It is not a surprise that Telegram has become the number one messenger service both in Ukraine and for news about the war unfolding there. One of the many reasons is its previous popularity in Eastern Europe as a secure service and its ability to have an unlimited number of subscribers per channel.

Telegram has not been popular among Western media. Only a small number of outlets had channels on the platform, like HuffPost or Bloomberg, and they were not particularly active. The Russian invasion is changing it.

Aimed at both Russian and Ukrainian audiences – whose motives for needing Western news differ – English-speaking media are trying to gain new followers and are revamping their existing Telegram channels or starting new ones. 

In recent weeks, we have seen media giants start using Telegram specifically to report on the war in Ukraine. This confirms Telegram’s status as a growing channel for news.

Here are the top news channels that are present on Telegram that you should follow to stay updated about the war in Ukraine. 

The New York Times

Number of subscribers: 51 376 

Date of launch: March 13, 2022

Twenty days after the war started, The New York Times announced it was launching its own channel on Telegram to deliver news specifically about the invasion. NYT gained most of its followers during the first week after launching the channel. 

The channel uses different forms of content. It duplicates stories from a live blog, gives links to op-eds, witness accounts, interviews, and posts videos from the war front. With an average of seven posts per day, the channel is mostly focused on the explanatory format of news rather than breaking news.

More from The Fix: How TikTok, Telegram and Facebook are being used and misused to talk about the war in Ukraine

The Washington Post 

Number of subscribers: 19 531 

Date of launch: March 15, 2022

Almost immediately after The New York Times, The Washington Post started its own channel on Telegram that was also specifically launched to cover the war in Ukraine. In its welcome message, The Washington Post also announced that it is giving free access to coverage of the war to Ukrainian and Russian audiences, which, in combination with the Telegram channel, should bring bigger audiences from Russia and Ukraine. The Post’s format includes short news from the front, updates about major cities, and human interest stories. If you are not tracking news throughout the day, this channel will help you to catch up. 

Financial Times 

Number of subscribers: 32 636  

Date of launch: March 24, 2020

Financial Times launched its Telegram channel at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, aimed at covering the pandemic specifically. The channel was not very active (on average, FT posted once a day), until the Russian invasion of Ukraine. On February 26, 2022, FT shifted its focus to the war in Ukraine and reminded its audience about its Telegram channel. Initially, it posted short updates throughout the day along with a digest of its own articles. However, with time, FT shifted to just posting the digest once a day. So if you don’t want to be overwhelmed with information and want to limit your news consumption, this channel might be for you. 

The Kyiv Independent

Number of subscribers: 53 334

Date of launch: February 24, 2022

The Kyiv Independent – a Ukrainian English-speaking media outlet – launched its Telegram channel on the day of Russia’s 2022 invasion. The announcement was made on their Twitter page, just a couple of hours after Russian tanks rolled into Ukraine. The channel gained a big following in the first weeks and the number of subscribers keeps growing. One of the reasons is the fact that it is Ukrainian media, with journalists having unique insider perspectives. Another reason might lie in the content. The Kyiv Independent publishes brief posts with constant updates about the invasion, with links to their own analysis and articles. In contrast to Financial Times, The Kyiv Independent provides a constant flow of news on Telegram. 

More from The Fix: Five must-join Telegram channels on news media

Photo by Eyestetix Studio on Unsplash