Mykola Siruk, Head of the International Section for Ukrainian daily Den’, spoke last week at WAN-IFRA's World Newspaper Congress about the numerous projects that the paper has launched that not only serve its intellectual readers’ demands but also help to put Ukraine in the European spotlight.
Den’, published in Ukrainian and Russian daily and twice a week in English, hit the market 15 years ago. The paper, with a circulation of 60,000, has quickly carved out a a special niche on the Ukrainian market. “In reality, when a young country is only 21, this is a significant historical period,” he said.
From the outset, the newspaper’s Editor-in-Chief, Larisa Ivshyna, and editorial staff wanted to fulfil two objectives, he said: to inform its readers but also to contribute to the strengthening of Ukrainian identity and its role within Europe. “We can say that since the end of the 1990s the newspaper has played an integral role within civil society, which at that time had not existed in the country.”
That's why, he said, every edition of the newspaper is not only a reflection of current events but also puts its history into context of today’s events.
Den’ considers itself a high-quality newspaper and targets its content accordingly. And the newspaper has rolled out a number of projects to encourage Ukrainians to be more involved in the process of creating that high-level journalism.
For 13 consecutive years, Den’ has held an international photo contest that has blossomed into an annual exhibition of photos depicting everyday life for Ukrainians. Photos were submitted by both professionals and amateurs, and photo albums are published each year with their work. The company has held 24 on-site exhibitions, not only in Kiev but throughout the country.
Another large project that engages readers is the library of Den’. The company has published 14 books with a total circulation of about 60,000 copies. Each edition contains a detailed analysis of complex phenomena and events in Ukrainian history. “We embarked on this ambitious project because we felt that there is a demand for unbiased, accessible and interesting presentation of our country’s history,” Siruk said.
The library also has served as a platform for organising readers' conferences in various cities of the country, mostly in universities, thus seeking potential readers.
Young readers have not been lost on Den’, either. For 10 years it has operated a Summer School of Journalism, in which students of Ukrainian universities get special training. “In this way, we not only attract youth to reading intellectual press, but also expanding the range of our potential authors,” said Siruk.
Den’ was also the first Ukrainian print media to launch its own online version. And this year, the paper started a project called "Self education online." A number of online round tables have been broadcast on the site in real time.
Last year, the paper launched "Ukraine Incognita" online, another historical project to systematically detail developments during the past 15 years, but it takes on readers as co-authors of the site. “For example, we asked readers to fill the ‘intellectual map of Ukraine,’ where anyone can describe the history of his or her town, village or even a hamlet. In addition, readers have the possibility to send the history of their families for publication on the site,” Siruk said.