Despite the full-scale war, we did not interrupt our operations for a single day

The Nash Krai newspaper is distributed in Romny district, Sumy region. The full-scale war made adjustments to the work of the editorial staff, but did not prevent its employees from fulfilling their official duties.
Despite the fact that a significant part of Sumy region was occupied from the first days of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with enemy tanks roaming around the outskirts of Lypova Dolyna and Synivka communities, Nash Krai journalists diligently reported daily on their Facebook page to keep local residents informed about everything happening in the territory of Lypova Dolyna.
The printing of the newspaper had to be temporarily suspended because the printing house in Kharkiv and Ukrposhta did not operate. Additionally, the roads around the village were mined, making it impossible to deliver not only the press but also food and basic necessities. In those days, the journalists of “Nash Krai” were the first to inform the community about places where free bread or milk could be obtained, where to donate warm clothes and vegetables for future shipments to Okhtyrka, Trostianets, Lebedyn, Kharkiv….
On March 23, 2022, “Nash Krai” celebrated its 90th anniversary. It was by this date, despite the fact that Sumy region was still under occupation, that the editorial staff decided to publish a paper version of the newspaper. The question was: how to do this? So we found contacts at the Printing House in Myrhorod, Poltava region, printed the circulation, and delivered it to Lypova Dolyna on our own. But how to distribute newspapers to subscribers? We sought assistance from the elders, providing them with the necessary circulation for each prefect district. They, in turn, distributed “Nash Krai” among individual readers.

We celebrated our anniversary during the war

We became the first newspaper in the Sumy region to resume printing in a full-scale war. We distributed the paper edition on our own until May, when Ukrposhta resumed its work. We also completed the project started before the war – the publication of a book about fellow heroes “War and Destinies”. It was intended to be a collection of essays about residents of Lypova Dolyna who participated in the anti-terrorist operation from 2014 to 2021. The turbulent events of 2022 made their own adjustments: the book was expanded to include a section about the heroes of today’s war.
“War and Destinies” was published at the end of last summer and became the first publication about a full-scale war in the Sumy region.
By that time, our advertising revenue had fallen significantly, and the newspaper’s circulation also decreased in the second half of 2022. But the editorial staff did not give up, looking for other sources of funding, primarily at the expense of grant funds. The Ukrainian Media Business Association was among the first to offer its support. In partnership with them, we successfully implemented the project “Media Support for War Victims: A Roadmap for Action.” When the opportunity arose to submit a proposal to participate in another project for the development of digital platforms, they eagerly began drafting an application. After a while, they learned that their media outlet was among those selected for the project.

We had a positive impact on the work of mobile offices of Ukrposhta and achieved the opening of a telephone line in the district hospital for patients

Project titled “Lypova Dolyna.NEWS: We Inform. We Communicate. We Unite” aimed to address crucial community issues, provide assistance in solving them, and foster communication between the authorities and the population. We planned to prepare 6 materials on current topics of concern to residents of the district, and publish them on the website of Lypova Dolyna.NEWS. Throughout the course of our work, taking into account the requests of local residents, changes were made to the planned activities. Today we share the most successful cases, from our point of view.

The improper work of Ukrposhta to deliver the press negatively affected the circulation of all local newspapers in Ukraine. The problems were specifically seen in Synivka community. After stationary postal offices were replaced with mobile ones, complaints arose about undelivered copies of Nash Krai. Therefore, the journalists

decided to conduct their own investigation on this issue.
Note on closed doors of Synivka post office: Newspapers will be distributed upon presentation of passports, effective from September 19, 2023.

The editorial team visited Synivka to speak with locals and witness the problem firsthand. During the meetings, they discovered that mobile offices simply leave copies of Nash Krai at the former stationary office and do not deliver it directly to residents’ doors. Journalists directly communicated with Lebedyn postal workers, met with the heads of the Synivka community, and Nataliia Shutko, the editor, had discussions with the territorial manager of Ukrposhta and spoke with the heads of the Sumy Directorate. During these numerous conversations, ways to improve the quality of service for residents of “Synivka zone.”
The investigation led to the article “Postal Reform: Problems and Prospects of Work in Small Villages,” which garnered a significant number of views on both our website and Facebook page. At the time of its publication in Synivka, the work schedule of the mobile office was modified, and employees were allocated to other areas, ensuring more time was dedicated to Synivka. We received assurances from the territorial manager that the car’s traffic schedule will be reconsidered for the convenience of residents.
We are pleased with the feedback from local residents that we have received over the past month. People are talking about drastic changes in the service of Ukrposhta personnel: newspapers are delivered to households, and mailers have become more polite and friendly in communication.

Another topic that interested users is the problem of scheduling appointments online or by phone with the Romny Regional Hospital through an e-referral. This was told to journalists by local residents. Step-by-step, starting with an attempt to make an appointment in person at the Romny hospital, we investigated this problem. We found out that Hadiach Hospital of the Poltava region (a neighboring town with Lypova Dolyna) provides such an opportunity to Lypova Dolyna residents without any problems. At the same time, the quality of services in this institution is much higher.
The editorial team sent a request to the administration of Romny Hospital with a request to consider the possibility of opening a telephone line for recording patients by e-referrals. Given the resonance, the hospital did so within two weeks of receiving our letter. We consider this a victory because we have achieved an improvement in the quality of medical services provided to residents of Lypova Dolyna and Synivka communities.
As a result of our efforts, the article “Visit to the Support Hospital with E-Referral: What Pitfalls Can the Patient Face?” received over 5,200 views on the website and approximately 24,000 on Facebook.

* * *
“In addition to the cases described above, we addressed the quality of housing and utility services, conducted a survey on the future Alley of Memory for heroes-countrymen in Lypova Dolyna, devised a roadmap for actions regarding today’s war children, and organized a video interview on current topics with the district head, Denys Vashchenko. In each individual case, we tried not only to raise the topics that most concern local residents, but also to achieve some success in solving them. We believe that we have succeeded.

This publication was created with the support of the European Union. The content is the sole responsibility of the Ukrainian Media Business Association and does not necessarily reflect the position of the European Union, whose financial support made the project possible.