About Zaborona

About Zaborona

Zaborona is a media startup that offers in-depth reporting of exceptional quality combined with cutting-edge tech solutions available. Our integrity and innovations allow us to successfully navigate this turbulent industry impaired by oligarchs dominated media market in Ukraine. Yet, our coverage goes beyond, breaking cross-border stories of human rights abuse, culture, migration, security, organized crime, etc.

Zaborona means ‘taboo’ in Ukrainian. At Zaborona we believe there should be no taboo on stories that matter. This storytelling platform was firstly launched in 2018 by award-winning journalists Katerina Sergatskova and Roman Stepanovych. Sergatskova received Kurt Schork Award in 2015 for her frontline reporting,  and FPA – for her coverage of Islamic radicalism. Stepanovych is also an internationally distinguished producer. In 2018, he produced the Peabody and NPC award-winning “Inside Putin’s Russia”  series for PBS Newshour.   

Zaborona is an independent media about social trends and culture in post-socialist countries in Eastern Europe. We provide readers with in-depth reporting and wider context of the current affairs. We don’t chase news and click-baiting headlines. We cover challenges faced by societies and challenges faced by individuals in terms of their freedoms and security. We cover human rights activists who take actions to defend human rights and help individuals to understand their role in the current system of coordinates.

Our mission

Zaborona does not multiply news. Zaborona provides context and explains possible implications for society, telling things as they are — through human focused stories from a short distance.  

Relaunch in 2020  

To secure editorial and financial independence, Zaborona went on pause in May 2019. Since then, its core team secured international funding, which provided us with the opportunity to strengthen our management, develop organisational handbook along with ethical and professional code of conduct, business strategy, and new content scheduling. In April 2020 Zaborona was relaunched. 

What has changed since we put the newsroom on hold? 

  • We launched Patreon platform as we are convinced that our audience can support us and our top quality journalism in the region. 
  • We are open for native advertisements projects in line with our values and mission.  
  • We redesigned our website. It is much more user friendly, faster and more understandable than the previous one, and to say the least — well adapted to mobile phone screens. As Ukrainian remains the main version, we also added Russian version, so our cross — border stories could be read widely.  
  • We introduced new formats. Explainers, investigations, comic books and short multimedia stories
  •  We are starting podcasts. Zaborona’s podcasts are available at Spotify, Apple Podcast, Google Podcast. More details in the Podcasts tab. 
  • We are open to partnerships with socially responsible business and civil society sector.  
  • We provide a platform for changemakers who inspire and motivate others.   

Our values

Professional integrity and social responsibility of journalism are underlying principles of our work.  

No bias 

Zaborona will never be an ally for special interests. We will report stories objectively and effectively to the reader — no matter whether it resonates with public opinion or not. Our newsroom has no room for political, religious, patriotic, far-right or far-left activism. Our journalists and editors are guided by fairness, ethics and a clear understanding of human rights.

No oligarch funding 

Research and investigative journalism need resources and time. Most Ukrainian newsrooms cannot commit to in-depth reporting — often because of funding, but mostly because of an owner’s agenda and interests. As a nonprofit, Zaborona’s editorial work is powered through donations, making it independent from Ukrainian politics and affairs. We practice transparent financial reporting, so our supporters know how their money are spent.

Reader first 

The data on what our readers want is unmistakable: content they can trust — delivered more efficiently. Every piece of material we produce will be broken and narrated with real expertise – and then summarized in one shareable and nice looking visual element. We also designed our content to move seamlessly from our platform to other ecosystems, including Facebook and Google Newsstand and very soon Apple News and Flipboard, to meet readers on their terms, not ours.   

Bringing new experiences 

Immersive experiences are taking the world by storm for good reasons, Ukrainian reader deserves it too. At Zaborona we love to experiment with content, formats and interactive storytelling approaches. Our team practices visual storytelling via Shorthand or Readymag platforms (industry-leading technology used by The Guardian and BBC among others), 360 / VR content, short-films, chat-based and quiz-based storytelling.  

Giving the floor to voices that matter 

We believe there are so many voices outside our newsroom that may be essential for our readers or may serve to broaden their views and help to make the right choices. So we gather Ukraine’s most actual speakers, critics and analysts on platform’s special section “Opinions” and very soon on our offline initiative “Zaborona Talk.” 

Excellence always 

We think wide, we promise a lot, but we know how big the expectation that our readers and supporters put on us – this is a most important aim for us. To match it, always.  

Zaborona is proud to be home to some of the best journalists, producers and videographers in the country — with experience of working in leading Ukrainian, American and European media outlets. Every day, we want to improve ourselves from the day before.