“Our magazines look like something from a different life” – EdiMedia Ukraine CEO, Inna Geletyuk-Kaitushchenko, on life after a month of war in the country

Inna Geletyuk-Kaitushchenko is CEO & Owner of EdiMedia Ukraine, formerly part of the Edipresse Group. On February 24th, when the war began, she left Kyiv for the west of the country. From there, she is now leading two important Ukrainian media initiatives that are bringing vital support to those in the country and beyond.  

I left Kyiv on the very first day because we heard the sound of bombs,” says Geletyuk-Kaitushchenko “They sounded relatively far away, but close enough that I took my kids, got immediately into the car, and headed for western Ukraine. We are now staying here at my parent’s house.” 

“I personally did not expect the war to happen. Even on that day – the 24th – we had a special women’s event planned in Kyiv, which included government representatives and so on, who themselves did not expect it. So I did not even have anything prepared to leave. Some people in the country had suitcases and such ready to go, because they were expecting war, but I could not even believe that this would have happened.”

In what feels like the blink of an eye, Europe’s worst nightmare has become its reality. But for those living in Ukraine – and now outside of it – the passage of time over the past four weeks has felt far from fleeting.

“It’s not about magazines for people now you understand, everybody is looking for news. Our magazines look like something from a different life.”

So now it is a month already. Some of my team have stayed in Kyiv, others have left for different cities in the west, and we continue to try to work. I would say that 90% of our staff have stayed in the country. Of course, we cannot produce in the same volumes as before, and it can depend if people are at home or in shelters, or how the internet is and so on, but the websites continue to work and we have managed to move our data to the cloud.” 

“Those still working on the websites are now more like volunteers – they understand they will not be getting salaries now or in the future and when we talk about advertising revenues for example, it could be a year before we see those coming back in again.” 

“It’s not about magazines for people now you understand, everybody is looking for news. Our magazines look like something from a different life.”

InfoHelp Ukraine

With aspirational content currently off the agenda, and an information gap to fill, Geletyuk-Kaitushchenko has brought her considerable network together to create InfoHelp Ukraine – an online resource that provides both information for Ukrainians and importantly also, advice on how those outside the country can help. 

“I am the kind of person who couldn’t just sit and wait, and I was lucky to leave [Kyiv] on the first day,” says the CEO. “We’d had a lot of requests in for various different types of information and I decided that the best way we could help was to create a kind of aggregator service, focussing on issues such as health, education, culture… important spheres of our life.” 

How you can help

More information for Ukranian’s – and those wishing to help Ukraine – here

“I did all of this because I felt I could help my country, and was overwhelmed by the level of support that others in my country gave back.”

“News organisations nv.ua and dsnews.ua were instrumental in helping us with the initiative, which was also supported by the Association of Media Business. Development company Shop-Express provided vital support in creating what is undoubtedly a highly accessible site.”

“Almost all news media have subsequently helped us by promoting the resource – even celebrities pitched in too, to help us spread the word. The people helping me are not my employees, they are volunteers, some of whom simply answered a call requesting help on Facebook.”

Ukrainian female media 

With InfoHelp now up and running, Geletyuk-Kaitushchenko is already turning her attention to a second initiative, designed to bring together Ukraine’s female media to provide practical services beyond information. 

The EdiMedia owner is also Founder of the Women of Ukraine Awards, as well as the Edinstvennaya Magazine Charity Foundation, and her Connecting Women YouTube channel has a significant following. A vocal advocate on gender equality and women’s issues more broadly, Inna emphasises the importance of Ukrainian media for its female populations. 

“It is vitally important that Ukrainian women have access to strong media at this time – to inform them, to connect them, to support them. This is particularly important because so many of our women have now fled the country, or even just been displaced internally, and it is important to have centralised media hubs to bring our community together at this time.” 

“It is a tragedy that women are having their connections and their communities taken away from them by this war. We provide this, not to mention practical advice and information on how to survive at this time. Going forward, we will also add a psychological support helpline and other practical things, working with influencers and celebrities to help raise awareness and spread messaging.”

At a time when the very core values of truth and freedom are being attacked by Putin’s regime, alongside human lives, the international community has quickly rallied to support the country’s news media. But for those outlets operating in other media sectors, such as magazines, there is a growing concern that their voices are being silenced. 

“It’s important to recognise that we need our news media now like never before. So it’s encouraging to see that a number of initiatives and grants have sprung up quickly to support that sector, and keep accurate news reporting within the country going since the start of the war.”

“But Ukrainian women require informational support too, they have suffered greatly during this war. We want just as much to help our country and the individuals who live within – and now outside of it – and so would call upon industry support for these forms of female media as well.”  

New media landscape

Finally, Geletyuk-Kaitushchenko was keen to relay a note of optimism from within the country, believing that a positive trend in the Ukrainian media landscape was already beginning to emerge from the destruction. 

“It may just be that in time, we will have a cleaner and more positive media going forward in Ukraine, not just across women’s platforms, but more generally.” 

When I began to make a list of Ukrainian media outlets that I could invite to be in our network, I realised that some had Russian investors, and so may already be closed. The media landscape will undoubtedly change after the war. New creative resources will arise. Some old, financed by Russian investors will be closed.” 

“With this initiative I would like to help the new ones to become more visible and bring new life into the industry, and the country. It may just be that in time, we will have a cleaner and more positive media going forward in Ukraine, not just across women’s platforms, but more generally.”  


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