Foreign Reporting

The foreign reporting in Russia is mainly covered my major news outlets in different countries throughout Europe and in America. Because Russia is a huge country in Europe, its politics, economy, and social infrastructure sets a tone for the rest of the European countries.

What Papers Regularly Cover Russia?

The main media coverage of Russia comes from the United States, the United Kingdom, Ukraine, and Belarus. Most of the reporting comes from countries that surround Russia while other news papers give it weekly if not daily coverage because of its size and relevance within international affairs.

  • The Guardian– featured in the World European News, a paper based in the United Kingdom
  • The New York Times– featured in the international section of the paper based in New York City, NY, USA
  • The Telegraph– featured in the World News section of the paper based in the United Kingdom
  • Kyiv Post– A Ukrainian daily that features Russian news in its own section (segregated from the World News section)
  • Belarus in Focus– features Russian updates in the international relations section of the paper based in Belarus

Each paper highlights Russian news differently. Most of the newspapers that are mentioned about cover all types of news stories from big to little. This means that there are human interest stories that are covered as well as big political and economical news. All of the papers above cover Russian media daily, besides the Belarus in Focus.

Something I found to be interesting while researching the various foreign news coverage of Russia is that the countries closest to Russia do not seem to have much coverage of the country that has a lot of influence over their country such as Belarus and Kazakhstan. However, I was not surprised to find out that the Ukrainian paper covers Russia like it would its own country.

The main papers I would like to focus on is The Guardian, The New York Times, and the Kyiv Post.

The Guardian

First, lets discuss The Guardian. This newspaper has freelance reporters working in Moscow that report locally for the majority of their stories. Also, they have staff reporters who live in Moscow and work for other editorials as well as staff reporters back in the UK who report remotely. Some stories you can tell are over-the-phone interviews, while others are more raw because they are doing the reporting in Russia themselves. There are very few if any wire stories relating to Russia for The Guardian.

The depth of coverage The Guardian gives Russia is quite extensive. They report on everything from news, politics, economy, to opinion pieces, arts and literature, and even Russia’s connection with other countries. The difference in the story is colored coded by the headline and photo that accompanies the story, so you can tell what type of news you are engaging with.

The Guardian is owned by The Guardian Media Group and its parent company is Scott Trust Limited, according to Google search. The Guardian is one of the largest papers in the UK and is highly respected among Europe. The Guardian expresses interest in Russia because it is one of the largest countries in Europe and it is a very powerful country that requires monitoring and accurate reporting of its endeavors.

The way The Guardian reports sets a standard for smaller papers in the UK as well as other papers in Europe. Some of their papers become wire stories at other news organizations throughout Europe. So, how they report and the bias/influence they bring to their stories highly affect how foreigners view Russia and how Russia’s international presence is recognized across the world. The Guardian is one of the main leaders in Europe to report on Russia and it is one of the most reliable sources in terms of accurate information with a limited bias.

The New York Times

Next, The New York Times (or the NYT as I will abbreviate it.) The NYT has staff reporters in New York that write about Russia, however some journalists do collaborate with other foreign reporters to get the story such as an American-Ukrainian or American-German journalism duo. So, most of the big stories do have a collaborating foreign journalist that helps with the information. This means that the NYT works with freelance journalists and staff reporters at the New York based paper.

Most of the papers that are done based in New York, are paraphrases of what was released from an official or phone interviews of people featured in the story. However, the photos that are used in almost every news story is a wired photo from Reuters or AP. None of the photos that are featured are taken in Russia themselves.

The depth of coverage from the NYT is not as extensive as The Guardian, but it does produce daily news stories about Russia. Most of the coverage is about big news events such as politics, social issues, or the economy that are highlighted in various other newspapers. There are a few exceptions of local stories with the help of freelancers that covers Russia.

The NYT is owned by The New York Times Company and founded by Henry Jarvis and Raymond George Jones. The NYT is a well established American daily that is highly referred to among people around the world. It is known for its in-depth coverage and investigative reporting. Because of its worldwide presence, the NYT strives to cover all important topics around the world. Russia is of interest because of its ties to the US and the highlights of political disdain between the two countries. Also, Russia has a huge stake in Europe in which is of high interest to the US in general.

The coverage of the NYT is very influential because it sets the tone for reporting in the US and guides other big papers in North America. There are other papers in the US region and in Mexico and Canada, but they do not report as much on Russia as the US does, mainly the NYT.

