As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine enters its tenth day, the data team at Trafalgar Strategy analysed the Twitter channels of pundits and reporters covering the conflict on the ground. Their analysis focused on audience growth since the 23rd of February 2022 to better understand who users were turning to for news on the crisis.
New Twitter Followers Since 23rd February 2022
Everyone Trafalgar Strategy analysed (see above) had seen an increase in followers. Yet surprisingly, it is the BBC’s Clive Myrie who topped the charts, with over 78k new followers. Night after night, Clive has led the BBC’s efforts from the rooftops of Kyiv and his audience growth is a sign that despite COVID or Brexit, the BBC remains the most trusted outlet in news, and moreover that Twitter users increasingly view him as an authoritative source of information on the crisis.
Other notable strong performers include the FT’s Polina Ivanova and the Guardian’s Luke Harding, both of whom have grown their audiences by over 30k in the past two weeks.
ITV’s Dan Rivers and Sky’s Mark Austin can be pleased with their reception – having both grown their audiences by over 25k. However Channel 4’s Matt Frei is lagging far behind in a worrying sign that the outlet’s limited news programming could be having a detrimental effect as the world’s attention remains fixated on events in Ukraine.
Number of new Twitter followers since 23rd February 2022: Nodes represent the number of new followers
Not included in the graph above, but worth adding for context is the performance of The Kyiv Independent which has seen a staggering 1.5m new Twitter followers since the Russian invasion began. In many ways, this could also be attributed to the importance of Kyiv as the centre of Ukrainian resistance but this also goes to demonstrate the enormous public interest in the conflict.
Increasingly social media and journalism are one and the same. Platforms like Twitter are capable of reporting news in real-time which is why users follow reporters they believe to be credible and capable of providing timely and insightful information. That is why, across the board reporters and pundits from broadsheets and broadcasters have outperformed their tabloid colleagues.
Commenting on the research, Giles Kenningham the Founder of Trafalgar Strategy said: “The crisis in Ukraine underscores the importance of mainstream news. Yet clearly, the 24-hour news channel is no longer enough as people want access to the reporters they watch and read in real-time.“