Gyumri: QR Code Allows Newspaper Readers to View Videos Online

Local daily Gyumri Asparez is incorporating the use of QR Codes for the first time in the history of Armenia’s print press. The code published at the bottom of an article in its Nov. 17 issue allows readers to watch a video on the respective topic. 


QR (“Quick Response”) Codes are matrix barcodes that can be scanned by smartphones. They can contain a large amount of information, including text, links, images and a video uploaded on YouTube…


“We have decided to upload exclusive videos and photos online. To watch these, readers of the paper will make use of the QR Code. With the aid of this technology, we are ensuring the internet-newspaper connection,” says Gyumri Asparez publisher Hayk Barseghyan. 

Gyumri Asparez is published in Gyumri, Armenia’s second-largest city. It’s not known how many people have smartphones in this city. The paper’s chief editor Levon Barseghyan believes that youth, in particular, prefer these types of phones. The QR Code is also a way to get youth interested in the paper. 


“Initial response has been positive. I don’t know how long it will continue but there is room for development,” he said. 


Gyumri Asparez began publishing in Oct. 2011. The founder of the paper is Asparez Journalists’ Club, which has invested 24 million drams ($62,456 USD) to buy its own printing press. Thanks to this printer, the paper is printed in Gyumri — time and additional expenses are not required to print the newspaper in Yerevan. 



Open Society Institute Assistance Foundation–Armenia helped the paper get on its feet by providing a grant of 22.5 million drams that is being used to develop Gyumri Asparez’ technical means and to train journalists.  


“The daily paper has been one of the founding goals of our club, and I believe there is a need for it in the marz [province]. I’m not an optimist, but a realist: our paper will become the pulse in the public, political, cultural, and social life of the city,” said Barseghyan. 


“The first 5 issues were the paper’s ‘minus’ issues, but we have begun to publish the main issues from Oct. 12,” said Gyumri Asparez editor Hamlet Kirakosyan. 

The paper comprises 8 pages and a print run of 500 copies. Half of the newspaper is devoted to the local news from Gyumri and Shirak marz, while the other half publishes national and international news. The back pages are set aside for crossword puzzles, intellectual games, the daily horoscope, TV programs and ads. The list of films being screened is published free of charge. 


In the future, the paper will publish the play bills for the dramatic theatre and the puppet theater. Currently, advertising takes up only 10–12% of the paper.


“We’re also trying to bring the Internet to the paper; for example, [by publishing] interesting discussions on Facebook,” said Kirakosyan. “We’re trying to connect the youth, who have absolutely no connection with print media, to the paper. We’re trying to carry out a social dictate — to print that which interests Gyumri residents.”


Yeranuhi Soghoyan, Gyumri

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