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Monday, May 30th
by The Fix Team

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Since the beginning of Russia's full-scale invasion, millions of Ukrainians turned to Telegram for news. The messenger platform became a staple of people’s news diet thanks to the combination of its technical reliability, convenient interface, and chronological, non-algorithmic way to deliver latest updates. 

As the analysis by The Fix’s Anastasiia Shevchenko shows, key Ukrainian media outlets saw their audiences on Telegram skyrocket in the first 2-3 days of Russia’s open military invasion in late February. Ukrainian public broadcaster Suspilne saw the number of its Telegram subscribers increase by four times in the first day of the invasion alone. Overall, its channel grew by 33 times since January.

The Ukrainian government has also relied on Telegram, both to spread critical information (such as through official channels of government agencies like the parliament or security services) and to receive it (bots reporting movements of Russian troops became widespread). President Zelenskyy’s nightly video addresses often get millions of views. 

International media outlets also turned their attention to Telegram. Multiple news giants like The New York Times or Financial Times launched or re-launched their channels on the platform specifically to cover Russia’s invasion of Ukraine (see a listicle from The Fix). NYT now has over 70,000 followers on Telegram enjoying non-paywalled highlights of key developments in the Russia-Ukraine war. 

In Russia, Telegram plays an important role as well. On the one hand, it remains one of the few non-blocked venues for people to get uncensored information (Meduza, one of the biggest independent news outlets for the Russian audience that’s not ceased publication, has over 1.1 million followers). 

At the same time, state propaganda abounds on Telegram as well. Pro-Kremlin news outlet RIA Novosti amassed over 2 million subscribers; head of Chechnya and TikTok warlord Ramzan Kadyrov has even more. Local governments migrated from banned Instagram and Facebook to Telegram.

As Detector Media’s investigation shows Russia operates a network of Telegram channels for Ukrainian cities and towns “used to legitimise occupation of specific localities and impose control over the information environment,” spreading state propaganda and disinformation. The network is most active in the areas of southern Ukraine that Russia occupied in late February. 
From The Fix
How much do journalists think of readability? Also, it matters what kind of font you choose to use
David Tvrdon 
Plain language and website fonts affect the reading experience more than you think
War mode messenger: How Ukrainian media are relying on Telegram in the time of war
Anastasiia Shevchenko
Telegram messenger has been instrumental in keeping Ukrainian readers up to date with the flow of war-related news & updates
A journalist gains fame as a mystery writer
James Breiner 
It’s about finding the time, finding an agent, and relentlessly beating the drum
Local News Field Guide: Insights from one of the most successful local news outlets
The Local News Field Guide was established through Chalkbeat’s partnership with the Google News Initiative
What we are following 
Condé Nast is best known as publisher of high-profile magazines like Vogue, The New Yorker and GQ. However, its CEO recently said his firm is “no longer a magazine company”. As print advertising declined, Condé Nast started to move its biggest titles behind online paywalls. Kara Swisher of The New York Times interviewed company CEO Roger Lynch about the changes and his predictions on the future of print publications.

As media companies started returning to the offices, some firms have given up on company-wide office policies and left it up to team leaders to decide when and how their teams have to work from office. This approach has advantages, but it also creates pitfalls like concern about inequities between different teams. Digiday discusses the pluses and minuses of team-lead return to office. 

Some publishers fear the future of subscription models lies in the hands of a small elite who will be ready to pay. Does it? PressGazette presents the discussion between FT, Future, Mail Online and The Guardian leaders about the development of media funding.

Shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine, the country’s main TV channels united and started joint broadcasting. This joint marathon has since been signed into law and is expected to function until the war ends. While there are practical, security and political reasons for the channels working together, there are also fears around consolidation of power. Isobel Koshiw from The Guardian discusses how Ukraine’s TV channels came together and what are the dangers of the situation. 

Industry news
Two weeks ago, prominent Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was killed while covering clashes between the Israeli military and Palestinian gunmen in the West Bank. Last week, more evidence appeared that the Israli military might be directly responsible for Abu Akleh’s death.

