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Wednesday, 25 March 2009

What happened to ArmeniaNow?

Since its establishment, ArmeniaNow became one of my favourite online outlets. I could always rely on ArmeniaNow for sharp reporting and commentary on political, economic and social issues, also reports and news on things not covered by general media. I liked their investigative journalism too. And I always waited for Fridays to read new editions of ArmeniaNow.

However, over the past months I can’t recognise it. Well, occasionally I still find that fresh, different and sharp reporting, but it became more of an exception than a rule. Mostly, it is now filled with news and reports which you can read elsewhere. It takes moments to scroll down the edition, mostly glancing at the reports instead of properly reading them. Basically, I stopped ‘waiting for Fridays’, and frequently forget that the new edition of ArmeniaNow is on.

Bring my ArmeniaNow back!! I missed it...

6 comments:

Onnik Krikorian said...

Well, they are going through a site redesign at the moment, and also producing printed supplements for local consumption (which can also be downloaded from the site). Maybe that's one reason.

On the other hand, I have to be honest and say I'm not happy with the amount of Armenian Assembly of America op-eds they're publishing by people who are not journalists or analysts and are actually pushing their own agenda.

But, that's the price of having a media that's not sustainable. Donors are necessary and they finance media for such reasons. Another concern has been the almost subjective focus on Heritage and especially in the area of foreign policy issues where they're "more Dashnak" than the Dashnaks, but anyway...

Maybe all will be resolved when they re-launch. Incidentally, they're said to be incorporating blogs for the new site so I'm sure you'll like that very much. Dunno, let's see...

Anonymous said...

Bingo...."I have to be honest and say I'm not happy with the amount of Armenian Assembly of America op-eds they're publishing by people who are not journalists or analysts and are actually pushing their own agenda." ....I say follow the money and you will know what happened. After all who funds the AAA and what agenda do they have?

nazarian said...

Who funds the AAA?

Onnik Krikorian said...

Well, I was in at the Armenia Now office a few weeks ago and I didn't get the impression that the AAA had influenced their whole operation. All I said was I was unhappy with the AAA being given an outlet to publish what are effectively their press releases and a platform to gratify their own egos when only the Diaspora rags would normally do so.

To be honest, as Armenia Now seems quite active in producing physical printed supplements on key themes such as the municipal election, I'm assuming that this is what's holding up online content as well as the fact that they're preparing for a resigned site to be launched. However, would be better if they published their physical content online rather than just as a downloadable PDF.

I haven't actually read those supplements, but perhaps you should take a look, Mika. Maybe you'll find what you were hoping for in there? Regardless, I think the AAA funding challenges the notion of an independent media outlet although I understand why they entered into the relationship.

Basically, there is no independent self-sustainable media in Armenia. It's either government/connected business funded, or paid for by foreign donors. Even then, readership is low, but that at least explains why advertising revenue is not a big support as it is in the West (although even then this can challenge "independence" too).

Anyway, I have to be honest, the entire media has taken a turn for the worse since the presidential election last year although I admit that many people are speaking highly of tert.am and some other new arrivals on the scene. Anyway.

gevork said...

for more information on Armenian Assembly of America please visit http://www.armenianassemblyofappeasement.org/

Garen said...

@Onnik Krikorian , I happen to somewhat differ with you when you say "Basically, there is no independent self-sustainable media in Armenia. It's either government/connected business funded, or paid for by foreign donors."
That's not entirely true. What about Payqar.net (Payqar.org), which is independent and self-contained and where anybody can submit articles for the editor to decide?
AND What about Khosq.com ? Khosq is Independent! It is not financed by any foreign donors or businesses or government-connected agencies! And Khosq is self-contained!
Many people have an initial reaction of calling khosq "just another Digg clone", which is not true: Khosq lets people publish their own full-length articles too, and Khosq has many other features that Digg doesn't allow. Khosq a place where ANYBODY (a blogger, a professional journalist, a whistleblower or an average Joe) can come and submit a scoop, which can be either an original article written by themselves and not published elsewhere OR a link to an external article (or video, or image, or audio podcast) with a brief description. They can submit anything they like as long as it’s Interesting and/or Important. So if people want to submit their own investigative articles or report news directly or just simply share links, it's all up to them/you. And there have been many occasions when this *bee-hive* model of news reporting has proven to be more efficient than the traditional hierarchical structure. On many occasions Khosq has reported on some major breaking news BEFORE all other news agencies.

What's more, is that Khosq does not have an "Editor In Chief" who would decide what should be on the front page. The powers of the Editor in Chief as well as moderation (if it can be called as such) are given back to the People through a system of users' votes: if a submitted scoop gets enough +1 votes from other readers, then it jumps to the front page, where it has more visibility. If it gets a lot of "-" votes then it "sinks".

And what about the traffic and readership? When the prototype of Khosq-beta was launched in July 2008 one of the bloggers called it a "wiki-blog" :) , but now it definitely has more traffic than any blog in Armenian blogosphere. Khosq.com already has roughly the same (and sometimes greater) amount of traffic as ArmeniaNow or Hetq or Zhamanak.com or other traditional significant media sources. And all that BEFORE khosq has even officially launched (it's still in Public Beta phase because new features are being developed).

Now, of course, you may say that Khosq.com is not really a "media" in a traditional sense, but that's more of a theoretical debate and a matter of perspective. Many people (who don't actively post or vote) come to Khosq to *discover* news and new content -- that alone makes it into a media. Khosq is "new-media", or "citizen-media" or "alter-media" and definitely "Indy-media". To see an example of yet another citizen-media have a look at this article in your favourite Global Voices http://globalvoicesonline.org/2008/07/11/iran-balatarin-a-successful-citizen-media-story/

Khosq.com is a media (!) with a radically alternative structure of news-reporting, news-sifting and collaborative filtering. The traffic is there and growing as many people come to Khosq to discover what content other people recommend. It's fast and easy to use. In fact, it's faster than most other news sites, which allows even people in Stepanakert, Damascus and Buenos-Aires (who are on 56k dial-up) use it regularly!

In short, the platform for a truly Independent and Self-Contained and active Citizen-Journalism and Social-Media exists in Armenian webspace!!! If people want to use it to exchange news about Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian, they can (but they don't). If a blogger wants to use it to attract more readership and gain more backlinks (and improve blog's PageRank), they can. If small local newspapers from Addis-Ababa to Tehran and Sydney want to use it to disseminate their news, they can. If people want to promote “Levonakan” or “Dashnak” or “Commie” or “Whateverist” content, they can - and they do because Khosq is about what’s interesting and/or important, and it’s about embracing our diversities and rough edges. If campaigns want to use it to disseminate their press-releases, they can. If Citizen-Journalists want to report on important news from their location, they can. If established investigative journalists want to use it to publish articles that wouldn't be published elsewhere (or publish anonymously), they can. It's all up to people themselves.
...and a lot more coming ;)