UMBA’s report on the local media support during 2022.

Starting from February 24, 2022, UMBA directed all its efforts to support local media and preserve the local media market in the country.

The first to respond to the request for help was WAN-IFRA, which, thanks to the financial support of Schibsted, provided UMBA with two tranches for a total of 46,200 euros. Thanks to this support, UMBA supported 40 media companies (from national to the smallest local media). Thanks to this, more than 350 journalists continued to work and publish more than 100 print and digital independent Ukrainian media. In addition, it allowed the UMBA itself to exempt its members from paying membership fees for the first half of 2022.

UMBA drew the support of more than UAH 8 million (about 200 thousand dollars). Over 170 newsrooms were supported during the 10-month full-scale invasion. The total audience of these publications was more than 30 million.

Another area of UMBA’s work is quality communication in communities and transforming newsrooms into communication platforms to solve communities’ problems. Thanks to our activities, the editorial offices implemented 55 projects in their communities, which contributed to solving problems in communities. In 2022, UMBA attracted 17 new members: 16 local editorial offices and one national publisher.

Obkhvist Iryna, newspaper “Silska Novyna” (Village News), Valky, Kharkiv region

“We are sincerely grateful for the financial support from UMBA. For hyper-local media, such as the “Silska Novyna” newspaper, in conditions where advertising revenues have significantly decreased and expenses for printing and postal services have increased, such financial assistance is an opportunity to ensure a stable work of the enterprise to preserve the workforce, to pay the employees wages and to publish a new issue of the newspaper every week for the people and about the lives of the people of the community. This is extremely important now that the subscription campaign for 2023 has already begun, which, as we understand, will also be difficult. But the “SN” team is set on fruitful work. It has developed new interesting media projects, particularly for IDPs, of whom there are now about 20 thousand in the community, to attract forced migrants to the number of our readers and subscribers.

But we are also aware that the constant increase in the newsprint cost, printing and postal services costs also incurs additional expenses for the editorial budget. Therefore, without additional financial support under the current conditions, it will be extremely difficult to maintain economic stability and ensure regular issues of the newspaper. Consequently, we monitor grant proposals and prepare and submit applications to international donors, and we very much hope for further fruitful cooperation and support from UMBA.

Among the positive news is the resumption of the work of “Baldruk” printing factory, which was located in the occupied territory, with which we have had good partnership relations for more than 20 years, and which at the beginning of the year we paid for paper almost until the end of the current year. Having saved on the newsprint cost, we’ll be able to increase the newspaper’s coverage, which means preparing and publishing more interesting, useful, and relevant materials. Thanks to the acquired experience of distributing the electronic version of the newspaper, when the post office did not deliver printed media to the territory of the community in March-May 2022, more people became willing to subscribe to the e-newspaper for the next year, the issues of which do not require additional costs for printing and postal services. The number of advertisers is also gradually increasing. This means there are positive prospects for continuing the work in the future, informing our readers about the Victory of Ukraine and telling about the post-war development of the community and the state in the newspaper’s columns.”

Borys Chikalo “Prapor Peremogy” (The Banner of the Victory), Okhtyrka, Sumy region

“Financial support from the UMBA is extremely timely and relevant, and for a newspaper trying to survive in the Okhtyrka district bordering an aggressor country, it is doubly important. Thanks to financial support, it was possible to ensure the expenses for the salaries of editorial staff (without charges and taxes) in October and for printing the newspaper in October and most of September 2022. Given this, the newspaper, which seemed to have no prospects for its future existence and was on the verge of closure at the height of the Russian-Ukrainian war, could continue.

Support from UMBA is vital for the readers of the newspaper, for whom it lives because, for many of them, it remains the only source of reliable and essential information, which may save someone’s life or health, money, will help solve specific problems, etc., which is especially relevant in the conditions of martial law.

Support from UMBA also enables the newspaper publisher to continue to fulfil its obligations to subscribers. Since the subscription price of the publication was established for 2022, the costs of only one crucial component – newspaper printing – have almost doubled.

We are relieved that the newspaper “Prapor Peremogy” was preserved and that its publication has resumed among the first services in the territories in the war zone. That it is the only among the few, during this period, that has never reduced the number of columns to save money. And for this, the small staff of the newspaper’s editorial team is also very grateful to UMBA.”

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