VICE vs. BBC – Ukraine Crisis
VICE News and BBC Europe are two news media outlets that both had a strong emphasis on the Ukrainian protest in Kyiv. There are multiple elements that differed in the coverage of the protest by the media outlets. Firstly, VICE did a video segment they named “Ukraine Burning” they had a reporter in the Ukraine from mid January (the protest have been going on since November) and took them about a month to release the video with footage mostly ranging from January 23 – February 18, and with the speed of technology VICE has recently been releasing articles regarding the situation in the Ukraine. On the other hand the BBC News Europe handled the coverage of the Ukraine situation pretty consistently. The media coverage I viewed was their television report on Feb. 20 and Feb. 21 and their coverage on the deal to end the political crisis ongoing for months.
The what for those who aren’t familiar with Euromaidan which initially was the root of where the protest started in Kyiv’s Independence Square (Maidan Nezalezhnosti) taking the name of the protest. The people of Ukraine are in uproar over political corruption and want the resignation of the Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych. In critically analyzing both news medias, there coverage contained a great deal of testimony on behalf of the protesters. While the BBC covered the press releases made on behalf of the European Union and the deal made by President Yanukovych to end the turmoil. The negotiations entitling an early election by the end of the year, constitutional reinstatement, and heavy checks and balances. Opposite to VICE who didn’t have any coverage on the deal but decided to head back to Kyiv and live stream the aftermath.
The outlets broadcast were both accurate in their reporting but the main differences between VICE News to BBC was they were rather unilateral in their sources the bulk of their reporting was during the riots right alongside the protesters in Independence Square and with multiple interviews with figures in the Euromaidan movement. Contrasting the BBC, a broadcast company with a £4.8 billion budget according to the 2011/2012 BBC Executive annual report. There coverage had a reporter in the midst of the protesting getting first person testimony but wasn’t as extensive of a report as VICE. Where BBC lacked in depicting the cause of the protesters they additionally had coverage following the President’s signing of the deal to end the uprising and tracking the Ukraine situation much more closely with their amount of resources, scale, and broadcasting headquarters. Both media outlets clarified the situation going on in the Ukraine with well reported investigation. Neither of them portray the Ukraine crisis mockingly nor incredulous but VICE News does have a somewhat slanted view in their investigative reporting as the majority of their interviews consist of the people in the protest with no testimony from any Ukraine officials but then again the oppositions is rooted from their government’s corruption. From both outlets the tone of the broadcasts were as serious as the Ukrainians fight for change there has been nothing comedic about the situation in the Ukraine, the austerity of the crisis has been withheld since November.
The amount of U.S involvement has spanned to be more than they hoped to get involved. The events unfolding in the Ukraine are not all that different than what happened to Carl Ganter in Thailand. The same reason he was in Thailand is why journalist are in the Ukraine ultimately “to see what’s good with the world, to observe what’s wrong and sharing that experience will help make life better” (Ganter). The current event in the Ukraine holds some similarities to the American Revolution, it’s the fight for change in the government. The argument during the apex of the clashes was what is President Obama’s going to do to help end the tension? The notion that the U.S. could create serious tension over Ukraine with Russia was what Obama planned to avoid in pushing for President Yanukovych to sign a deal. U.S. involvement has been seen as trying to be impartially involved but not sitting out, as many U.S. politicians have rhetorically discouraged the protest in Kyiv.
The coverage of Kyiv and the technology of today have made the incoming reports from the Ukraine realistic and incredibly prompt. The BBC and VICE had cameras filming all the action in Kyiv whether it was of a corpse being dragged through the streets to a makeshift medical facility or protesters being beaten by police. The use of visuals were an inherently powerful form of media in spreading the message of the Ukrainian people. VICE and BBC both uploaded shocking photos of the riots that captivate the Ukrainian struggle and reveal photos of the police firing sniper rifles into the crowds. The media outlets both went to great lengths to get interviews with protesters rioting in the streets and upon hearing these actual people who are hungry for change in their country it’s history in the making and eye-opening to bear witness. The angle that’s been taken on by VICE and BBC has been more of the people’s journalist reporting close to the protesters to effectively get their voice heard and spread the message meanwhile exposing the Ukrainian government’s corruption.
The headlines by the outlets took different approaches as VICE went with a dramatic headline “Ukraine Burning” while the BBC kept their reputable baseline headlines such as “Ukraine appoints interim president”. In the last three days, the BBC has been the leading media outlet to be at the forefront of what’s going on in Kyiv and VICE has even updated their reports to the BBC’s findings. Without a doubt both outlets adhere to “no longer / report the fact truthfully it is now necessary to report the truth about the fact” (Hutchins Commission). Reporting the truth about the fact surprisingly is still a challenge in the 21st century especially with the case in the Ukraine as journalist have gone missing and killed for trying to expose the Ukraine government. Still, Journalist are conservators in making sure democracy isn’t compromised but upheld and they certainly have with the Ukraine crisis being covered all over the media. On the outlets verification, BBC in the last three days has been the top outlet in following the Kyiv crisis as many others have repeated the BBC’s reports. Despite the BBC being a powerhouse outlet and having the most coverage, it still differs from VICE’s coverage. The coverage provided by VICE has more personal coverage and footage of what’s going on among the people but comes up short in keeping a consistent verifiable coverage like BBC. Nevertheless, both outlets maintain the democracy in journalism by taking their lens and showing the world, it’s exponentially raised the voice and awareness of the Ukraine crisis.