As the CNN’s investigation concludes, “videos obtained by CNN, corroborated by testimony from eight eyewitnesses, an audio forensic analyst and an explosive weapons expert, suggest that Abu Akleh was shot dead in a targeted attack by Israeli forces.” Israeli authorities deny the country’s military deliberately targeting the journalist, and the Israeli government is conducting an investigation into the attack. 
Last week, winners of the Gongadze Award – one of the most prestigious journalism awards in Ukraine – were revealed. The prize went to journalists Mstyslav Chernov and Yevhen Maloletka, who gained prominence in March thanks to their world-renowned reporting from besieged Mariupol. They were the only international journalists remaining in Mariupol in early March; one of their most prominent pieces of reporting was covering a Russian attack on the maternity hospital in Mariupol. They left the city in mid-March.

The list of finalists for the 2022 Gongadze Award includes Serhiy Sydorenko, editor of media outlet European Pravda, and Tetyana Troshchynska, editor-in-chief of public broadcaster Suspilne Radio. (Georgiy Gongadze was a prominent Ukrainian investigative journalist who co-founded Ukrayinska Pravda, a major online news outlet. He was assassinated in 2000 because of his investigations into high-level corruption, marking the most prominent journalist killing in the history of independent Ukraine).
The BBC announced a slew of closures last week, moving some of its services to online-only – namely, CBBC, BBC Four and Radio 4 Extra. BBC News channel will be merged with BBC World; a number of World Service languages will be shifted to be digital only. The changes will erase about 1,000 jobs in the coming years. 

In recent years the organisation has faced financial issues amid the uncertainty over the future of its funding model. Notably, earlier this year the government announced it would freeze the licence fee – an annual tax paid by British citizens and a major source of funding for the British Broadcasting Corporation; the fee would not be increased before 2024, contrary to BBC’s requests. The cuts announced this week are the results of this policy, as well as the organisation’s shift into digital (the company’s announcement calls the changes a “plan to deliver a digital first BBC”). 
Opportunities and deadlines
Global Constructive Journalism Conference. Constructive Institute is conducting its annual conference focused around dialogue between journalists & broader society. Announced speakers include editors & managers from Bonn Institute, The Guardian, Google, The Times and more. The event will be happening in Bonn, Germany.
More Info:
Deadline: June 22

JournalismAI Academy for Small Newsrooms.  JournalismAI team at Polis, the journalism think-tank at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), invites journalists and media professionals from small newsrooms to participate in an online program. The Academy aims to help small newsrooms leverage the power of AI. The 8-week programme will run through September and October 2022; the programme is free of charge. 
More info:
Deadline: June 8

Partnership for Global Media Defence Fund. UNESCO is seeking partners for the Global Media Defence Fund to enhance media protection. NGOs, media/lawyer associations, media development agencies, foundations and noncommercial media institutions can apply. Selected organisations can request up to $35,000.
More info:
When: July 1

Job Openings

Director of Research. Hot vacancy alert! Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism is looking for a head of its research division. Key responsibilities include developing research strategy, building partnerships, managing the team of researchers and all the typical stuff you can imagine for this kind of role. The applicant should have a portfolio of research in media studies, experience with managing research projects and securing external funding. The role is full-time and based in Oxford.
More info:
Deadline: June 14

News Partnerships Manager, Global Partnership. Google is seeking a candidate who will be building news partnerships in the DACH region. Main responsibilities include sustaining relations with existing news partners in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland and building new ones. English & German fluency is among the requirements. The position is based in Hamburg or Berlin.
More info:
Deadline: Open till filled

Engagement Marketing Manager. The Associated Press invites applications for the position of Customer Engagement Executive. The successful candidate will have the ability to showcase editorial content across AP’s platforms and grow value through a training program. This means developing materials and coordinating engagement and training in collaboration with other teams. The position is based in London, UK. 
More info:
Deadline: June 1

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