To be Google and Siri for People: Svidomi about Journalism

To be Google and Siri for People: Svidomi about Journalism

Editor's note: We were preparing this material for the morning of June 6, as this is the day when journalists in Ukraine celebrate their professional holiday. Due to the explosion of the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Plant by Russians, we postponed the text.

Despite everything that has happened, Svidomi wants to introduce you to the people who are writing for you today, like on all previous days of the full-scale invasion and the Russian-Ukrainian war that has been going on since 2014, so that you learn about the situation and understand it.

The journalists of Svidomi tell their own stories about why they chose journalism and what problems they face during their work.

Anastasiia Kucher: Left journalism to join the Armed Forces of Ukraine

It often happens that what you love most happens to you by accident. That's what happened to me with journalism. I have loved writing since high school. At the age of 17, my parents encouraged me to study the humanities, so I chose journalism after school. In 2018, I moved to Poland to study. After majoring in Journalism, I returned to Ukraine, where I worked in internal communications at 1+1 Media Group.

However, I started working as a journalist for real in November 2021, when I joined the Svidomi team. At first, I wrote about the corruption of Ukrainian businessmen and officials, and with the beginning of the full-scale war, I started reporting from cities and towns shelled by the Russian military.

At that moment, I found myself in an environment with a sense of mission. This helped me to understand who I could be.

Both after the start of the Russian-Ukrainian war in 2014 and with the unfolding of its full-scale phase on February 24, I did not have the courage to join the army. Therefore, in the first months of 2022, I immersed myself in journalism.

I remember taking a course on first aid for civilians. When asked what my goal was, I said that I wanted to join the army in the future. After a couple of months of training as a combat medic, the decision to join the army was made.

For some time, I didn't talk about it out loud, but to keep my loved ones safe and to prevent the death of those who have someone waiting for them at home, I need to make every effort.

During the first weeks of the war, it seemed that life was beginning to fall apart: you felt like you would have no place to work and would be left without a civilian job. Journalists need self-education, and at the frontline, you don't have enough time and energy for that.

However, I cannot live without my profession and the environment I love. I understand that journalism is a synthesis of craft, art, and social activity.

After 4 months at the frontline, I realised that journalism is a long game for me. It is about the opportunity to influence what society can be like and what socio-political changes are important in the country.

Kateryna Vovk: To be Google and Siri for people

I like being a voice for our audience — telling people's stories, raising socially important issues. It's like being Google and Siri for people.


— This is a job that has no days off. Even on the days when I don't have any assignments, I still need to keep track of everything that is happening.

— We have to quickly adapt to the realities: in autumn, we tried to work without electricity, in May — under constant shelling of Kyiv.

Andriana Velianyk: The need to always stay in touch

I started unknowingly doing journalism in high school when I interviewed teachers for the school webpage. I realised that this is what I do best, and this is the area where I feel most useful.


— The moral aspect and working with traumatic stories: like it or not, it accumulates inside of you and exhausts you.

— Irregular work schedule and the need to always stay in touch.

— Limited access to information (government officials do not always communicate well and often do not respond to requests).

— Attitudes towards journalists: some people are prejudiced against us as corrupt manipulators because of stereotypes; others think that if you are a journalist, you are obligated to tell their story.

Anastasiia Kondrat: I am useful in journalism

I can't say that journalism was my choice. I am a political scientist, but it is harmoniously connected with this profession. But despite the fact that I always said I didn't want to be a journalist, I knew how to put words together a little. So on the first day of the full-scale invasion, I had to decide where I could be useful. That's how I ended up at Svidomi. I am useful here.


— Impostor syndrome: Do I write well? Do I work on a par with colleagues who, unlike me, have studied journalism? I cover this lack of experience with additional training.

— Burnout: I won't tell you anything new here, everyone is tired of our reality.

Oleksandr Ihnatenko: I often dream about the things I write about

I believe that every person has a destiny shaped by previous experiences. It so happened that while other children were playing outdoors, I was reading books and trying to learn as much as possible about the world by observing it. I believe that the best way for me to apply myself is to tell others about what I have learnt.


— I don't want to lie, misinform people, or just paint a simplistic picture of events. I need to keep reading, to strive for complete, detailed knowledge.

— I cannot afford to stop following the world around me. That's why there is no line between personal and professional life for me. I often dream about the things I write about. It's a challenge, but it's also an honour.