perpetrated against Ukrainian civilians would go unreported if it weren’t for the work of independent, courageous wartime journalists. It is not a surprise that the Russian government is reportedly kidnapping and holding Ukrainian journalists hostage. Journalists are an influential tool in promoting democracy which the totalitarian government in Russia is actively trying to crack down upon and suppress. 

Journalism serves as a tool to give a voice to people who would otherwise be unheard, bring light to incidents that people are trying to hide, and highlight the severity of situations.

It’s critical to support independent journalism outlets that are a rarity during wartime, such as the Kyiv Independent. 

At the center of the conflict, the Kyiv Independent is a publication working hard to tell factual stories about the war. As an independently run news outlet, they lack the necessary funds to continue operations, making their ability to report news difficult. 

“We need to do more than just resist. Ukraine is fighting a battle for the world,” the Kyiv Independent’s GoFundMe said. “It deserves to have its story [told:] the challenges and victories, the villains and heroes. We want to tell that story.” 

As the war rages on, many are doing their part to aid those affected by the devastating war and it’s our job to support them in any way we can. Through journalism, we prove the idea of strength in numbers and the power of speech. History is currently being written where journalism will forever hold historical significance.