The Ukraine conflict and the European media: A comparative study of newspapers in 13 European countries

Susanne Fengler (Coresponding Author), Marcus Kreutler, Matilda Alku, Bojana Barlovac, Mariella Bastian, Svetlana S. Bodrunova, Janis Brinkmann, Filip Dingerkus, Roman Hájek, Simon Knopper, Michal Kus, Filip Láb, Caroline Lees, Anna Litvinenko, Débora Medeiros, Dariya Orlova, Liga Ozolina, Anna Paluch, Raluca Nicoleta Radu, Sandra StefanikovaHenrik Veldhoen, Rrapo Zguri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


The crisis in Ukraine was one of the dominant topics in international news coverage of 2014 and the following years. Representing a conflict along the lines of an East-Western confrontation unprecedented since the end of the Cold War, the news reporting in different European countries with different historical backgrounds is an essential research topic. This article presents findings of a content analysis examining coverage of the conflict in the first half of 2014 in newspapers from a diverse set of 13 countries: Albania, Czech Republic, Germany, Latvia, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, as well as Ukraine and Russia. Drawing on prior literature on news values, key events, and news cycles in foreign coverage, this study maps the evolution of the conflict in the course of four key events and identifies specific characteristics of the coverage in different newspapers. The results show that attention for the conflict varies considerably across the countries, which might be traced back to different degrees of geographical and cultural proximity, domestication, and economic exchange, as well as lack of editorial resources especially in Eastern Europe. Russia dominated the news agenda in all newspapers under study with a constant stream of conflict news. Contradicting prior literature, media sought to contextualise the events, and meta-coverage of the media’s role in the crisis emerged as a relevant topic in many countries with a developed media system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)399-422
Number of pages24
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Comparative research
  • content analysis
  • foreign correspondence
  • journalism
  • Ukraine crisis

Field of Science*

  • 5.8 Media and Communication

Publication Type*

  • 1.1. Scientific article indexed in Web of Science and/or Scopus database


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