Volume index - Journal index - Article index - Map ---- Back

Comunicar Journal 77: New languages and cultures. Teaching languages for global and digital communication (Vol. 31 - 2023)

Social web and photojournalism: User-generated content of the Russo-Ukrainian war


Carolina Fernández-Castrillo

Celia Ramos


The research is focused on the emerging practices of digital photojournalism in war contexts, in relation to the use of user-generated content from social networks. The focal point is the coverage of the Russo-Ukrainian conflict by the two main online newspapers of the belligerent countries: Ukrayinska Pravda and Rossiyskaya Gazeta. From the analysis of an initial sample of 7,194 articles (6,646 Ukrainian and 548 Russian), published during the first semester of the war, the preferred type of graphic content and the degree of presence of images from the different social platforms will be determined. Likewise, the article offers a theoretical innovation on the current state of the routine of war digital photojournalism, introducing the definition of the concept of “false collective source” due to the appropriation of mechanisms of collective intelligence for potential propaganda purposes. The informative use of the social web has generated a transition from “gatekeeping” to “gatewatching” that makes it necessary to review the state of the art to avoid a possible instrumentalization of the role of users. Finally, a decalogue is proposed to combat digital illiteracy and identify new appropriation practices, by distinguishing the use of the social web as an information source versus its use as a mere distribution channel.


User-generated content, digital illiteracy, war photojournalism, collaborative journalism, post-truth, and social networks

PDF file in Spanish

PDF file in English


Ballesteros-Aguayo, L., Ruiz-del-Olmo, F.J., & Gutiérrez-Lozano, J.F. (2022). Deontología periodística y comunicación persuasiva frente a la posverdad: credibilidad ante los retos de las RRSS. Observatorio (OBS*), 16(3). https://doi.org/10.15847/obsOBS16320222159

Becker, H.S. (1967). Whose side are we on? Social Problems, 14(3), 239-247. https://doi.org/10.2307/799147

Benaissa-Pedriza, S. (2018). Las redes sociales como fuente de información periodística en la prensa digital española (El País, El Mundo, La Vanguardia y ABC). Index.comunicación, 8(3), 13-42. http://bit.ly/3k43q8d

Broersma, M., & Graham, T. (2013). Twitter as a news source: How Dutch and British newspapers used tweets in their news coverage, 2007–2011. Journalism practice, 7(4), 446-464. https://doi.org/10.1080/17512786.2013.802481

Bruns, A. (2003). Gatewatching, not gatekeeping: Collaborative online news. Media International Australia, 107(1), 31-44. https://doi.org/10.1177/1329878X0310700106

Bruns, A. (2008). Blogs, Wikipedia, Second Life, and beyond: From production to produsage. Peter Lang. https://bit.ly/3IpDyMU

Canavilhas, J., & Ivars-Nicolás, B. (2012). Uso y credibilidad de fuentes periodísticas 2.0 en Portugal y España. Profesional de la información, 21(1), 63-69. https://doi.org/10.3145/epi.2012.ene.08

Carson, A., & Farhall, K. (2018). Understanding collaborative investigative journalism in a “post-truth” age. Journalism Studies, 19(13), 1899-1911. https://doi.org/10.1080/1461670X.2018.1494515

Casero-Ripollés, A. (2012). Beyond newspapers: News consumption among young people in the digital era. [Más allá de los diarios: el consumo de noticias de los jóvenes en la era digital]. Comunicar, 39, 151-158. https://doi.org/10.3916/C39-2012-03-05

CIS (Ed.) (2022). Barómetro de septiembre de 2022. https://bit.ly/3NZQxZ6

DataReportal (Ed.) (2023a). Digital 2023: Ukraine. http://bit.ly/3keMjk6

DataReportal (Ed.) (2023b). Digital 2023: The Russian Federation. http://bit.ly/3xL9JRg

De-Keyser, J., & Raeymaeckers, K. (2012). The Printed Rise of the Common Man. How Web 2.0 Has Changed the Representation of Ordinary People in Newspapers. Journalism Studies, 13(5-6), 825-835. https://doi.org/10.1080/1461670X.2012.667993

Edelman (Ed.) (2022). Edelman trust barometer. https://bit.ly/3VWON4K

Fahmy, S., & Kim, D. (2008). Picturing the Iraq War Constructing the Image of War in the British and US Press. International Communication Gazette, 70(6), 443-462. https://doi.org/10.1177/1748048508096142

Fernández-Castrillo, C. (2014). Prácticas transmedia en la era del prosumidor: Hacia una definición del Contenido Generado por el Usuario (CGU). Cuadernos de Información y Comunicación, 19, 53-67. https://doi.org/10.5209/rev_CIYC.2014.v19.43903

