The Kyiv Independent was founded in November 2021 by a group of journalists who were fired from their newspaper by a local oligarch for defending editorial independence. When Russia invaded Ukraine in February, the Kyiv Independent was a young media startup with very little resources. Yet within days, it became the voice of Ukraine in the world. It gained millions of followers across various platforms. It has the biggest Twitter following among Ukrainian media, by far. It raised more money via crowdfunding platforms than any media outlet in Ukraine ever did, and continues to grow the number of paying members. The story of the Kyiv Independent has been covered by nearly every major Western media. The outlet and its journalists won numerous awards. Its chief editor Olga Rudenko was featured on the cover of Time magazine, leading its “Next Generation Leaders” special feature. What's behind its rise to stardom?

The discussion will focus on the following five issues:

1. What’s behind the success of the Kyiv Independent? True, the war brought the world’s attention to Ukraine, but it’s not enough. What did the team do to use this opportunity to the maximum?

2. What lessons did the team learn? What would they do differently?

3. As the war fatigue is settling in, the Kyiv Independent is facing a new challenge: How to keep the world’s attention on Ukraine, and make sure the audience stays with the outlet? What are the concrete steps they are taking?

4. What is it like to cover the war happening in your own country? Can your identities as a citizen and a journalist clash? Are there hard moral choices to make?

5. Why is it essential to have local English-language media outlets like the Kyiv Independent? What can they offer that the big international media covering Ukraine miss out on?

Organised in association with The Kyiv Independent.