Covering Russia’s War on Ukraine: Local Media Professionals and Open-Source Investigators

Global conflicts are increasingly documented and covered by people outside of the journalistic mainstream: locally hired media professionals, remote open-source investigators, local eyewitnesses, activists, and data publics. Together, they create complex and heterogeneous ecosystems. These groups have diverse goals, kinds of proximity to the war, and work with varying sets of values and fact-finding procedures.

In this two-day hybrid workshop, we bring together 1) ‘foreign’ and ‘local’ media professionals covering wars and conflicts – mainly the Russo-Ukrainian War; 2) NGOs and open-source investigators documenting and archiving human rights violations in the Russo-Ukrainian War; and 3) academics to share their work, insights, and experience, and to discuss the ethics of collaboration among these various groups of actors in conflicts.

  • When: 12 and 13 October 2023
  • Where: Voxpop (Amsterdam) and online
  • Registration policy: Participation is free of charge, but registration is required. To register, please send an email to and indicate whether you want to join us remotely or in person. One-day registration / attending only specific panels is possible. For student registration, scroll down.
  • Language: English


12 October: Fixers, Stringers, and Foreign Crews. The Distribution of Risks and Emotions in Conflict Reporting

  • 10:00 Welcome
  • 10:15 Film screening: A Queue to Say Goodbye (Yaroslava Tymoshchuk / Suspilne, 2023) – OFFLINE ONLY
    • Yaroslava Tymoshchuk (Ukrainian journalist and editor): Storytelling in Times of War: How to cover sensitive topics
  • 12:00 Break 
  • 13:15 A War Lesson: Risks and emotions in conflict reporting
    • Johana Kotišová (University of Amsterdam)  
  • 14:15 Break   
  • 14:30 Well-being and Collaboration in War Reporting: A participatory session on best practices
    • Opening remarks: Koen Vidal (De Standaard), Natalia Vlasenko (fixer/journalist), Anton Skyba (The Globe and Mail), Gisela Dachs (European Forum at the Hebrew University), Oleksandra Hrybenko (OsloMet). Intro: Johana Kotišová (University of Amsterdam)
  • 16:00 Break 
  • 16:15 Local Media Professionals in Conflict Zones: Research insights
    • Intro: Koen Vidal (De Standaard)
    • Dariya Orlova (The Mohyla School of Journalism): Ukrainian journalism in wartime: Emotional response and professional challenges
    • Noah Amir Arjomand (University of California): Who is a fixer? Boundary-work and professional labels in international journalism
    • Oleksandra Hrybenko (OsloMet): Navigating entrenched spaces. Threats women journalists face reporting on the war
  • 17:45 Closure

13 October: Data Publics and the Information Front. Open Source Cultures Investigating Russia’s War on Ukraine

  • 9:15 Welcome
  • 9:30 Data Publics and the Information Front: Research agenda
    • Lonneke van der Velden (University of Amsterdam)
  • 9:45 Open Source Investigation Cultures
    • Opening talks: Ella McPherson (University of Cambridge), Solomiia Stasiv (Clooney Foundation for Justice / Archives of War), Dalila Mujagic (Witness), Foeke Postma (Bellingcat). Intro: Guillén Torres Sepulveda (University of Amsterdam)
    • 10:50 Short break & a break-out session – OFFLINE ONLY
    • 12:00 Closing student reflections. Intro: Daria Delavar-Kasmai (MA graduate, University of Amsterdam) – OFFLINE ONLY
  • 12:45 Break 
  • 14:00 Knowledge Production in Times of War: A roundtable
    • Míla O’Sullivan (Institute of International Relations Prague), Tereza Hendl (Augsburg University / Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich), Tanya Lokot (Dublin City University). Intro: Olga Burlyuk (University of Amsterdam) 
  • 15:30 Closure
  • 15:45 Drinks


  • Johana Kotišová, Faculty of Humanities, Media Studies (
  • Lonneke van der Velden, Faculty of Humanities, Media Studies ( 
  • Olga Burlyuk, Faculty of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Department of Political Science
  • Guillén Torres Sepulveda, Faculty of Humanities, Media Studies 

Are you a student?

If you are a ResMA student or a Ph.D. candidate affiliated with a Dutch university, you can gain 1 ECTS by participating in the seminar and fulfilling credit requirements. Please register by 6 October (noon) by sending an email (indicate that you want to register as a student and whether you want to join us remotely or in person). Conditions for obtaining ECTS:

  • Attendance, reading (approx. 8 hours), preparation (1 hour), and active participation in the closing session on 13 October.
  • Assigned reading and further instructions will be announced after the registration deadline.


This event has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 887406.

We also thank the following sponsors: Global Digital Cultures (GDC), Amsterdam Centre for European Studies (ACES), Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA), and Netherlands Institute for Cultural Analysis (NICA).

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