Ukrainian tech publications pivot to cover the war and provide survival advice

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Vera Chernish is the managing editor of three of the largest technology and business news publications in Ukraine – MCtoday, ITCUA and Highload. Chernyshe has seen a change in her own reality since Russia’s invasion and invasion of Ukraine in February, but she quickly made business decisions to shift her entire business operations to boot-on-the-ground reporting, covering the latest technological trends.

“On [February] 21, I woke up and I saw that the news of the war was broken. I slept in bed for three hours and watched videos of rockets and my teammates discussing what’s going on, “Chernish said. “Then I realized that I needed to get up and be strong in this situation. So, I gathered the team on call. On one of the initial zoom calls, I saw a tank pass by one of our employees’ windows in the morning. ”

In the same call, Chernish told his team that, first and foremost, they are journalists, and the country is now calling on them to tell their stories and get people accurate information as quickly as possible.

Tech releases give news for survival

The three publications, made up of 70% women and 40 journalists in total, typically focus on emerging technical and business news in Ukraine and reach four million readers monthly. Now, with the shift to articles on ground war coverage and how to get involved in the victory and defense of Ukraine, the company’s readership has reached nearly half a million readers every day.

Instead of writing articles about what happened when Apple’s next tech was announced on March 10, Chernish and his technology reporters wrote articles about how to build temporary shelters inside residential flats, how to get out safely if there is a shelling. Started. And how to stay healthy if a chemical blast occurs.

The group also began writing pieces to help those who had fled the country and focus on what to do as refugees because many Ukrainians had not fled to Europe, Chernyshe said.

No. Two journalists Taxes Cherinsh’s team is working from inside the Ukrainian bomb shelters.
Photos by Vera Chernish.

Some Chernish staff members and journalists are writing and reporting daily from bomb shelters equipped with Wi-Fi across Ukraine. One of the media company’s game editors is now part of the Ukrainian Territorial Defense.

“Our games editors get up at 6 am and work part-time in regional defense. He does what he has to do there and then after lunch, he comes back and works as a journalist and writer from the bomb shelter, “said Chernyshe.

Other technology journalists were able to flee to safety in the surrounding countries and, after arriving as refugees in a safe place, continue to report and write for MCtoday, ITC.UA and Highload.

The two women journalists had not heard of Chernish for several weeks, but have since been confirmed safe.

Cyber ​​attacks on Russian and Ukrainian media

A few days after the coverage pivot, the company, like many other media publications, was targeted by Russian authorities, possibly by cyber-attacks, to control the message of war information coming in and out of the country, Chernyshe said.

“Initially, we did not know what to do. They were trying to shut down our website, but we have a good support team responsible for our cyber security. They [made adjustments] And our website has not stopped running [for long]”I believe [the attacks occurred] The first five days and since then it’s fine. ”

Chernish said that after the attack on their media publications, IT professionals strengthened protocols such as blocking the ability to register on media websites, for example, if an attacker tries to gain access by registering for an account to comment.

Since the war began, cyber attacks have targeted not only the Ukrainian media, but also government agencies and websites, telecoms and large-scale distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) financial and military institutions.

The way forward for Ukrainian tech media

A return to technology coverage is unlikely in the coming days as the war in Ukraine continues, but Chernish and his team are determined to do what they can as a company to equip their neighbors and fellow Ukrainian citizens with accurate reporting. And information to help them stay alive, unite as a community and unite to fight as effectively as they can.

An incident at a journalist’s house after being hit by a rocket.
Photo by Vera Chernish.

“My dream is that very soon, very soon we will stop writing about the war and go back to telling the stories of the wonderful Ukrainians who have created technology businesses,” Chernyshev said. “For this dream to come true, our media has to survive till victory. [We need others to] Help us to survive for the sake of Ukraine and to continue doing journalism in a free Ukraine. “

Since the war began, advertising revenue for publications has stopped, as have other general operations throughout the region. The invisible battle Chernish and his team are now facing, in addition to tanks, bombs and rockets, provides funding to continue their news coverage.

“I think it’s important to show that, and I don’t know if it’s shown enough in the Western media right now, that the Ukrainians are really positive,” she said. “Of course we are suffering a lot, but everyone here is doing something to win. For example, some programmers became soldiers and those who were not organized and volunteered in different tech initiatives. We are all doing something for victory.

During this time Chernish and his team have begun to raise funds to support their media companies. More information can be found on the fundraising landing page.

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