Fernández-Castrillo, C., & Ramos, C. (2023). El fotoperiodismo en la era de Telegram: La invasión rusa de Ucrania en Rossiyskaya Gazeta y Ukrayinska Pravda. In G. Bonales, & J. Sierra (Eds.), Desafíos y retos de las redes sociales en el ecosistema de la comunicación (pp. 451-468). McGraw-Hill. https://bit.ly/3O19Wcd

Gans, H. (2004). Deciding what’s news: A study of CBS evening news, NBC nightly news, Newsweek and Time (25th anniversary edition). Northwestern University Press. https://bit.ly/45eAixy

García-Avilés, J.A. (2014). Online newsrooms as communities of practice: Exploring digital journalists’ applied ethics. Journal of Mass Media Ethics, 29(4), 258-272. https://doi.org/10.1080/08900523.2014.946600

Griffin, M. (2010). Media images of war. Media, War & Conflict, 3(1), 7-41. https://doi.org/10.1177/1750635210356813

Hedman, U., & Djerf-Pierre, M. (2013). The social journalist. Digital Journalism, 1(3), 368-385. https://doi.org/10.1080/21670811.2013.776804

Heinrich, A. (2012). Foreign news reporting in the sphere of network journalism. Journalism Practice, 6(56), 766-775. https://doi.org/10.1080/17512786.2012.667280

Helmus, T.C., Bodine-Baron, E., Radin, A., Magnuson, M., Mendelsohn, J., Marcellino, W., Bega, A., & Winkelman, Z. (2018). Russian social media influence. Understanding Russian propaganda in Eastern Europe. Rand Corporation. https://doi.org/10.7249/RR2237

Hermida, A. (2013). Journalism: Reconfiguring journalism research about Twitter, one tweet at a time. Digital Journalism, 1(3), 295-313. https://doi.org/10.1080/21670811.2013.808456

Hermida, A., & Thurman, N. (2008). A clash of cultures. The integration of user-generated content within professional journalistic frameworks at British newspaper websites. Journalism Practice, 2(3), 343-356. https://doi.org/10.1080/17512780802054538

Jahng, M.R., & Littau, J. (2016). Interacting is believing: Interactivity, Social cue, and perceptions of journalistic credibility on Twitter. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 93(1), 38-58. https://doi.org/10.1177/1077699015606680

Janssen Observer, FAPE-ANIS (Ed.) (2017). II Sondeo Janssen Observer Periodistas y Redes Sociales. Federación de Asociaciones de Periodistas de España (FAPE). https://bit.ly/438bmGf

Kermani, H. (2018). Telegramming news: How have Telegram channels transformed journalism in Iran? Türkiye ?leti?im Ara?t?rmalar? Dergisi, 31, 168-187. https://doi.org/10.17829/turcom.423307

Khaldarova, I., & Pantti, M. (2016). Fake News: The narrative battle over the Ukrainian conflict. Journalism Practice, 10(7), 891-901. https://doi.org/10.1080/17512786.2016.1163237

Kim, H., Jang, S.M., Kim, S.H., & Wan, A. (2018). Evaluating sampling methods for content analysis of Twitter data. Social Media + Society, 4(2), 353-366. https://doi.org/10.5771/2192-4007-2016-3-353

Ku?mpel, A.S., & Springer, N. (2016). Commenting quality. Effects of user comments on perceptions of journalistic quality. Studies in Communication Media, 5(3), 353-366. https://doi.org/10.5771/2192-4007-2016-3-35

Lacy, S., Watson, B.R., Riffe, D., & Lovejoy, J. (2015). Issues and best practices in content analysis. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 92(4), 791-811. https://doi.org/10.1177/1077699015607338

Lewis, S.C., Holton, A.E., & Coddington, M. (2013). Reciprocal journalism. Journalism practice, 8(2), 229-241. https://doi.org/10.1080/17512786.2013.859840

Loo-Vázquez, J.R., Gámez-Paz, D., Lamarque-Vega, E., Domínguez-Quevedo, L., & Haber-Guerra, Y. (2015). Del gatekeeper al content curator: Cambiar algo para que no cambie nada. Razón y Palabra, 20(92), 1149-1171. https://bit.ly/3IIWre5

López-García, X., Rodríguez-Vázquez, A., & Pereira-Fariña, X. (2017). Technological skills and new professional profiles: Present challenges for journalism. [Competencias tecnológicas y nuevos perfiles profesionales: Desafíos del periodismo actual]. Comunicar, 53, 81-90. https://doi.org/10.3916/C53-2017-08

