News About the Death of Newspapers were Perhaps Not an Exaggeration

07.07.2011, Critique

This time, for a start, allow me to tell you my life story. I've worked at a few television stations (I refuse such proposals after A1+), it's already been a few years that I've been hosting radio programs, and I have worked and continue to work in print media. In addition, I have a blog and I have signed up and am very active on social networking sites. I say this so that it's clear: I'm not that much of a traditional journalist (one who still works with pen and paper) — I'm quite "converged" and multimedia savvy. 

 

I know very well the advantages of each type of news media. The advantage in the case of television stations, naturally, is a large audience, which also becomes a test if you have an inclination toward getting star treatment. At every moment, fans will try to pay your public transport fare and they will give their authoritative opinion on how much the jacket you wore or the way you styled your hair the previous day suited you and so on. In this case it's easy for people to stick their nose in your business and imagine you to be more than you are. The same, to a much lesser extent, holds true for radio. In this case they recognize you by your voice and shower you with compliments, which, as a rule, have little to do with the substance of what you do.  

 

Not to go on for too long, I think it should be clear by now that I like newspapers. And I am sure that journalism as such is in newspapers. Here you work more on the text because you're sure that these are not words floating in air that will be forgotten easily — the piece has to be literate, correct and solid. However, an incident in recent days furthered doubts that have long been a subject of concern of mine, that these efforts are already in vain.

 

The incident took place as follows: I had sent to our newspaper several pieces from Turkey about meetings between opposition leaders and the ruling party. Armenian sites had covered the same meetings exclusively via the Turkish press and even still afterwards, when more detailed information, including which statement was in response to which question and so on, was published in our paper.

 

After returning to Armenia, there were several occasions during conversations to address this phenomenon: why do Armenian sites prefer foreign sources, even in when their colleagues participate in the event in question? Moreover, all those statements which were amply cited this time were made in response Armenian journalists' questions since for Turkish journalists, it seems, relations with Armenia aren't particularly interesting. 

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But to my amazement I found out that even those who I spoke with who were very seriously following the Turkish subject weren't familiar with the articles published in the newspaper. One of them asked me directly when they would be published online and hearing the answer, shook his head, saying that Anatolu and other Turkish news agencies would've already disseminated the information by then. 

It was in vain that we hoped that readers are the same, that they will always prefer the newspaper with a cup of coffee in the morning. Futile were the hopes that some even like the smell of ink and the rustling of paper.

 

And despite not having yet learned how to earn money online and no matter how much my colleagues who now cannot make money in print media try to resist, it's obvious that the print press is truly dying. And by the way, it's dying all over the world. And even though the circulation of any urban paper in the US is still greater than the circulation of all the daily papers in Armenia combined, even my American colleagues were murmuring that they're in crisis — advertising is moving online, and they are forced to make cutbacks in circulation, staff and so on.

 

Not wanting to accept this reality, one will post online articles published in the newspaper a day later; another, two days later. Futile efforts: at least all Armenian sites are "sitting tight" on press reviews and every morning they saturate their news with material published in local newspapers. And if the article is not on your site, even better, the link will go to their review. They say hope dies at the end of the year. So there's still hope: we'll think of something, say, there will be only analyses in newspapers and news will only be online. There are many variations. It's just that there isn't much to analyze in Armenia — and news likewise. And for this reason, it seems that the information on all the sites is from the same source or even that each is a copy of the other. But this is an entirely different story...

 

Anna Israelyan

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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