How the war in Ukraine is changing journalistic language on TV (and beyond)

How the war in Ukraine is changing journalistic language on TV (and beyond)

Everyone agrees: what is happening in Ukraine in recent weeks is something epochal, destined in some way to change is not the geopolitical balance in Europe for the next decades but also to change a certain perception we have of security in the world. Precisely for this reason, the media and journalistic accounts that are being made of these events in these days are also substantially changed.

The fact that such a conflict occurs in a country relatively close to ours does not make than to amplify our attention, voyeuristic and otherwise, with respect to these events which in any case have a global reach. The war has strongly returned to Europe after decades and in the meantime everything has changed in our way of enjoying the story of reality: alongside traditional newspapers, which assume a new centrality and renewed responsibility after years of crisis and multiple attacks, we are now used to it. to inform us in many different ways (although not always authoritative and reliable in the same way). There are social media, above all, and there are the myriad of online sources that are presented to us all the time, in an uninterrupted and often difficult flow to dominate.

Even a newspaper like is adopting different approaches in the follow the Ukrainian events: in addition to an extensive coverage of the facts through various articles, including surveys and infographics, there are for example the direct Instagram of the director Federico Ferrazza with Paolo Mossetti, journalist who is in Lviv (Leopoli), a city 70 kilometers away from the border with Poland and which is at the center of one of the largest exodus of refugees in recent times.

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Among the most interesting profiles to follow in these days of frenzied information is the journalist Cecilia Sala, who went to Ukraine and from there she packs the new episodes of her podcast Stories practically in real time, for a few days also interacting with Mario Calabresi. However, there are many social profiles that you can follow to get a direct idea of ​​what is happening, from the photos of the photojournalist Patrick Tombola to the updates of the journalist Marta Ottaviani, from the always punctual tweets of the Tg3 correspondent Nico Piro or the Instagram updates. by Piergiorgio Giacovazzo, one of the last Rai journalists left in Kyiv.

The envoys at the front are in some way carrying out a "personalization" of the story that is changing the very habits of journalism, especially television. On the days of 8 and 9 March, for example, Sky Tg24 broadcast some editions of the news broadcast entirely live from Lviv. In short, not connections within a classic news program, but entire editions conducted by the correspondent Jacopo Arbarello who from the city of western Ukraine tried to pull the strings of what is happening with news from the field and coordinating the connections of others sent to Poland and Romania. During the specials aired, voice was also given to the testimony of Italian chef Stefano Antoniolli, who has lived and worked in Kiev for years, and to an in-depth analysis of the hypothesis that Russia disconnects from the internet to switch to its own network. Like so many other networks, Sky's all news channel had already upset the ordinary schedule by practically dedicating itself in a monograph to the conflict in Eastern Europe.

A similar experiment, halfway between television and radio, had been conducted in the previous days by Andrea Vianello, director of Rai Radio 1 and of the Gr of the state broadcaster, who had put together a team of journalists and technicians to broadcast throughout the day of March 6, again from Lviv: "We thought that it was important to bring to Ukraine, not only symbolically, the Gr 1, the radio newspaper of the public service of Rai, and broadcast from there, despite the difficulties, to give a sign of closeness to the besieged population and as a firm choice of field in favor of freedom and democracy, ”said Vianello. Beyond the symbolic scope, there is also a clear desire to bend traditional information means to new media needs: hence not only the direct links of the director but also a kind of "radiovision" transmitted within the specials of the Tg1 conducted by Monica Maggioni.

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The idea in general, with the risk of touching an overly emotional story of the war events, is in any case that of direct recording of the story of reality from the places where the tragic events are taking place. The images of the many refugees, especially women and children, the bombings that do not spare civilian targets and historical monuments, the ruthlessness of a conflict that seems to be played with unequal weapons, shorten even more the psychological distance that we usually intersperse between us and the dramatic news that we have been used to reading for years and years, almost to the point of anesthesia. Another argument could be made instead for the envoys to Moscow, practically forced to repatriate after the restrictive laws on so-called fake news approved by Putin to control the press: if the spotlight is increasingly on Ukraine, therefore, Russia is becoming a black hole of hermeticism and disinformation.

Journalism, in short, is changing and reshaping its languages ​​to adapt to a reality distorted not only by a sudden and senseless war conflict but also to new ways of receiving readers and viewers: on the one hand there is a kind of multimedia that expands and blurs the boundaries between articles, television services, live social media and podcast recordings, on the other hand there is a more emotional and personal turn of the story itself. This last point could be potentially problematic when you think about what should be the objective and "cold" nature of classic journalistic writing, but on the other hand it is somehow functional to pierce that veil of distance and apathy that overexposure to more tragic and negative actuality has created in many of us. For sure, everything will change from the war in Ukraine, including journalism.

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