The first Ukrainian Academic Accelerator (UAA) fosters research skills of future journalists in Ukraine

By Kostiantyn Yanchenko, U. Hamburg/ DUAG

This pilot half-year project (January-June 2021) with the focus on Journalism, Media, and Communication was organized and conducted by the DUAG associate members Kostiantyn Yanchenko and Alona Shestopalova, both PhD students at the University of Hamburg and supported by the Society through a DUAG grant.

Dr. Teke Ngomba giving his presentation at UAA. Photo: courtesy of Kostiantyn Yanchenko

It took place in form of ten interactive online sessions bringing together Ukrainian journalism and communication students (at bachelor and master level), to reflect on their thesis writing and advance academic qualifications through knowledge transfer, networking and ideas exchange. The project participants represented five Ukrainian universities and eight regions of Ukraine.

UAA relied on peer-mentoring as the main teaching method but also attracted external international speakers who offered keynotes on topics of theoretical and methodological interest. Thus:

  • Alya Shandra, the editor-in-chief at Euromaidan Press, presented on the role of research methods in investigative journalism;
  • Dr. Dariya Orlova from Mohyla School of Journalism gave a talk on The Worlds of Journalism, a global research consortium on journalism cultures, and Ukraine`s recent involvement in it;
  • Dr. Roman Horbyk from Umeå University (Sweden) presented on critical discourse analysis and its application in communication research;
  • Dr. Teke Ngomba from Aarhus University (Denmark) gave a talk on conducting high-standard research in the conditions of limited resources.

UAA culminated with a Thesis Competition where each project participant presented their study in front of the independent jury – Dr. Oleksandra Keudel, Dr. Oksana Huss, and Dr. Lyubomyr Matsekh-Ukrayinskyy, all DUAG members, with the following results:

  • The best work was unanimously recognized as the study “Reforming Regional Public Broadcasting in Ukraine” by Anastasia Temchenko from Mohyla School of Journalism.
  • The second award was shared by Anastasia Kalyta for her research on “Media Representation of Holocaust Commemoration by Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center” and Anastasia Shkaleva for her talk on “Consumption of News by the Journalism Students in the Era of Manipulations“, both from Mohyla School of Journalism.

Participation in the first Ukrainian Academic accelerator was one of my best decisions in the past six months. The project coincided with the stage of thesis writing at my university and became a lifeline in this challenging process. I hope that even more participants and universities will be able to join the accelerators to follow because such a project is something that has been missing indeed,” – said this year`s winner Anastasia Temchenko.

With the ideas on collaboration on the next editions of UAA, please contact Kostiantyn Yanchenko at kostiantyn.yanchenko (at) uni-hamburg.de