On the morning of Feb. 24, when Ukraine woke up in terror to the sounds of explosions and air raid alert sirens, many Ukrainians had to figure out what to do next or how to help Ukraine. I didn’t have to. I knew what we at the Kyiv Independent were going to do.
On that day, we switched our website to 24/7 news coverage and launched on several additional platforms. We were understaffed, with just enough money raised to sustain us for another half a year or so. But we also knew we had to do whatever we could to combat Russian propaganda and false narratives in the West as Ukraine was fighting for its existence.
And we knew we couldn’t possibly be in this fight alone.
The Kyiv Independent was set up just three months before the war started, after the owner of the Kyiv Post, a 26-year-old legacy English-language publication, closed the paper and fired the whole staff over a dispute about editorial independence. The Kyiv Post later reopened as something different, but its professional standards have been compromised forever. The gap left in the market by what Kyiv Post used to represent was filled in by the Kyiv Independent, founded by the former Kyiv Post editorial team and Jnomics Media consultancy.
As we were making the first steps in building a new company, we already knew that the only way to be truly independent is to rely on our readers' support. Back in November, we reached out to our community and got a warm response in donations and feedback. But with the new challenge ahead, it wasn’t nearly enough.
So when the invasion started, we called on our readers again, and that’s when we really knew we were not alone. Over 25,000 people have donated to our campaign on GoFundMe, and over 8,000 people now pledge monthly contributions on Patreon. As the support and readership was growing, we felt like thousands of people were standing by our side, joining our fight.
But as the war fatigue started settling in, many readers must have felt tired of a distant war in their news feeds. Our readership dropped for a while, and the growth slowed down.
Only our fight is far from over. The real danger comes when everyone starts looking away, and now it’s our job, as journalists, to ensure that the world’s eyes are still on Ukraine.
And as before, we can’t possibly do it without you.
We rely on your support for our financial stability, but it is not only about the money.
Now we need to find new ways to tell Ukraine’s story.
We are already working on bringing in more context by covering Belarus and are going to cover other countries involved in the war or affected by it.
And probably most importantly, we are looking to create solid alliances and form long-term partnerships that can help us amplify Ukraine’s voice.
So besides your financial contribution, we also need your feedback, expertise, and connections to counter Russian propaganda and bring the world truthful stories from Ukraine.
Knowing that you, our readers, had our backs as the enemy was attacking on all fronts, was the feeling that helped us through the shock and horror of the first few months of the war.
But we don’t have the right to stall now. We are in for a long struggle for the future of the free world, and we need you in our ranks. Join us today and help make Ukraine’s voice heard.