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Inside The Telegraph’s Life on the Frontline series

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By Chris Sutcliffe | Senior reporter

June 16, 2023 | 4 min read

The project won in the Best Use of Crowd Sourcing/Citizen Journalism category at The Drum Awards for Online Media 2023.

The masthead for The Telegraph's Life on the Frontline series

The series used volunteer journalists on the ground in Ukraine to cover the conflict at a human level / The Telegraph

The Telegraph’s Life on the Frontline series gives a unique ground-level perspective on the war in Ukraine.

The Idea

The Telegraph’s ongoing coverage of the war in Ukraine has covered the conflict at both macro and micro level. While it – and other national titles – have covered the geopolitical ramifications of the war, The Telegraph team was inspired to tell stories of the human cost of the conflict after learning of the organization Vans Without Borders.

The humanitarian group, which delivers humanitarian aid to those affected by the war, had a unique ground-level perspective of the war’s impact on individuals, families and small organizations across Ukraine. It was that perspective that The Telegraph team sought to bring to wider attention.

The Brief

The Telegraph supplied mobile equipment to the volunteers, who film everything themselves. The team liaises with the paper’s senior producer, Valerie Browne, for advice and have since filmed and disseminated news and conducted interviews that were only possible due to their circumstances.

The challenge of filming in the midst of a conflict where events will often call for the volunteers to adapt their routes on the fly often means Browne will be shaping the episodes up until the last minute to ensure that they are as up-to-date as possible. Once the footage is delivered to The Telegraph, Browne edits it into a format that ensures the story is told in a way that highlights the cost levied against the Ukrainian population.

The Results

As of the time of publication, Life on the Frontline has published 12 episodes filmed across six months and generated over 3.3m video views from over 50 countries. That translates to over 173,000 page views across the Telegraph’s digital platforms.

Since the start of the war, Vans Without Borders has run nine humanitarian operations to Ukraine, delivering an estimated 100 tons of supplies and raising over £150,000 in donations.

This campaign won at The Drum Awards for Online Media 2023. Find out more about The Drum’s Global Awards program or head to our case studies hub to read more award-winning stories.

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