The 2012 parliamentary elections in Armenia are being covered by not only professional journalists, but also citizen journalists. I'm talking about not only blogs, but also special platforms created for citizen reporters.
Mynews.am and Ditaket.am are new platforms for citizen journalism, which have brought together several dozens of citizen journalists who are keeping an eye on election campaign developments and will be working actively on Election Day, May 6.
Elmira Abgaryan has been collaborating with Mynews.am for a month now. On Election Day, she will be an observer in one of the electoral districts in Yerevan or in the province of Gegharkunik, simultaneously conveying information to Mynews.am.[[wysiwyg_imageupload:252:]]
"Since observers have the right to take photos and video, if I see anything I won't be too lazy to do something — moreover, I will consider it my duty to write a piece about it, contributing to the normal holding of elections," she says.
On May 6, Mynews.am will be delivering news with the assistance of 15 citizen reporters. They will be working specially prepared — from early morning to the end of the counting of the ballots. Citizen reporters' work will be coordinated by two professional editors.
Mynews.am is a project of the Public Journalism Club (PJC). PJC founder Seda Muradyan says that they're trying to develop citizen journalism in Armenia by incorporating games — on Mynews.am, citizen reporters collect points, virtual gifts and requests for correspondence work.
To provide every citizen with the opportunity to report news, Mynews.am will soon offer mobile versions for Android, iOS and Windows phones. Citizen reporters will then be able to immediately publish immediately on the site what they have filmed or recorded with their cellular phones, as well as send material to different agencies such as the Human Rights Defender's Office and the municipality. The new version will also have a special section on the elections.
"Here there will be information about not only voters' lists, but also political parties' contact information and hotlines. There will also be a guide for citizen and professional reporters, which will help them during election coverage," says Muradyan.
Ditaket.am's citizen reporters are also focusing on the parliamentary elections. Correspondence from all of Armenia's provinces are collected in the site's "Elections 2012" section.
"We place an emphasis mainly on raising the awareness of residents outside the capital and actively participating in the elections," says director of the project, Journalists for the Future NGO President Suren Deheryan.
On May 6, Ditaket.am's 20 citizen reporters and professional journalists will report on the electoral process and polling developments in Armenia's regions.
A1+ and Panarmenian.net also have their own citizen journalism projects. Anyone can become a freelance correspondent for these two news outlets.
On the A1+ site, in a section called "Qo Achqerov" (mediapod), anyone can upload a photo or video and include a description, while by using Panarmenian.net's PANreport, the public can share text, photo or video content.
P.S. Note, all of the aforementioned online platforms (except for Panarmenian.net's PANreport) are only available in Armenian.