International news media has a crucial role in constructing an image of a foreign country, shaping views of leaders and citizens, that affect international relations and foreign policies in a long run. Front pages of international news agencies and media outlets were filled with news on Ukraine in the period from 2013 till 2015, the country’s most restless time since independence. Few years after, when the conflict is frozen, Western coverage of Ukraine has been criticised for its unrepresentative and disinterested manner, that stigmatises the image of Ukraine as the 'EU-burden' country. While the most media research on professional role is focused on content and perception, this paper aims to explore the perspective of producers. On the case study of Ukrainian news in The Netherlands, this paper explores how Dutch journalists view and experience their role as foreign reporters on the country. Informed by the conception of structure and agency in journalistic work, this research investigates different levels of influences on journalistic work, including impact of media routines, journalistic norms, organization, Dutch media system, as well as national settings in Ukraine; and takes into account their individual motivations, interests and creative capacity to overcome challenges they face. Eleven in-depth interviews were conducted with the main foreign correspondents and reporters, who have written about Ukraine frequently during last two and a half years, to investigate their everyday work conditions, personal experiences and intentions. The findings show that generalising their reporting as neutral and disinterested would be unjust. Journalists try to deliver news which is nuanced and represent the country from its different angles, while proliferating the voices of ordinary people. Most journalists see their role as disruptors of stereotypical attitudes about post-Soviet states prevalent in their home country. Relationship with an editor, newspaper’s interest in foreign news and national settings in Ukraine were found the most affluent factors in the selection of topics and frequency of coverage. They still try to adhere to the value of objectivity when giving balance to opposing sides of the conflict, but they do it by using own critical judgement of truth and not because it is a golden rule. They also believe in value of separating opinion and facts, but do not reject interpretive reporting. Some even take a more active political stance, by reporting with features of peace journalism trying to build closer relationships between East and West.

Additional Metadata
Keywords media, culture, society, Ukraine, Western news, Professional role, Objectivity, Peace journalism
Thesis Advisor D. Dumitrica
Persistent URL
Series Media, Culture & Society
A. Mazur. (2018, July 15). How do foreign reporters view and experience their role: The case of Ukrainian news in The Netherlands. Media, Culture & Society. Retrieved from