Marchionni, D.M. (2013). Measuring conversational journalism: An experimental test of Wiki, Twittered and “collaborative” new models. Studies in Media and Communication, 1(2), 119-131. https://doi.org/10.11114/smc.v1i2.260

Mast, J., & Hanegreefs, S. (2015). When news media turn to citizen-generated images of war. Digital Journalism, 4(3), 594-614. https://doi.org/10.1080/21670811.2015.1034527

Newman, N. (2009). The rise of social media and its impact on mainstream journalism. Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, 8, 1-60. https://bit.ly/3XRpxMY

Newman, N., Fletcher, R., Robertson, T.C., Eddy, K., & Nielsen, K.R. (2022). Digital news report. Reuters Institute. http://bit.ly/3IBMNdj

Olivares-García, F.J., Román-San-Miguel, A., & Méndez-Majuelos, I. (2022). Las redes sociales como herramienta de comunicación periodística: La estrategia de comunicación digital de Volodímir Zelenski durante la guerra de Ucrania. Visual Review International Visual Culture Review, 11(2),, 1-12. https://doi.org/10.37467/revvisual.v9.3660

Parra, D. (2017). Periodismo ciudadano y cambio social: análisis de iniciativas colaborativas en el ámbito del periodismo de investigación. Estudios sobre el Mensaje Periodístico, 23(1),135-146. https://doi.org/10.5209/ESMP.55587

Paulussen, S., & Harder, A.R. (2014). Social References in Newspapers. Journalism Practice, 8(5), 542-551. https://doi.org/10.1080/17512786.2014.894327

Pavlik, J. (2001). Journalism and new media. Columbia University Press. https://doi.org/10.7312/pavl11482

Robles, J.T. (2020). Fotoperiodismo y redes sociales. Reflexiones sobre los retos y oportunidades de los creadores audiovisuales. In A.M. De-Vicente, & J. Sierra (Eds.), Aproximación periodística y educomunicativa al fenómeno de las redes sociales (pp. 413-424). McGraw-Hill. https://bit.ly/41mzrI0

Sabés, F., & Parra, D. (2014). Del consumidor al prosumidor: Responsabilidades legales de los informers. Profesional de la Información, 23(5), 511-518. https://doi.org/10.3145/epi.2014.sep.08

Sacco, V., & Bossio, D. (2015). Using social media in the news reportage of war & conflict: Opportunities and challenges. The Journal of Media Innovations, 2(1), 59-76. https://doi.org/10.5617/jmi.v2i1.898

Sánchez-Gonzales, H.M. (2016). Regularización de la actividad periodística y perfiles profesionales: Medios sociales y conectividad 2.0 con la audiencia. In H.M. Sánchez (Ed.), Nuevos retos para el Periodista. Innovación, creación y emprendimiento (pp. 63-97). Tirant Humanidades. https://bit.ly/42Ojsnv

Sánchez-Gonzales, H.M., & Martos-Moreno, J. (2020). Telegram como herramienta para periodistas: Percepción y uso. Revista de Comunicación, 19(2), 245-261. https://doi.org/10.26441/RC19.2-2020-A14

Similarweb (Ed.) (2023a). Rg.ru Tráfico y compromiso. https://bit.ly/3kgmpwh

Similarweb (Ed.) (2023b). Clasificación de los principales sitios web para Editoriales de noticias y medios de comunicación en Ucrania. https://bit.ly/3xJ4lOA

Stanoevska-Slabeva, K., Sacco, V., & Giardina, M. (2012). Content curation: A new form of gatewatching for social media? 12th International Symposium on Online Journalism, Austin, Texas. https://bit.ly/3MFiBzT

Statcounter (Ed.) (2023). Social media stats Ukraine. http://bit.ly/3SmERjx

Tarín-Sanz, A., Ter-Ferrer, M., & Vázquez-Liñán, M. (2018). Sistema mediático y propaganda en la Rusia de Putin. Comunicación Social Ediciones y Publicaciones, 56(1), 266-268. https://doi.org/10.5209/poso.60560

Tranche, R. (2019). La ma?scara sobre la realidad. La informacio?n en la era digital. Alianza. https://bit.ly/3ItZqXl

Van-Herpen, M.H. (2016). Putin’s propaganda machine. Soft power and Russian Foreign Policy. Rowman and Littlefield. https://bit.ly/3IlqPdR

Zelizer, B. (2005). Death in wartime. Photographs and the ‘other war’ in Afghanistan. Harvard International Journal of Press/Politics, 10(3), 26-55. https://doi.org/10.1177/1081180X05278370