Heart-Wrenching Stories Show the Importance of Media Coverage in Ukraine

From The Poynter Report with Tom Jones headlined “Heart-wrenching stories show the importance of media coverage in Ukraine”:

In between the important stories about Vladimir Putin’s actions, his threats, responses by NATO and, most of all, what is happening on the ground in Russia’s attack, we’ve seen countless gut-wrenching stories over the past several days that show the real impact of this senseless war.

And while nothing matches the bravery of the people fighting in Ukraine, the journalists there also are risking their lives to tell the stories that the world needs to know.

It’s impossible to chronicle all the incredible work being done by journalists throughout Ukraine and Russia, as well as Washington as this fluid story changes by the minute. To mention some and not mention others feels wrong.

But I will try to hit some of the highlights from what I saw.

I know I’ve seemingly been over-the-top in my effusive praise for CNN, but it really has become the go-to destination for Ukraine coverage. In particular, the reports from Matthew Chance and Clarissa Ward on the ground in Ukraine give viewers valuable insight into what is happening.

How do they do it? During an interview on CNN’s “Reliable Sources” on Sunday, Ward told host Brian Stelter about the team at CNN that is “combing exhaustively through all of the social media footage” who have been “working to geolocate it and place it in its appropriate context and have essentially been allowing us to try to get a better picture of what is happening on the ground when there are very real limitations on where and how we can move around.”

And then there is the danger in it all.

Fox News’ Trey Yingst told viewers, “We are doing well. We have a security team, an experienced crew that’s covered war all around the world and resources to cover the story holistically. Not only here in Kyiv, in Lviv, in Poland and around the world in Washington and our other bureaus. We are doing just fine and we’re focused on the people here in Ukraine and telling their story. Making sure we can shine a light in dark places.”

Speaking of “Reliable Sources,” Ekaterina Kotrikadze, the news director and anchor of Russia’s TV Rain — an independent station — said her station is already being censored by the government.

“(We’re under) huge threat,” Kotrikadze said. “It’s not easy to work here under these circumstances. We’re already declared foreign agents.”

Kotrikadze said she has received calls, presumably from the government, that she and her station needed to deliver only the “official version of this situation.” That includes not calling this a “war” but a “special operation.”

She added, “I don’t know how much longer we’ll be on the air.”

Then there’s the Kyiv Independent — which is producing amazing work. (Just check out their Twitter page.) WPTavern’s Sarah Gooding wrote, “The Kyiv Independent was created by 30 journalists who were previously employed at the Kyiv Post but fired for what they say was retaliation for exercising their editorial independence.”

And then we go back to the real human stories of this story. Take what happened on Fox News when “America Reports” anchor Sandra Smith was moved to tears when Ukrainian mother Olena Gnes, holding her baby, gave a tour inside a bomb shelter.

Gnes said, “Just a basement, and this is how it looks. … There you have more children, more people. We are sleeping on the chairs and floors and there is another corridor. So it’s not a fancy bomb shelter, it’s just a basement of a building. Some of them do not have even a normal floor. We washed it today, but most of the basements, they have just sand on the floor and there are no toilets. My sister is the deputy director at school and she’s the one responsible for the basement at her school. There are people and children who don’t have even toilets. They don’t have running water in their basement. We were not prepared for the war. We didn’t expect it to happen. It’s really crazy, because how can you be attacked like this if you didn’t do anything wrong? We were not attacking anyone and they came into our land and just started killing us. We need help.”

Here’s more on Russia-Ukraine:

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