Ukraine celebrated its Independence Day on August 24, while simultaneously defending itself from the Russian invasion.
While it may seem like all eyes have been on the country since Moscow launched the attack on February 24, six months down the line, a tail-off in global interest has begun to set in.
Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian president, has always been aware of how crucial it would be for his country’s success that the attention and sympathies of Western powers (and people) were maintained – signified for example by the many speeches he has held to governments around the world, as well as ongoing public requests for financial and military support.
This of course includes his controversial speech to the Greek government alongside two fighters of the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion.
As data from Google shows, however, the war has already been shifted out of focus for most Google News users.
After a peak in interest as the war broke out in February, search popularity for ‘Ukraine’ on the site has by now returned to almost pre-war levels.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that people care any less, but is rather a symptom of a phenomenon known as ‘news fatigue’.
As described for Euronews by Steinar Ellingsen, a journalism lecturer at the University of Wollongong: “News fatigue happens with any news coverage of major events, particularly with explosive news and things that are traumatic.
"There’s a pattern when the new cycle moves on after the first wave.”
Magnus Alselind, managing editor of Swedish newspaper Expresssen, adds: “The public and the media only has room for one big story at a time. So four or five years ago people were talking about immigrants, then Greta Thunberg and the climate crisis, then coronavirus (…) then the invasion of Ukraine. With the digital revolution, the attention span for the public is very short and very intense”.
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