Diagnosis: Armenian Media Outlets Don’t Like Each Other

Samvel Martirosyan

Media researcher

Have you noticed recently that everyone knows everything but they’re waiting for the time when someone from abroad will affirm what we know? WikiLeaks is the best example of this. It’s been 20 years that the Armenian press, without a fear of turning yellow, disseminates possible and impossible compromise on bureaucrats, organizations and whatever else. But as soon as the same things appear on WikiLeaks, there’s a new impression that now everything has been proven — since foreigners are writing basically the same thing. 


And now we had a chance to hear about the nature of the Armenian press from guests. In Yerevan recently were heads of the Russian-language Yandex-News service, who shared with Armenian media the work, rules and features of this global news aggregator. Taking into consideration that more than 2 million people use this service daily, it’s obvious that it’s important for news agencies to appear in the top slots of Yandex-News.


During the discussion, naturally, a question came up connected with the neighboring republic. For understandable reasons, it’s important that residents of a third country read news about the region from the Armenian press and not from Azerbaijani campaign sites. As experience shows, even regarding news about developments inside Armenia it is Azerbaijani news outlets in many cases that appear in the top news of Yandex-News.


And a question arose: what are the main conditions under which this or that news outlet or individual story is given more weight and appears among those at the top of the Yandex-News feeder? There are a few main criteria: 


The first is that the text must be original content. To put it briefly, it shouldn’t be picked up from another site. 


Second, Yandex also pays attention to how much the given news outlet and specifically a particular news item is cited by another news outlet. Yandex classifies the following links by other websites according to weight:


1. An active link (i.e. a hyperlink) to a specific story

2. A hyperlink to the main page

3. A simple reference to the news outlet, without hyperlinking


And it becomes clear that which even without this was clear — except now Yandex is also saying it. There’s a lot of reproduced, i.e. copied, material in the Armenian press, which doesn’t have a reference to the original source. The Armenian press doesn’t cite each other, unlike Azerbaijani websites, which don’t shy away from referencing each other. Moreover, a little bit of research, which can be done using Google or any other search engine, might show that many Armenian online news sites cite with greater pleasure the Azerbaijani or Turkish press than their own Armenian colleagues. Well what do you want after such self-isolation?

The views expressed in the column are those of the author's and do not necessarily reflect the views of Media.am.

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