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Between Professionalism and Activism: Ukrainian Journalists in Search of Professional Identity. Implications for Democratization of Post-Maidan Ukraine

EuroMaidan protests and a subsequent chain of dramatic events, including Russia’s annexation of Crimea, conflict in Eastern Ukraine and painful movement towards democratization and reforms, affected political elites and citizens alike. Ukrainian media and journalists have also faced crucial challenges in their daily work, given exceptionally complicated and tense environment in the country. Tensions on Maidan drove many Ukrainian journalists into activism, resulting in blurred boundaries between journalism and activism. The war in Eastern Ukraine put additional pressure on media and induced many more journalists to engage in various forms of activism (starting from collection of donations to help the Ukrainian Army and ending in establishing shelters for internally displaced people). On top of that, unprecedented number of Ukrainian journalists ran for parliamentary elections in 2014, explaining their shift to politics by the willingness to transform and democratize the state ‘from within the system’.
Many of those who remained in the profession, however, have also become active in politics. Facebook has emerged as a key platform where journalists along with activists push for reforms, advocate for causes and try to hold politicians accountable. In the conditions of post-Maidan transition of Ukraine, many journalists thus have turned into actors driving democratization of the country. At the same time, blurring of boundaries between journalism and activism has led to a serious crisis of professional identity. The presentation will explore re-negotiation of professional standards and values in present-day Ukrainian journalism, discuss new directions in journalism culture and their possible impact on democratization of post-Maidan Ukraine.
Dariya Orlova is a Senior Lecturer and media researcher at the Mohyla School of Journalism (National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, Ukraine). She received her PhD in Mass Communication in 2013 from the Autonomous University of Barcelona and National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy with a thesis on "Representation of 'Europe' in the Mediatized Discourse of Ukrainian Political Elites." Dr. Orlova recently has been working on several research projects, including comparative analysis of media coverage of the conflict in Eastern Ukraine and exploration of the evolving changes in Ukrainian journalism culture after EuroMaidan. Her research interests include: political communication, media transformations in post-Soviet countries, journalism culture, media and national identity. She is also an editor of the Ukrainian website of the European Journalism Observatory network and used to work as a journalist for the leading English-language publication in Ukraine, Kyiv Post.



Friday, May 13, 2016. 12:00 PM


Encina Hall West, Room 219


CREEES Center for Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies




RSVP requested.
This event is open to Stanford affiliates.