Kyiv Post

Lastly, lets talk about the Kyiv Post. The Kyiv Post is a daily that operates in Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine. The paper has a few freelance reporters but they mainly have staff reporters that publish wire stories from other media organizations. The stories that are published by the staff writers in Kyiv are either reporters from Ukraine themselves or they are former Russian reporters that were seeking more press freedom. The Kyiv Post does not do on-scene reporting from what I can conclude from my research.

Most of the coverage from the Kyiv Post that is featured is wired stories of large news events that cover political, social, and economic issues. But, the interesting part of this paper is that the limited coverage that the staff reporters write on Russia, are mainly local stories and hot topics within the local community in Russia. So, even though there is not a whole lot of Ukrainian coverage on Russia by the paper themselves, they do include something that other papers do not: the local scene.

Even though there is a local feature to the Kyiv Post, most of the reporting is done by the phone, or from knowledge of a source or reporter that has previously lived in Russia. THe Kyiv Post is owned by Mohammad Zahoor who is a British citizen that formerly worked in Donetsk, Ukraine. The paper is operated through Zahoor’s Public Media company. Zahoor took over the paper in 2009 to revive it and give it back its editorial independence, according to Wikipedia (yes, I know Wikipedia but, it is the only source of reference for the history behind the Kyiv Post based on my research.)

This Ukrainian paper has deep-rooted interest in Russia because of the reoccurring conflicts between the two countries and the political turmoil that has occurred with the annexation of Crimea in 2014. There is a long history between Ukraine and Russia, and that history will forever promote the interest each country has with one another.

The difference in coverage from in Ukraine from other countries that surround Russia is that it is more focused and tailored. Most other media organizations that surround Russia mainly post wired stories. I found this to be very interesting because I feel like they would have more to say since they are so close, but that is not what I found to be true. The Kyiv Post has the upper hand when it comes to media relations with Russia.

Weekly Coverage

For my last weekly coverage segment, I wanted to do something a little bit different. So, here is the same story that was in the headlines this week, but it is covered by the three newspapers that I covered above: The Guardian, The New York Times and The Kyiv Post. I think this is important because it shows the different lens and influence each media outlet has on the public.

Nadiya Savchenko

May 27th, 2016: According to The Guardian, a Ukrainian pilot that was just released from Russian prison will try for the Ukrainian presidency if she has a large enough following. Nadiya Savchenko is Ukraine’s first female military pilot. Savchenko was freed from prison in Russia where she was held captive as a war prisoner and was pardoned by Vladimir Putin. During her time in captivity, she was elected into the parliament of the Council of Europe. Savchenko was also charged with the murders of two Russian journalists. Despite her charges, Ukrainians believe her to be a hero.

I think the way they covered this issue was interesting because they focused on words of her saying that she wanted to be the next president of Ukraine, without giving details of the full reasons she was behind bars and held captive. I would have liked to know more about the background story but I did find this to be an interesting take on the story.

May 25th, 2016: According to The New York Times, the Ukrainian pilot Nadiya Savchenko is a high-profile Russian war prisoner that was released after two years in custody. Russia exchanged Savchenko for two Russian military intelligence soldiers. Russia refuses to acknowledge that they played a role in any war and that Savchenko was arrested on charges of murdering two Russian journalists. Vladimir Putin pardoned Savchenko because of a request from the journalists families.

The NYT went on to describe Savchenko’s demeanor and her attire. They also began to glorify her and make her a symbol of a Ukrainian struggle that is starting to be overcome. I think it was interesting because this piece talked about how she was a celebrity and hero figure that was played out to be a criminal. They talked more about the behind the scene story which is something I liked compared to The Guardian post.

March 22nd, 2016: The Kyiv Post reported on Lt. Savchenko on trial in Russia being convicted of complicity in murder. The article reported in a similar style to the NYT but it played on the fact that there was so much confusion and that Savchenko was in farce. The Kyiv Post also talked about her 22 or 23 year sentence that a lot of people were outraged by.

This article is different from the others because it played to a side that Savchenko was an innocent person who was illegally detained and that Russia was trying to find someone to blame for the murders. This article downplayed any actual role Savchenko had in this issue and was more geared toward Russia being the “bully.” I did think it was very interesting in the direction this article took.

Each article about this Ukrainian pilot is conveyed in a different way: the next president, the hero, and the wrongly convicted. This story that was covered by different foreign correspondents shows the vast difference in what the world views and perceives about Russia.


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