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Lviv Herald: A New Dawn

By Matthew Parish

I’ve decided to set up a new English language newspaper in Ukraine, with a collection of enthusiastic, knowledgeable, expert volunteer journalists. At least that’s how we’re going to start it, and then we’ll see how we get on. Why have my colleagues and I decided to do this? It’s because we think there’s a gap in the market. There’s a whole slew of events and news about Ukraine that isn’t getting out there into the wider world. Many of these stories are being reported, but only in Ukrainian or Russian and we think they’re important enough to be reported in English too. Because the world is focused on some other crises right now, like the conflict between Israel and Gaza, Ukraine has been pushed to the back of the news which is crazy because it’s already World War III. How can World War III be pushed to the back of the news? It’s nuts.

So what we’ve decided to do is to set up a new newspaper by experts about affairs Ukrainian, in English, that published a range of news, variety and comment that covers a range of political perspectives and opinions and tries to give some alternative insights into what’s going on in Ukraine and the country’s political interactions both internally and in the West. And we’ve decided to base it in Lviv, a city in western Ukraine that has fast become the second capital of the country, because it’s where the greater majority of the international community is based. There are a number of international journalists in Ukraine, but they’re almost all of them based in Kyiv. And if we’re frank we find a lot of their journalism lazy. What they do is they sit in five-star hotels in the nation’s capital, and they wait for the government to churn out press releases, and they publish them and call it news. And when you read the international newswires, a lot of what you’re getting is just this sort of material rehashed.

So we want to do something different. We want a full range of writers, from all walks of life, not just professional journalists, not just foreigners, not just Ukrainians, got a mixture of all sorts of people with all sorts of perspectives from across the Ukrainian political spectrum and from across the political spectrums outside Ukraine too. There’s a lot of misconceptions about Ukrainian politics: that it’s unified and harmonious, when in fact this isn’t the case and a lot of the gaps in Ukrainian politics are rather murky and they’re being papered over.

Also there are perspectives on what’s going on outside Ukraine and away from the front line, that are affecting Ukraine’s independence and future, and we’re not hearing much about those sorts of things. So we want to bring a wider range of debates and discussions into the press so that people engage in genuine and independent political debate: something of which Ukraine, but not Russia, has an admirable tradition.

Finally, there are a lot of stories of life on the front line, and the military activities in Ukraine and the progress of the war in Russia, that aren’t getting out to the West. These stories aren’t being told - at least, not in English. The regular journalists aren’t out East and South on or near the front line, except in organised convoys being shown the things the Ukrainian government wants them to see; and I have experienced that sort of thing first hand. So we want to bring first-hand news to a war that many people consider may go on for a considerable period of time.

We’re all profoundly enthusiastic about this project, and we want you to be able to read about the hopes and aspirations and fears and despair of ordinary Ukrainian people, real Ukrainian politics, and all the profound transformations that this country is going through at the current time. We also want to get people thinking and debating about the international transformations underway. Is Trump v Biden important for Ukraine, and if so how important? What about the role of China? What about that of India? What might come after Vladimir Putin? These are all questions that regular professional journalists don’t have answers to; some political analysts and intelligence people are thinking about these questions but we think the debate ought to be broader and expressed in language that’s easy to understand and engaging. So the Lviv Herald is going to publish news and analysis about Ukraine from a very specific point of view: from that of Lviv, Ukraine’s most Europeanised city and with an extraordinary history of polyglot multi-ethnicity. If you are a writer, and you want to give your time to this exciting new project, please contact us today.


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