Dr. Kirsten Eddy & Dr. Richard Fletcher
On 24 February, Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, marking the start of the biggest war in Europe since the Second World War. Major news organisations around the world have embedded journalists in Ukraine to cover bombings and violence in hard-hit towns and cities across broadcast, digital, and print media. Journalists, civilians, and politicians – most notably Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky – have also taken to social networks like TikTok, Telegram, and Twitter to document the horrors of the war for a global audience in real-time. The humanitarian crisis unfolding in Ukraine, along with the scale of the Western response to Russia’s invasion, has far-reaching political and economic effects.
To better understand how people have been accessing news about the Russia–Ukraine conflict, and to explore the impact this might have on overall trends in attitudes and behaviours, we commissioned YouGov to carry out a separate follow-up survey in five countries: Brazil, Germany, Poland, the UK, and the US. These countries were selected because they represent different levels of proximity to the conflict, ranging from Poland, which borders Ukraine, to Brazil and the US, which are on different continents. Fieldwork took place from 29 March to 7 April 2022 – roughly one month after the invasion began. We polled around 1,000 respondents in each country, and samples were assembled using the same quotas as the main survey.
The questionnaire contained several new questions specifically about the Russia–Ukraine conflict, as well a handful of key questions from the main Digital News Report survey on news interest, use, avoidance, and trust. This allows us to directly compare our ‘pre-conflict’ results from the main 2022 survey and the ‘during conflict’ follow-up survey. However, because the Russia-Ukraine conflict overlapped with other domestic news stories, not all changes we see will be a direct result of coverage of the conflict.